Director leaves as Hospice plans new headquarters

Board members and employees of Hospice of the Gorge held a ceremonial ground-breaking last week for a new Hood River headquarters in Elliott Woods Business Park in the Heights. The new facility will be the organization’s first permanent home in Hood River since its founding in 1986.

The 4,920-square-foot facility will be built on a half-acre lot that Hospice of the Gorge purchased last summer.

The new Hood River home for Hospice (the organization maintains another office in The Dalles) will provide a welcome permanence to Hospice of the Gorge, whose 42 employees provide end-of-life care for patients and families in seven counties in Oregon and Washington.

“We’ve moved eight times in 17 years,” said Sharon Mulford, outgoing executive director of Hospice of the Gorge.

“We’ve been kind of nomads,” she added. The organization is currently housed in leased space at 13th and May streets.

Mulford worked hard during her three-year tenure to get the organization to a position of financial viability where it could purchase or build a permanent home.

“It’s high time we have a place,” said Mulford, who is retiring. Deborah Jaques will take her place at the helm of the organization.

In addition to providing expanded office space and much-needed storage room for patient records and equipment, the new facility will allow for greater privacy for Hospice care providers working with patients and their families.

In addition, there will be conference space available for community groups, as well as meeting rooms for Hospice-related and other support groups.

Hospice of the Gorge has expanded exponentially since its founding in the 1980s as Hospice of Hood River.

“More and more people are choosing the kind of end-of-life care they want,” said Marianne Durkan, president of the Hospice board. Hospice provides care for patients with terminal illnesses as well as support for their families.

The new Hospice facility will be built over the summer and fall. Executive Director Jaques hopes the organization will be up and running in its new home by the holidays.

For information about Hospice, call 387-6449.

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