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RMHC, OHSU Doernbecher announce interim housing solution for families of seriously ill children traveling to Portland for medical care

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Oregon and Southwest Washington (RMHC) and Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have developed an interim housing solution to ensure families of children receiving care at OHSU Doernbecher have a place to stay when the RMHC “West House” on Marquam Hill closes July 1.

The West House closure was first announced in January 2013. Although it served nearly 700 families last year, the house’s small rooms and aging infrastructure caused ongoing challenges. In 2012, families were turned away 437 times because the house was full, and two independent studies revealed the cost of maintaining the building far exceeds its value.

According to a memo of understanding, RMHC will operate and staff an interim Ronald McDonald House at the Marriott Residence Inn in Portland’s South Waterfront neighborhood beginning July 1. The new “house,” called the RMHC West House Waterfront, will accommodate 25 families — eight more than the previous West House— in larger, more comfortable rooms. This is a leading-edge, internationally unique (within the RMHC system), sustainable, compassionate and caring program.

Families staying at West House Waterfront will experience, as nearly as possible, all the amenities of a Ronald McDonald House, with places for families to gather and support one another, play areas stocked with toys for children, meals prepared by both community volunteers and the Marriott, and numerous other activities and programs. Families also will have access to regular hotel amenities, including the fitness center, swimming pool and laundry facilities.

“We are very excited by this creative, interim solution. What we give up in proximity to the hospital, we gain in the quality and the quantity of guest rooms. Families will have access to more amenities — and we remain committed to creating the community of support only a Ronald McDonald House can provide. This new environment invites us to learn and grow. And we’ll be guided by the aim of providing what is best for the guests,” said Tom Soma, RMHC’s executive director.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with RMHC and expand our relationship with The Marriott Residence Inn, which is home to our Pediatric Sleep Medicine Clinic, ” said Jodi Coombs, M.B.A., B.S.N., R.N., vice president for Women’s and Children’s Services, OHSU Healthcare. “We will continue to work with RMHC on a long-term housing option for our pediatric patients that embodies the commitment to excellence shared by both organizations.”

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