Portland Nonprofit Launches Attempt to Save Hospice House

By Emma Haber

In the aftermath of the closing of Hopewell House, the only hospice house in Portland, one final hope has arisen. After 30 years providing compassionate and dignified end-of-life care, Hopewell sadly shut its doors in 2019. With only months to raise the funds, Friends of Hopewell House, a newly incorporated 501(c) nonprofit, has launched a $5 million capital campaign to purchase the property from Legacy Health Systems and once again open the beloved institution’s welcoming doors.

Though Friends of Hopewell House has the right to make the first bid on the property, Legacy Health Systems may list the property as soon as early January, 2021. That means the non-profit must raise the capital before the end of 2020 to make a fair market offer and fund start-up costs.

Friends of Hopewell House is searching ardently for angel donors to step forward and purchase the estate on the charity’s behalf to keep Hopewell House alive and in service to the community. As the sale of the building draws near, the organization is also providing opportunity for the public to contribute via the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/savehopewellhouse 

“It’s impossible to overstate what Hopewell House has meant to Southwest Portland’s Hillsdale neighborhood and the city as a whole, or the gap it left in end-of-life care for people of every race and persuasion when it closed,” says Friends of Hopewell House President and the original Founder of the House, Joan Strong Buell. “The thought of permanently losing this special building and property, after helping over 10,000 people die with grace over the years, is heartbreaking. With no dedicated residential hospice care home in Portland, the city is missing more than a home; it’s missing a vital resource for compassion and understanding.”

The Friends of Hopewell House have been meeting since the original hospice closed, carefully planning what this unique-to-Portland facility and newly-planned learning center could be like. If the Friends of Hopewell House reach their goal, they will not only bring back the residential hospice. The new Hopewell House will work collaboratively with Medicare-certified hospice providers and will be staffed with 24/7 RNs, CNAs and volunteers who are specifically trained in end of life care, mindful caregiving and conscious dying. The organization will partner with universities to conduct studies in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at end of life, as well as offering a wide range of integrative and non-pharmacological treatment strategies to manage symptoms and relieve suffering. The goal is to holistically serve the emotional, spiritual, medical and familial needs of residents.

The 12,000 square foot structure consists of the original historic Tudor home with the addition of a medical wing of patient rooms. Set on over 4.5 acres of serene landscaped and wooded land, the 12-bed facility will offer 11 private rooms, each room will have a TV, lounge chair, a shared handicap-accessible bathroom, and ample space to accommodate loved ones. Inhabitants and visitors will have access to a gracious communal living room with a fireplace, a large dining room, a sunlit lounge and a light-filled sanctuary. Providing these spaces is imperative for families to gather, share meals, reflect, watch TV, play music on the grand piano, or catch a quick nap. It will be open to a diverse population inclusive of all races, religions, sexualities, financial resources, and ages.

Renewed, Hopewell House’s healing influence will provide educational outreach to the Portland community and will develop a center of learning, creativity and positivism with the focus of “living well in the presence of death.” This center will provide death-positive education and community outreach programs for the Portland Metro area and beyond.

Every gift to the Friends of Hopewell will support the singular vision of what Hopewell House has been and what it can be again: a beautiful home providing peace and dignity for the dying as well as solace for their families.

About Friends of Hopewell House:
Led by long-time hospice advocate Joan Strong Buell, the newly incorporated 501(c) nonprofit is made up of accomplished hospice pioneers; business professionals; former staff members, including doctors, nurses and chaplains; community leaders; development 
professionals; journalists; and family members of those who have died at the house. 

Donations may be sent via this link:
GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/savehopewellhouse 

Donations may also be sent via this address:
Friends of Hopewell House
3501 SW Council Crest Dr.
Portland, OR 97239

Emma Haber is the founder of EH PR Group (www.ehprgroup.com) and oversees publicity for a range of non-profit, arts and hospitality clients throughout the U.S.

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