By Marjorie Woodfin

Pilot staff writer

Rising gas prices and predictions of an economic downtrend in Oregon haven't stopped two Brookings-Harbor companies and a partnership from pursuing projects.

Physical therapy center

Physical therapist Pat Dodgen is in the process of building a new site for his business, Active Life Physical Therapy Center (formerly Pacific Northwest Therapy of Brookings) at 616 Hemlock St. The 2,000-square-foot building will provide office space, treatment rooms, and a gym for physical therapy patients, plus 450 square feet of office space for lease.

Dodgen said the new facility will provide more space and easier accessibility for the patients to whom he is dedicated. He explained that his original career plan was to become an engineer, perhaps because his father was an engineer. However, after reading an article about a missionary physical therapist, he realized that his heart wasn't really in engineering,

He changed his major to earn an undergraduate degree in human physiology at the University of California at Davis, followed by a master's degree in physical therapy at the University of Southern California, which he completed in 1986.

He worked for a year with a friend who became a paraplegic as a result of a rugby accident, which helped to solidify his desire to be a physical therapist. He serving an internship with Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento at the time, where he continued to work after receiving his master's degree.

After a year and a half at the hospital, Dodgen went to work in a private practice, becoming physical therapy director for a chain of five private physical therapy offices. In 1990, he and his wife Sandra decided to move to Hawaii for a andquot;working vacation,andquot; where he worked for another private practice therapy facility.

Back to Sacramento for five years, he said, andquot;I wanted to get out of there. We'd had enough.andquot; They moved to Crescent City in 1999, where he worked for Pacific Northwest Therapy until their move to Brookings in 2006, where, after a six month transition period, he took over as owner of the Brookings office.

In addition to having the latest equipment available, in the new facility, Dodgen said, andquot;I have the only aquatic program in the area.andquot; For that program he leases a pool in Harbor, owned by Carol Hastings.

andquot;The Brookings site will have offices and gym equipment for hands-on treatment, and good parking,andquot; Dodgen said, adding, andquot;We will be able to do the therapy we want to do, with more space that makes it easier to move around and easier for the patients. I want to serve the community.andquot;

Dodgen looks hopefully toward moving into the new building in June or July.

Outdoor mall

Bruce Bros Inc., the partnership of Noah and Josh Bruce and Ed Yeager, is building a three-story, upscale office building, also on Hemlock, with extensive plans to turn the adjacent properties into an outdoor mall area with a walking path that will be visitor friendly. They believe it will increase the value of other properties in the city.

The 10,040 square foot cement office building is designed with an open floor plan to customize the rental space for doctors, lawyers, or county personnel who have expressed an interest in leasing space. Yeager explained that the building and adjacent property have the potential to grow into a full plaza with a garage and adequate parking for all.

Noah Bruce said they are taking a first step toward the plaza plan with the demolition of the building at 317 Fern St. beginning this week. That property will provide parking space, with plans to build over it in the future.

An elevator will provide easy access to all offices for clients entering the building. andquot;We see it as a long term project to enhance the beauty of downtown Brookings by providing a place where needed services can be found in attractive surroundings,andquot; Yeager explained.

Yeager, who brought his family to Brookings three years ago, in response to the question about how he landed in this community, said, andquot;The Lord brought me here.andquot;

Bruce chimed in with, andquot;I think the Lord brought him here to annoy the heck out of me.andquot; He then added, andquot;Actually, Ed brought a new perspective to our business, with a stronger holding of long-term investments versus short-term investments.andquot;

Yeager explained that he met the Bruce brothers when he first arrived and was offered a job that continued to grow until he became a partner. andquot;They adopted my family and we have become close friends,andquot; Yeager said.

Noah and Josh Bruce first came to Brookings in 1991 and began their business of cabinet building and finish carpentry. andquot;We created our own jobs, our own niches,andquot; Noah Bruce said. Those niches have included condominiums, the upscale ocean front subdivision Pacific Terrace, and many other projects, including the much vilified water tank. Bruce insisted that the city forced them to construct that water tank at great expense to fill fire-suppression requirements.

He said that Brookings is their chosen home and they only want to produce homes and commercial buildings that will enhance the community.

Regional center

Gerry Hughes of Hughes Development is already selling and leasing shops and apartments in his 32,500-square-foot Seascape Regional Center at the southwest corner of Benham Lane and Highway 101.

Hughes, who calls the development, andquot;?(the) most innovative mixed-use business park,andquot; said it is planned to make property ownership possible for today's small business owners.

The 16 shops and eight apartments, as currently configured, vary in size from 450 to 5,000 square feet. Four shops, with attached apartments, are already sold. Anticipated clients include an antique mall, outlet mall, real estate offices, coffee shop, gym, and a concrete store.

However, Brookings Realtor Eldon Gossett, the sales and leasing agent for Seascape, explained that the building is being constructed with inner walls that can be easily moved or extended to provide almost any configuration a buyer or lessee requires. Gossett is enthusiastic about the project. He said he believes that it will be a great asset to the community.

Hughes explained his motivation for building Seascape. andquot;For years business people have tired of leasing space, when ownership would have been preferable. We now offer the flexibility to either lease or purchase your own individual space. It's possible and affordable in our new Seascape Regional Center.andquot;

While providing a tour of the premises, Gossett pointed to the beauty and accessibility of the building, the glass walls to be installed in all shops along the central walkway, textured outside cement walkways, and ease of access, as well as the opportunity for a business owner to acquire a shop designed for any special business needs.