Readers Respond to Layoffs at Oregon Health & Science University

“How does it make sense for OHSU to buy a large struggling health system when they’re struggling themselves already?”

Oregon Health & Science University. (Brian Burk)

This week, layoffs begin at Oregon Health & Science University. More than 500 staff members will lose their jobs in this round of cuts, president Danny Jacobs told staff in an email first reported June 6 by WW. Costs for salaries and supplies are outpacing revenue—a problem that afflicts not only OHSU but also Legacy Heath, the hospital system the university intends to purchase. News of the layoffs comes shortly after staff learned from WW that starting July 1, Jacobs will get an extra $350,000 a year put into his retirement account. Here’s what our readers had to say:

thanatossassin, via Reddit: “Sorry, staff, can’t afford you, we have to pay our CEO and go buy another six hospitals.”

Kelly Breslin, via Facebook: “JFC, they’re already inadequately staffed. Anyone who is a patient at OHSU is keenly aware of this. Absolutely shameless and embarrassing.”

sapphire, via “I was referred to see a specialist at OHSU (gynecologist, nothing too rare) for a condition that will require surgery; this morning I learned they’re booking appointments for December right now. Six-month wait, just for the initial consult.

“Our health system is completely overburdened, at its breaking point, but OHSU needs to lay off staff?! This is the kind of red flag our government should consider an emergency. They should be doing whatever needed to support our health care system.”

Matthew Ramirez, via Facebook: “Meanwhile, top executives not even living in the state are making twice as much any nurse is making. ‘Teaching’ hospital, my ass.”

pooperazzi, via Reddit: “How does it make sense for OHSU to buy a large struggling health system when they’re struggling themselves already? The cynical explanation is that by increasing market share they can increase their margins, at the expense of the health care consumer, i.e., Portland residents.”

Lola, via “I have a $10,000 hole in my budget. The first thing I do is move all the money from my family savings account into my retirement account, next I sell all of my children’s toys and my wife’s car to raise revenue, and then I buy myself a shiny new boat. Life is good. For me.”

oregoner, via “Our government is busy negotiating with rich white college students about solving war in the Middle East, they don’t have time to waste making sure that our local communities can afford doctors.”


Hats off for coverage of last-minute flows of “dark” money into Maxine Dexter’s congressional campaign. A look at confirms she got money directly from one-sidedly “pro-Israel” groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and others, but also out-of-state individuals who support such groups as well as, sometimes, right-wing Republicans. Dexter was also featured on the website Pro-Israel America, and has gotten “pro-Israel” money through apparent conduits like Voters for Responsive Government and the 314 Action Fund.

I put “pro-Israel” in quotes because you can be pro-Israel by being pro-peace and hence against the crushing abuses of Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and decadeslong blockade of Gaza. Sadly, labels like “anti-Israel” and “pro-Palestinian” obscure such views. I go to protests because I am pro-human rights. Israel’s numerous “mowing of the lawns” in Gaza suggest that, notwithstanding the heinous attacks on civilians by Hamas on 10/7/23, Israel’s operation is just the most comprehensive so far in a long sequence of attacks on the housing, health and educational infrastructure of Gaza.

I assume you share some of the same concerns, or you wouldn’t have paid such attention to Dexter’s funding. But WW not only endorsed Dexter, it totally omitted any mention of the sources of her huge campaign chest. As donor news came out, you could have at least modified your endorsement. Dexter, like Sen. Wyden and others in Congress, will never vote to cut off the pipeline of U.S. money and weapons to Israel unless we pressure her.

Marc Rose

Southeast Portland

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