Media Room

Knight Cancer Research Building Groundbreaking
June 16, 2016

Thank you, Dr. Robertson. It’s wonderful to be here for this groundbreaking.

I am pleased to be joined by my colleagues, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek.

It’s also my pleasure to share the stage with Dr. Brian Druker, whose vision – along with Dr. Robertson – is an inspiration to us all. They embody what I appreciate most about our state: we believe we can be better – and we don’t just talk about, we actually get stuff done. That is the Oregon Way.

Just two years ago, many of you here today – and people from all over the world -- helped launch the Knight Cancer Challenge. In that time, you’ve raised more than $500 million to help address cancer before it starts. By getting information to people earlier, cancer is no longer a terminal illness but a manageable one.

The vision of Dr. Druker and the Knight Cancer Institute to tackle cancer in its earliest stages, coupled with the philanthropy of Phil and Penny Knight drew national attention to Oregon.
Thousands of people have rallied for this cause: children at bake sales, private industry, labor unions, and people from every state in this nation supported the challenged and invited others to join them.

The Legislature stepped up too, investing critical financing to build the infrastructure that will house the research and world-renowned scientists who will come to Oregon to be part of this initiative.

My Regional Solutions Team has made OHSU Knight Cancer Institute a priority project and is committed to working with you to make sure we make this vision a reality. I want to note that we would not be here without the collaboration from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Portland, federal agencies, and our private partners to clean up and manage this brownfield site. Some have worked for more than 20 years to get us to this point.

This day marks our collective effort to advance our mission of transforming the lives of thousands of Oregonians and millions of people across the country and world.

One example is here in our backyard. Katie Knudson was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia just three weeks after her sixth birthday. She began taking a drug developed through Dr. Druker’s research. Previously, the drug had been approved only for adults, and the clinical trial Katie participated in led to approval of the drug for children. Today, Katie is cancer-free but still takes the drug daily. She is a healthy, young adult studying nursing at the University of Portland, with plans to graduate later this summer in just three years. Katie’s story is one of the many that illustrate our urgent need for cancer research.

Today is not just about a physical building, but it marks the beginning of a new era in cancer medicine, discoveries, and cures – once again signaling that – in Oregon – we blaze trails. This initiative will deliver long-term economic benefits from the direct job creation as well as the discoveries that will inspire other research and attract new investments to our state.

To OHSU, thank you for your leadership and vision and for the support from private and public entities who have made today possible.

Thank you.