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January 18, 2013

RMHC and OHSU exploring new options to serve families of pediatric patients


Dear friends,  

We write to share important news. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington (RMHC) plans to close its west side location at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) on July 1, 2013. We are working closely with OHSU to develop both interim and long-term plans to serve our families. At the same time, we are planning to expand our East House on the campus of Legacy Emanuel Hospital by 12-16 rooms.

We are committed to providing the best services and facilities to our guests. Due to its age and size, the current West House no longer enables us to serve families capably and cost-effectively. Last year, the West House accommodated 680 family visits, but families were turned away 437 times when the house was already full. Additionally, in the last twelve months, two independent studies have revealed that the cost of routine repairs to maintain the building over the next five years would far exceed its value.

We will ensure families are not caught off-guard by the transition this July. On the day the West House closes, interim lodging will be in place. One arrangement we’re currently exploring is the utilization of rooms at a local hotel, with managerial and support services provided by RMHC. Details specific to this or any other possibility will depend on the structure of a temporary facility. But families can rest assured that OHSU and RMHC are working diligently on a short-term solution and long-term vision that epitomize the commitment to excellence shared by both organizations. We will have more to report as plans are finalized in the months to come.

Concurrently, RMHC is proceeding with plans to add 12-16 rooms at its East House by 2014. Designed and constructed specifically as a Ronald McDonald House, that facility opened in 1997 with 16 rooms. Eight rooms were added in 2005, making the 24-room facility the larger of RMHC’s two houses. When the West House is full, families from OHSU/Doernbecher frequently stay at the East House—an option that will remain during the next few years on a space-available basis.

During this transition, your support is more important than ever. RMHC’s board has carefully considered these circumstances for many years. At this point, the most prudent course is to invest our resources on long-term solutions that enable us to serve more families more effectively on both sides of town. We continue to work with all our partners toward that goal.

Nearly six months remain before the West House closes. The House will continue to offer its current level of service up until the closure date. We plan to honor the history of the house, and those who have been a part of it, with appropriate activities later this year. We also intend to incorporate some element of the West House into a future RMHC facility, to permanently commemorate the efforts of our founders.

We are grateful for your support and involvement. Plans continue to evolve, and discussions are ongoing. We will keep you informed as details are finalized in the coming months.

Tom Soma
Executive Director
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington


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