What’s happening with the building that houses the new Primary Care Clinic? What else will be going into that space now that the tenants have moved? Also, why was now the time to expand? Was the price just too good to pass up? 

Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) was recently presented with an opportunity to purchase the Old Gateway Center, which is located on the campus of Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee. 

Tahoe Forest Hospital has been the majority tenant of Old Gateway for many years, and the space has been used for local patient care for more than 30 years.   

The Joseph Family Cottages, located behind Bank of the West, were recently sold from the Joseph Family Trust. The purchaser of the Joseph Cottages also wanted to purchase the Old Gateway Center located at 10978 Donner Pass Road. The owners of the Old Gateway Center advised us they were receiving pressure to consider selling the main building as well.   

TFHS made the investment to purchase the Old Gateway Center when it was made available, and we are committed to continued use of this space for much-needed primary and specialty care services. It is a vital patient care hub for Tahoe Forest Health System, encompassing 12 providers and specialties from primary care to cardiology. This includes the new Primary Care Clinic, open seven days a week for appointments and walk-ins. Our physician and provider office visits have grown from 46K per year to more than 80K per year, and our team is very focused on improving the unmet healthcare needs of full-time residents in the region.

This parcel will be vital for TFHS to bring a variety of more distant scattered healthcare activities to a centralized campus where we will have outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, wellness, sports medicine, orthopedics, and a surgery center as well as greatly increased patient parking in a more proximate campus setting for an improved patient experience.

~ Paige Thomason, director of marketing and communications for Tahoe Forest Health System


What was the transition and timeline like for the businesses already operating in the space? To where are you moving? 

Zander’s: This transition has been extremely difficult for me in many ways! Many of my customers and good friends are part of the hospital and I appreciate them so I have to tread lightly, but I have a real problem with the Town of Truckee allowing frontage to not stay retail! Part of the draw of our little town is the small mom-and-pop shops, and we are rapidly being driven out. If the hospital were to leave the front units and build their building in the back, people will find them. For me it’s much more difficult, and especially because of a liquor license it’s hard for me to find a location as I have an entirely different set of rules and I have to stay within the Nevada County lines. As of yet, I have not found a place to go. The rents are extremely high and the process for me to move is quite difficult! The Town of Truckee requires an enormous amount of money and fees, as does the health department (not to mention permits to redo interiors and moving walk-ins and a lot of product to move). It’s going to be quite daunting.

They have given me until March, but that puts me in the middle of winter so I’m shooting to move by September. I am looking at a few different places. I really appreciate the interest of the public, and I have so many good friends and customers in the community and a lot of amazing support! In a perfect world, they would figure out a way to let me stay!

~ Tina Zander-Auldridge, Zander’s president

Start Haus: We were given a year and a half to move, and well, moving sucks, but we like our new location a lot. Fresh space, new look for us, and a better retail experience. We had already been looking at other options for future retail space, but this was certainly an impetus to get it into gear and find something.

Start Haus is now open for business at 11410 Deerfield Dr.

~ Leigh Dexter, Start Haus eCommerce, IT, and marketing


 

HELLO, NEIGHBOR: While Tahoe qualifies as prime bruin country, bears are found in every one of California’s 58 counties. Photo by Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink

Bear sightings seem more common than usual right now. Has there been an increase in bear population, or are we just more aware of local bears due to social media? How should we humans best interact with bears? 

We do get questions about bears, and mountain lions and coyotes, that it seems like there’s so many more of them now than there used to be. Well, everybody’s got a game camera in their backyard and security cameras and when that mountain lion or bear used to walk through their yard at 3 in the morning nobody ever knew it was there. Now it’s captured on camera and posted to social media and shared and so it does create a perception that there’s more of those animals out there than there used to be.

California has a very healthy and growing bear population. We estimate the total bear population at about 30,000 to 40,000 bears, so they’re doing very well. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 animals, and today’s estimate is conservative. The increase in population can’t be attributed to one factor, but bears are dispersed statewide, they’re very adaptable to changing habitats and environments, they’re omnivorous and eat all kinds of food sources. They’re very healthy and adaptable. That’s the big picture. We get a lot of questions about bears this time of year every year, and there are a couple of things going on that are certainly true up in the Truckee area. One, it’s the start of summer and bears are fully awakened from their hibernation (they don’t really hibernate in California but they definitely slow down their activities in the winter). Now they’re out and about foraging for food so you see them more. People are outdoors more, because the weather is nice and they’re starting to hike and camp and fish so you’re seeing more bears that way. This is also the time of year when young bears, particularly male bears, cut loose on their own. Their mother chases them off after a year or two and so these young male bears are out looking for territory, and a lot of times they get lost and end up in town or up a tree in someone’s backyard. I’m responding to those kinds of calls all over the state right now. It’s also the mating season coming up for bears, so you have this trifecta of bear activity this time of year.

We have bears being hit by cars on the roadways. We always tell folks, be careful driving on the highways because you’re going to see more bears and more wildlife in general this time of year. Be particularly vigilant about securing your food and trash when you’re out camping. We want to keep those bears wild and not introduce them to any human food or garbage or anything; we want to keep them out in the forest where they belong. We have a lot of resources on our website, wildlife.ca.gov, and bears are one of the species that are heavily tracked, carefully managed, and carefully studied.

Your area is prime bear country, but bears are found in almost every county in the state from downtown L.A. to the rural far reaches of northern California. They have an incredible sense of smell, so the most important thing in dealing with bears is handling food and trash. For the most part they’re not a public safety concern or a threat. When you’re out hiking or camping, you always want to be aware. If you run across a bear, give it its space and keep your dogs on a leash. A mother with cubs is where you have to be really careful, because that’s the one time they will get protective and defensive. You never want to get in between a mother and her cub. Give them a wide berth if you see them. Enjoy the wildlife you see — that’s a big part of why we love being outdoors!

~ Peter Tira, information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife