TV and sports celebs pitch in for East Portland senior facility

See why Mike Donahue of KOIN-TV, John Canzano of the Oregonian; and Brian “Wheels” Wheeler of the Portland Trailblazers spoke at this unique event ‚Ķ

Mike Donahue, KOIN-TV; John Canzano, sports columnist with the Oregonian; Lou Fontana, Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes; and Brian Wheeler, Portland Trailblazers radio play-by-play announcer, here pause for a photo at OBRH’s fundraising dinner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In East Portland, seniors of means have a wealth of housing options. Some facilities resemble a resort, rather than a retirement home.

But for elders with thin pocketbooks, finding good, clean, safe housing can be difficult.

“Our facility gives seniors, with low to moderate income, a great place to live,” explained Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes Lou Fontana. We work with people who don’t have a lot of money, yet want a good place to live.”

The purpose of the dinner on Aug. 25, Fontana continued, was to raise funds to help reconstruct their outer East Portland facility, located just north of NE Weidler St. in the Gateway district.

“Our facility is getting too old to repair; it needs to be rebuilt,” Fontana explained. “Because we’re a non-profit organization that helps seniors of modest means, all of the money we take in has gone to operating our campus. We’re seeking donations to help us for our ‘rebuilding’ project, scheduled for 2008.”

When rebuilt, Oregon Baptist Retirement Homes will feature 350 housing units, up from the 114 they now operate.

Judging by the looks on patrons’ faces, and the savory aroma in the room as the meal was served, the dinner portion of the event was a smashing success.

The dinner – which featured television, radio, and newspaper personalities as speakers – helped draw patrons to the event, which also featured a multi-media presentation regarding the appeal, and silent auction.

“I’ve seen the good work these people do,” said KOIN-TV’s Mike Donahue, “and I’m happy to help support their work.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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