Hundreds line up for free dental care

Hundreds line up for free dental care

PORTLAND, Ore. - Hundreds of local residents with dental problems lined up well before dawn in the driving rain and darkness Monday morning to take advantage of a one-day free clinic in Portland.

The Mission of Mercy clinic, sponsored by Oregon Dental Association, is in its second year and treated about 1,500 people in 2010. Organizers are expecting more people this year.

Starting at 6 a.m., the first 10 patients were admitted to a sprawling dental facility set up in the Oregon Convention Center. The line to get in stretched along the sidewalks around the perimeter of the convention center.

Prospective patients began lining up on Sunday and spent a cold, wet night outside. One man said he was in line to take care of a problem that has been bothering him for four years.

The dental care is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis until 6 p.m. Monday. Patients are admitted 10 at a time for the care, which is free.