Fix-it project grants Lents resident ‘freedom’

Take a look and see why an outer East Portland resident says this project restored her independence …

Not far from Lents Park, the lack of an accessible ramp imprisoned a long-time homeowner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Not long ago, during the nationwide “NeighborWorks America” week, Lents neighborhood homeowner Nancy Ross was the beneficiary of a project organized by REACH Community Development Corporation.

“I’ve lived here for a long time, since 1988; but, due to medical issues, I haven’t been able to leave my house since February,” Ross told East Portland News on June 8 as workers finished installing an accessibility ramp to her back patio.

Watching the project nearing completion, homeowner Nancy Ross says she’s thrilled.

“I love my house, but I just can’t get up and down the stairs to go out anywhere, and I really needed a ramp,” Ross remarked. “I called REACH, and they arranged this project for me. They’re great; they never turn me down.”

In addition to building the ramp, workers with BREMIK Construction also renovated her driveway, and spruced up her yards – both front and back.

“We partnered with excavation and concrete contractors with on the driveway; and our workers are here today, building the ramp,” smiled BREMIK Construction Director of Marketing Alexi Meuwissen.

BREMIK Construction worker John Peters fastens the new ramp to the frame below.

Workers took time away from the “9101 Foster” project, being erected in Lents Town Center, to help out.

“We have a project called ‘9101 Foster’, with ‘Prosper Portland’ (formerly the Portland Development Commission) nearby, and we thought that helping a homeowner in need within this neighborhood would be fitting, because what we’re building there is an affordable housing project,” Meuwissen said.

This is part of the REACH “Community Builders Program” that provides free repairs for seniors throughout the metro Portland area, your around, observed the organization’s Fundraising and Public Relations Manager, Lauren Schmidt.

After visiting the nearly-finished job, homeowner Ross was all smiles. “Having the ramp, I’ll be able to get out and do things. It’s going to be nice to go to the store, and go to the doctor’s, and maybe every once in a while go out to dinner.

Mark Smidt preens the back yard area of the house.

“It means a lot to be able to get out of the house; what this means to me is freedom,” added Ross.

To find out more about REACH Community Development Corporation, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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