Best Bypass

How St. Luke's Won the Battle of Jefferson Street

Staff Pick

St. Luke's plan to expand its downtown Boise campus was less interesting than the hospital's ham-fisted public relations efforts to win over its neighbors. In March, when St. Luke's started getting pushback on its proposal to permanently close off a section of Jefferson Street to make way for the expansion, it produced a heart-tugging video linking its need for growth to the care of newborns. In the ad, a parent fights back tears as she contemplates the possibility of St. Luke's relocating should it not get the greenlight to grow its operations. It was fear spun by the hospital itself, which threatened to pull up stakes and move to Meridian if it didn't get its way. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, whose own wife is a St. Luke's employee, called St. Luke's PR "just awful." Hizzoner even chastised hospital officials for what he called "major missteps" in their campaign. Following a series of City Hall delays, when St. Luke's agreed to some concessions to their expansion plans, the Boise City Council voted 4-1, to approve the plan. As for Jefferson Street, expect delays.
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