Providence tears down to build up

June 20, 2014
Giant teeth at the end of a long hydraulic arm on a huge machine took big bites out of the old Moore Lithograph building in northeast Portland this morning – with demolition replacing the more traditional groundbreaking of a new project. The falling chunks of concrete and iron mark the start of a new home away from home for Providence Portland Medical Center patients and their families who travel from outside of the area for care.

Crews will demolish the existing building over the summer, and construction will begin in August on a $6 million, 30-unit guest housing project. The facility will open to serve patients and their families in 2015. 

The guest housing project has been in the works for years and is funded solely through the philanthropy of Providence supporters, including Windermere Stellar. Every agent contributed to the $200,000 gift from Windermere which will help complete the living room and kitchen of the guest housing facility. 

“We are so proud to be part of this project and proud to give back to our community,” said Brian Allen, owner, Windermere Stellar. “We understand the importance of home as a place of refuge and a place of healing. For the patients going through treatment, and their families, this will be a sanctuary.” 

Metastatic melanoma survivor Mark Williams agreed. Told seven years ago he had just months to live, Williams sought treatment at Providence Cancer Center and today mentors other cancer patients from near and far when they come to Providence for care. 

“The cancer center treats patients from hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of miles away,” Williams said. ‘This guest housing facility will be a safe and holy place for respite; it will be priceless when a patient is going through a difficult time.” 

Acknowledging those who made the project a reality, Providence Portland Medical Center chief executive Paul Gaden explained the building would be constructed with the strength of goodwill in addition to bricks and mortar.

“This will transform our hospital campus and neighborhood,” Gaden said. “It will ease the way of our patients and their families – it will be their home away from home.” 

The new guest housing facility will replace an aging six-unit apartment building currently used for patients who come from outside of the area. Currently, the demand for guest housing at Providence Portland far exceeds what the small apartment building can accommodate. The need for additional guest housing is expected to increase later this year when Providence Portland opens high-risk obstetrics and neonatal intensive care units.