Health Center Progress

The PACS Health Center project continues to move forward with facility renovations, benefiting most recently from a major grant of $75,000 from the Portland Development Commission (PDC).

The area for the building addition was excavated in February, thanks to a donation of services by John Jones Construction. The foundation was poured in April, and volunteers have nearly completed the removal of sheetrock and other interior debris from the existing facility.

The next steps involve the last bits of interior demolition, then the removal of the brick wall on the front of the existing structure, which will open it up to the addition. Once that wall is gone, framing on the addition will commence and the building will begin to take it's new form.

PACS already operates a primary care health clinic for low-income individuals in its current facility, which it shares with the Food Pantry and the Thrift Store's apparel department.

When complete, the Health Center will provides a dedicated…

Rediscovering self-worth: Bill's Story

“I don’t think I’d ever before worked in an environment where I felt like everybody liked me,” said PACS volunteer Bill Leissner.
“It’s really quite heavenly, literally, to be able to go to a place where you know that people appreciate you, and they’ll go out of their way to appreciate you, and if you stick around long enough, you know it’s not a lie.”
Bill credits his time at PACS for helping him rediscover his workplace skills and sense of self-worth, but the process of getting there wasn’t free of challenges.
Prior to 2001, Bill had always held down a job. He had shot 3500 rolls of film as a professional photographer in Austin, Texas. He had worked as a Network Administrator in New York. But shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bill experienced a mental health crisis. While he had relocated to Vermont a few months before that event, he had multiple friends who were impacted, including a firefighter who lost his life after going into one of the towers multiple…

Paying it forward: Elisa's story

A vast mix of people come to the PACS Food Pantry. Each has their own background and story. Elisa is one of those people. Her fortunes crumbled when the boss she had thrived under passed away. She quickly found herself unemployed, struggling to get back on her feet, and running out of food. As Elisa tries to get her life back on track, she has avoided going hungry, thanks to the PACS Food Pantry. She says she doesn’t come every month. There are people who need it more. But when push comes to shove, the pantry is there for her. We went through the pantry with Elisa in mid-March to capture her experience. It was a crowded day, as is still too often the case since the Great Recession. On this day, the line behind the checkout stand extended all the way to the entrance.

(continued →)

Elisa had brought a friend with her. Steven was an older gentleman on a fixed income. As Elisa chose her food, she paused often to help him decipher his shopping list and choose the best items.
As the line of peopl…

Two PACS matriarchs say goodbye until heaven

Two women of influence at PACS went to sleep until heaven this last January. Iris Stanley (pictured left), and Barbara Nelson-Rienderhoff (pictured right) both had a significant impact for on the organization, and the people it serves.
IRIS STANLEY Just a few weeks ago, if you called PACS in the morning, you would have heard Iris Stanley’s calm voice on the other end of the line. But on Friday, January 19, she called in sick, and less than a week later, she had fallen asleep in Jesus. She was 88. She is survived by her sons Spenser and Herb, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In spite of an ongoing heart condition, Iris refused to retire. She preferred her PACS friends over being home alone. She once told Paul Cole, PACS’ Executive Director, “You can raise or lower my wages, you can increase or cut my hours, but don’t tell me I can’t come to PACS.”
Having once worked for the governor of Singapore, Iris had exceptional office and clerical skills. Her proof-reading w…

Keeping food on the table: Jessica's story

We hope you had a fantastic Christmas, and we want to wish you a Happy New Year!

As we go into the new year, one important resolution is to continue to help people right here in our own neighborhood who are facing new challenges.

In spite of the improving economy, the a decreasing risk of hunger nationwide, Oregon is proving to be an exception. Here, the rate is actually rising. The number of children threatened by hunger in our state is greater than the population of Eugene. That’s a lot of kids. No child should have to face a day of school on an empty stomach.

A big part of this problem is likely related to skyrocketing rent costs in the Portland area, which are putting new financial strains on families.

PACS helps ease this burden by providing groceries to families who are struggling. Jessica & Mark are the parents in one of these families. They have three daughters, including 7-month-old Mercy. Mark works full-time at a restaurant, but his wages are very low. The family can ra…

Helping Paul see again

Paul was a hard worker. Since high school, he had never been unemployed for long. But one day, that all changed. First, he was in an accident that left him temporarily unable to work. Then, the loss of income led to a worsening of his diabetes.
“The amount and types of food I was able to consume was not really great for the diabetes side of it, it was all rather starchy,” he said.
Finally, his diabetes began to affect his eyesight, until one day, he realized he was rapidly going blind.
“I was having a lot of trouble seeing anything at all,” he said. “I was frustrated, depressed, and feeling the weight of the world and trying to get back to where I was, but things were not happening the way I anticipated.”
With no income and no health insurance, Paul decided getting disability benefits was his only hope. But when he contacted a lawyer seeking advice on the process, the lawyer told him about the PACS Health Clinic, and he decided to check it out.

(story continues →)

“It was awesome!” he said.…

Beacon Project Completed

PACS wants to thank the City of Portland and each person and organization that contributed to this project. The organization is pleased to announce that the Beacon Project is now complete! PACS has established a more attractive, dignified and responsible visual presence in the community through the visual improvements (improved signage, new paint). It is also reducing its energy expenses and carbon footprint through green improvements (insulation, new double-paned windows). PACS is now using less than half the natural gas when comparing months with similar temperatures before and after the improvements. In additon to lowering the organization's carbon footprint, it decreases energy costs, freeing up additional money for investments in new programs like the addition of dental services (coming next spring).

Here are some photos showing various parts of the project before, during, and after the work that was done.