Old Shriner’s Hospital site becomes a ‘community’ for young and old

If you couldn’t be at the Grand Opening, not long ago, see what you missed. And, learn what makes this housing development rather unique in East Portland.

Representing the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, Lori Chance presented Heights at Columbia Knoll owners with an official welcoming scroll. She proclaimed, “This is a wonderful and beautiful facility. We’re thrilled to have you as part of the community. We welcome you to East Portland!”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For many youngsters and teenagers today, the ancient looking Georgian-style building set on the knoll at the corner of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Sandy Blvd. just looked like a creepy haunted house.

Prior to 1983 that building ‚Äì the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children ‚Äì served polio victims; and later young burn victims and those needing orthopedic care for sixty years. While many uses for the ten-acre site were floated, a residential development called Heights at Columbia Knoll finally got the nod from the city.

Visiting the Heights at Columbia Knoll’s grand opening are Betty Dominguez State Housing Dept; Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten, Bill Parsons, Portland Development Commission (PDC) chair, Andy Wilch, housing director at PDC.

Ribbon cutting starts an all-day party
After year of building, the project officially opened its doors on June 9 with a grand celebration featuring speeches, music, food and fun.

As East Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors stand ready for the ribbon cutting, Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten said he admired the use the developers made of this location.

Their event started with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Portland’s commissioner in charge of housing, Erik Stin told eastPDXnews in an exclusive interview, “This is a sign that the neighborhood is becoming revitalized. What we have here is a ‘community’ within a neighborhood. There are seniors, very young in day care, and low income people at this facility. I love it that people of all generations can live in one place. It is such a gorgeous spot; it will become one of Portland’s favorite places.”

Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, dignitaries and guests gathered as the “official” ribbon is about to be cut by one of Heights at Columbia Knoll’s owners, Mark Miller.

Not fully satisfied, Miller, readied to a second ribbon for cutting made of blue tape. “We use this blue tape to mark things the contractors need to fix. They’ve done a great job and, by cutting the blue tape, we’re letting them know how much we appreciate their workmanship.”

After the ribbon cutting, Miller told us, “For seniors, this kind of housing development is unusual. It allows people 75 to 90 seniors to live in a luxury style, even if their means are 60% of the median income. Lower income seniors, on fixed income, can have some very fine housing and common elements.”

In total, the development will house 208 seniors and provide 118 family units.

Reception provides hospitality for all

EPCC Ambassador Chair Holly Moss stands with Heights at Columbia Knoll’s first senior residents, Vic and Madeline Bloomquist, as they pause for a photo with son, Wes Crank, before enjoying a banquet catered by the facilities food service staff.

Throughout the senior housing building, the staff of Heights at Columbia Knoll arranged entertainment and activities for all who attended.

Master magician Adam the Great entertains with his comedy magic, performed up-close, at guests tables.

An ice carving serves as the centerpiece that graces the grand buffet table at the Heights at Columbia Knoll grand opening.

In their main dining room, full-course hot dinner was served to all of their guests. It was clear, all who attended this grand opening had a grand good time.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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