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Russellville assisted living building breaks ground


At the groundbreaking ceremony held last month for Russellville Park Phase II is resident Bill McDowd waiting his turn for the next shot at the pool tournament, one of many activities during part of the festivities. Behind McDowd is the excavated two-acre site for the new building that will have 139 units of assisted senior living.
Russellville Park broke ground on its Phase II facility last month. It was a peculiar groundbreaking, with dignitaries gathered inside an existing building next to a hole measuring nearly two acres and 16 feet deep.

Portland Trail Blazer jerseys worn by many except the people they were designed for, who couldn’t make it. Other no-shows, for the ceremony at least, were Commissioner Sam Adams and co-owner Kali Rembold Bader.

Actually, it was a chance for Russellville Park owner Rembold Company and co-manager Leisure Care Retirement to show off what they have, and what they will soon have, to offer. It was also a chance to celebrate with existing Russellville Park residents the new facilities they both have sought for so long.

Russellville Park Phase II, the third phase of the Russellville housing complex, at Southeast 102nd Avenue and East Burnside Street, will include 122 units of senior assisted living housing, plus 17 Memory Care units for Alzheimer sufferers. The four-story complex will also include a fitness center, café available to the public at large, a pool and a beauty salon.

Regarding the state of the project, Russellville Park Manager Christi Ulrich said, “We don’t do anything traditional here.” Having passed design review for the project, they proceeded with excavation even though they had yet to complete the city permitting process. Now, she said, “We’re waiting for the city to catch up with us.” Once construction begins, it should be a 16-month process, she said. Handing a shovel to representatives of York & Curtis, the project builder, she said, “Okay, boys, get out there and start digging.”

The existing Russellville Park senior building, which Ulrich proudly announced was “100 percent full,” offers a pool, a computer-based “brain gym” with exercises that contribute to mental alertness, and activities that include bocce tournaments. The grounds abut a children’s playground used by, among others, youngsters from Mt. Hood Community College Head Start program. The latter also regularly have lunch with Russellville Park residents in an inter-generational sharing arrangement.

Another activity is Saturday Adventures; in which residents ride MAX light rail trains on field trips to Portland International Airport, downtown, the zoo, and the Oregon Convention Center. They do so in partnership with TriMet’s Ride Connection program. TriMet’s Outreach Coordinator Christina Turner said, “I’ve loved working with Russellville Park. Being so close to MAX is a great, great thing for this center.”

Megan Gibbs of Metro’s Transit-Oriented Development Program agreed, which was why the program contributed to the funding for the new addition. Another speaker, Greg Clark of Leisure Care, said his company was “the leading edge of the industry, focusing on what’s out front ahead of us.”

Ulrich added that the Trail Blazer jerseys worn by her staff to honor visiting team members were appropriate even though the players were unable to make it because, “We’re blazing new trails every day.”

After the speeches, residents and guests were treated to buffets featuring a unique kind of food on each of the building’s four floors. There was also an indoor basketball-tossing contest on the second floor and pool games on the fourth.
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