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Residents, politicos celebrate Russellville Park II opening


At the grand opening of Russellville Park II, final piece of the Russellville puzzle, are, from left, Russellville Park I residents Jean Wirtz, Bob Lester, General Manager Seamus McCarthy and resident Yvonne Lester.
With great fanfare, the Rembold family officially cut the ribbon on Russellville Park II last month.

The four-story addition to the senior living community at East Burnside Street and 102nd Avenue contains lavish facilities for its residents: a central courtyard that half the units overlook; a rain garden fed by the building's own storm-water runoff; two restaurants, one that is full-service with a bar, the other a coffee shop; a Nyla Aveda salon; a weight room; a therapeutic spa with a resistance pool, where a current flows against the direction of the swimmer; a movie theater; and a full schedule of daily group activities that include bocce, exercise classes, cards, a book group, knitting and shopping trips to Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's and Amalfi's Restaurant. All of these amenities are part of the monthly rent, which also includes at least one meal a day in one of the restaurants. And for the truly ambitious, there are group cruises and tours of Italy, Canada and Mexico, among other places.

The biggest new addition, however, are 95 Assisted Living units for seniors who need some help to live independently, and 16 Memory Care units for Alzheimer's patients. During Design Review hearings on the new addition, several residents said they had moved into the original Russellville Park with the hope and understanding that these services would be available to them when they needed them. Manager Seamus McCarthy told the Memo that 28 of the original tenants had subsequently moved out of Russellville to get a higher level of care. “Not only is moving traumatic to people of this age, but they have to leave behind everything they're used to. These new facilities mean our residents can stay in the community they've been a part of for years.”

As of early August, 32 of the new building's 138 units had been rented, and six of these went to residents of Russellville Park I. However, there are still independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care units available.

View of the central courtyard that half the units of the recently opened 138-unit Russellville Park II have. Ninety-five of the new units are Assisted Living and 16 are Memory Care units for Alzheimer's patients.
Monthly rental rates range from $1,540 to $2,660 for independent units, $2,990 to $4,220 for Assisted Living units, and $4,700 to $5,300 for Memory Care, depending on the level of care needed. The market for such housing at this price level, along with many other things, has cooled with the recession. “Seniors are trying to stay in their homes longer, and when they are ready to move, their houses are taking longer to sell.” Nonetheless, the original Russellville is still at 95 percent occupancy.

Two other features of the new complex appealed to the invited guests: it is located right on the MAX light rail line, and it is part of a larger Russellville complex that includes 288 units of family housing. Owner Wayne Rembold bought the property from the David Douglas School District ten years ago. “Now we have a completed community,” he said. Management by Leisure Care of Seattle makes Russellville “a fun place to come and congregate rather than just live.” Key Bank provided financing, with the assistance of a grant from Metro and tax abatements granted by the city.

Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, remembering the property's origins, said that before Rembold showed up, “This was going to be a large, featureless building with a sea of parking.” Its current use means more choices. “It means your grandchildren can visit you without getting into a car. It's in our interest to make this a great success. It's important as an experiment in a new way to grow.”

Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “We love this community. I'm proud to have helped fund this; it's an important place for everyone in Gateway. We need to focus our efforts to have (Mid-county) really take off. I can tell from the smiling faces that this is a great place to live.”

Metro Chair David Bragdon said, “Wayne had a vision, we backed him and it turned out even better than we thought it would. My favorite uncle moved to a retirement community in Arizona, and it's not much of a retirement. He has to drive to eat or get groceries.

McCarthy said, “I've done a lot of interesting things in my life, but nothing as enjoyable as being manager here. What could be better than making people's lives happier?”

Russellville Sales Representative Carrie Weigel can be reached at 503-254-5900, or
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