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Auto show fundraiser fuels hospital lodging

Providence Portland patients' families will have place to stay


by: ZIMMER GUNSUL FRASCA ARCHITECTS LLP - An artists rendering shows the new Patient and Family Guest House to be built by Providence Portland Medical Center at Northeast 45h Avenue and Glisan Street.Providence Portland Medical Center has increasingly become a destination for out-of-town patients and their families since opening its Cancer Center and Children’s Center in recent years.

But there are few affordable places near the hospital at 4805 N.E. Glisan St. for visitors to stay. The closest motel is more than a mile away and advertises rooms for around $100 a night.

The hospital has tried to fill this gap for the past decade or so by offering inexpensive rooms at a nearby former apartment complex. But the Gilroy House cannot meet the growing need. It was built nearly 60 years ago and has only six units. More than 370 patients and their families had to be turned away last year. Nearly half of the patients were in town for surgeries.

The planned solution is the construction of a new 30-unit Patient and Family Guest House just two blocks west of the hospital. Residents will be charged a fee on a sliding scale based upon ability to pay and nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds.

The site at Northeast 45th Avenue and Glisan Street was blessed during a ceremony on Sept. 21, 2012. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in March. The Providence Portland Medical Foundation passed the halfway point in its $4 million capital campaign late last year.

“Many times when patients and their families come to the hospital, they’re scared and unfamiliar with the surroundings, especially if they’re from out of town. The guest house will give them a safe, convenient place to stay and recover, if they need to,” says Kelly Buechler, the foundation’s executive director.

The $75,000 pledge that broke the $2 million mark came from the Portland New Car Dealers Association. The organization plans to raise the funds at the Sneak Peek Charity Preview Party to be held at the Oregon Convention Center on the evening of Feb. 5, the day before the 2014 Portland International Auto Show begins its four-day run there.

The association is underwriting the party, so all of the proceeds will benefit the guest house project and three other charities. They are the Boys & Girls Club of Portland, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Meals on Wheels People.

Tickets are available on the auto show’s website, portland autoshow.com. They are $100 each, and the cost is tax-deductible. Evening attire is required and attendees must be 21 and older.

Stepping up fundraising

The association, which organizes the show, has always donated to charities. In the past, much of the profits have gone to organizations like the Shriners. However, the association’s board of directors decided they could support even more charities by adding the preview party to the schedule. The first one was held last year.

“We wanted to include a fun event that would also do a lot of good,” says Greg Remensperger, the association’s executive vice president.

According to Remensperger, the $75,000 figure is the minimum that will be donated to the project. The final amount could be a lot higher, depending on how many people attend the party.

“Our goal this year is to donate half-a-million dollars to charities,” Remensperger says.

Those attending the preview party will be able to tour the entire auto show before it officially opens. Hundreds of new vehicles will be on display on several floors of the convention center. They are scheduled to include the redesigned 2014 Ford Mustang, the all-new 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray, the Mercedes SLS GT AMG Gullwing — each of which is expected to be a big draw.

Attendees will dine on hors d’oeuvres from local executive chefs, sample adult beverages from Oregon’s finest wineries, and be entertained by top performers. They also will be offered complimentary parking.

Providential partnership

Providence Portland Medical Center did not have to try hard to gain the attention of the Portland New Car Dealers Association. Beaverton Toyota owner Russ Humberston Jr. sits on the foundation’s board of directors. He also is on the board of the auto dealers association.

“Russ was sure the association would want to support the hospital. We showed them the variety of things we are doing, and they chose the Guest House project. Without Russ, this project wouldn’t be happening,” Buechler says.

Humberston says his family has supported the hospital for many years. He is especially moved by the Children’s Center, which provides around-the-clock care to children whose needs exceed those that can be provided by their families. But Humbertson says the guest house project also is a critical need.

“Providing really simple, really nice housing, really affordable next to the hospital for patients and families and something everyone can understand,” Humberston says.

Also key to the project was William Moore, who died last year. He owned Moore Lithograph, a printing business that used to be located in a building on the half-block where the guest house will be built. Moore was a big supporter of the project, Buechler says, and donated much of the property to the hospital.

Other big supporters include Windermere Foundation and Windermere Real Estate, which are underwriting a common kitchen area. The project also has received donations from the KeyBank Foundation, Elizabeth James, the family of Elva May Brooks, Allan Shepard, Ray and Jean Auel, and the Park Foundation.

The guest house is included in the recently completed Providence Portland Medical Center campus master plan. The 20,000-square-foot facility was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP. It will feature handicapped-accessible rooms with small kitchens, suites to accommodate families, laundry facilities, Internet access, cable TV, 24/7 secured entry, secure off-street parking, common gathering areas with fireplaces, and shuttle service to and from the hospital and the Hollywood Transit stop.

Buechler says demolition of the Moore Lithograph building is tentatively scheduled for mid-March, with completion planned by around Christmas 2015. Large wooden beams inside the existing building will be repurposed for the guest house, Buechler added.