How an emergency animal hospital benefits the Portland community

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, pet adoptions surged in the U.S. In 2020 alone, 12.6 million American households adopted a pet. In the state of Oregon, over 60 percent of households currently own at least one pet, increasing demand for veterinary services in the state.

A rendering of DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital (Photo Credit: Mackenzie)

In Portland, DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital (DoveLewis) has been serving the local community for 50 years. About 10 years ago, they aimed to increase the range of services that would complement emergency and critical care to help more animals. Staff at their current hospital treat nearly 26,000 patients each year, but space has always been an issue. 

Thanks to a generous, anonymous donor who purchased the land and partnered with DoveLewis as a long-term tenant, DoveLewis will be doubling their clinical footprint and adding vital specialty services. DoveLewis is currently embarking on a $5 million campaign and gifts of all sizes will help pay for the tenant improvements and equipment needed to outfit the hospital. To build the 63,520 square-foot, three-story emergency animal hospital, DoveLewis and the donor chose Skanska as their construction partner and Mackenzie as its designer.  

The scope of the project includes demolition of the existing onsite structure, site excavation, shoring and construction of the new three-story building and below-grade parking garage with automated car stackers.  

A modern-day veterinary hospital  

This new facility will provide additional resources including exam rooms, surgery suites, specialty-focused treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art MRI and additional imaging, a community gathering and teaching spaces, as well as staff workspace, conference, and breakrooms. The building will also feature outdoor patios, a beautiful terracotta façade and a vegetated green roof. 

DoveLewis is open 24/7 while not many vet clinics in the area provide round-the-clock service. One of their unique services includes a blood bank and canine therapy teams, as well as a hospice service and comfort rooms where pet owners can take their pet when they are reaching the end of their life. 

As pets are considered family—children in some cases—these added resources will provide peace of mind for pet owners who love their pets and want well-equipped facilities, should the need for emergency or specialty pet care ever come. DoveLewis also has some serious industry credentials that sets it apart:  

  • DoveLewis was the first veterinary ER in the country
  • The hospital is one of the largest in the country by patient volume
  • DoveLewis is one of a handful of hospitals in the country and only hospital in Oregon certified at the highest level of critical care

A rendering of the Specialty Room at Dove Lewis Emergency and Specialty Hospital (Photo Credit: Mackenzie)


A construction team of pet owners 

Skanska has been building hospitals and health-related facilities throughout the country for over one hundred years, so working on a pet hospital seemed like a natural fit. What makes this a passion project for our team though, is the fact that our entire Skanska project team owns pets.  

Pets provide our employees companionship, anxiety reduction and increased physical activity, among other benefits. In fact, studies show that pets offer many health benefits for their owners, so our group is very fond of the opportunity to build a hospital that will help save the lives of pets that bring joy to their owners.  

Our partnership with the DoveLewis team has been wonderful. Ron Morgan, CEO of DoveLewis, had this to say:

“Working with Skanska and their project team has been a great partnership. From the very beginning of our meetings with them I could tell that they were invested not just in the project but in DoveLewis. And they have followed through on that commitment by supporting our organization at events, both financially and with volunteers. The team at Skanska is a great mix of professionalism, personality, commitment and caring. To a person their team is impressive, and we have a strong working relationship that has delivered great results.” 

I’ve lived in the Portland community for 36 years and the last 15 in the Pearl District where having a dog is almost a requirement! My six-year-old Maltese Jack is a beloved member of our family, so I’m naturally drawn to giving him the best care at home, and in emergency situations.

Fortunately, Jack has only required one visit to DoveLewis after he innocently helped himself to some chocolate Halloween candy. DoveLewis was there for him and provided excellent care. I was traveling at the time and had great peace of mind knowing he was in the very best hands. I could not ask for more.    


Debbie Hutchins and her Maltese Jack. 

Looking ahead  

DoveLewis is the only non-profit 24/7 pet hospital in the state. As pet owners continue to prioritize the health of their pets, the need for quality care will increase—reinforcing the importance of DoveLewis expansion.

Animals offer incredible emotional support, so we are showing our appreciation by building a modern pet hospital that will serve pets and their families for many generations to come.