Umatilla New health options flocking in

Cathy Putnam, behind the cash register, helps customers with their prescriptions in October of 2018 at Columbia River Pharmacy in Umatilla.

Less than a year after purchasing Carlson’s Umatilla Drug, Columbia River Health is closing the pharmacy on April 30.

The organization hosted a celebration of the newly renamed Columbia River Pharmacy in November, but on April 4 announced on Facebook that it would be closing the pharmacy “due to circumstances beyond our control” that made it “no longer feasible for us to operate a second pharmacy.”

“This has been a heart wrenching decision that has not come easily,” they wrote. “We care deeply for all of our patrons and recognize how this decision will affect each of them.”

The Boardman-based health provider also thanked Cathy Putnam, who had previously owned the pharmacy and had stayed on to work as a pharmacist, and stated that they would help customers move their prescriptions elsewhere.

Columbia River Health did not return phone calls or an email requesting more information about the closure. They had previously announced plans to build a new clinic in Umatilla and eventually move the pharmacy into that building but have not announced whether the closing of the pharmacy will have an impact on the plans for the clinic.

Several customers responded to the Facebook post by expressing their sadness at the news. Umatilla mayor Mary Dedrick wrote that the closure was a “huge mistake” on Columbia River Health’s part after the community had trusted them.


Reporter covering city government and economic development in Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo.

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