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|Articles - February 2014|
|Thursday, January 23, 2014|
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Start by getting a master’s in gerontology. Byrd moved to Boulder to attend Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired school, graduated in 2001 and held several positions in the field before being brought on at Rose Villa.
Rose Villa’s origin story is a tale of two facilities. The retirement community was founded in 1960 by a splinter group from the board of Willamette View, a facility next door. Unlike Willamette View, which expanded upward into a high-rise, Rose Villa spread outward into a 22-acre campus of attached “cottages” with easy access to the outdoors. That layout puts the continuing-care retirement community in a “small minority” of such facilities and gives it a particular character.
“Not being in a big box makes a huge difference,” Byrd observes of the approximately 200-resident community. “It attracts different kinds of people” — independent, outdoorsy types — “and it influences how people who live here interact” — they’re neighborly but not nosy.
When Byrd arrived, the organization was in need of a shot in the arm. She was the first head of the retirement community not to be designated by his predecessor (gendered pronoun intended — she was also the first woman CEO). The board was disengaged, meeting only quarterly.
“It was an old-fashioned, top-down, very patriarchal setup,” she says.
Byrd brought Rose Villa into the Information Age and sought to boost morale among staff by being omnipresent on campus. Byrd has also given Rose Villa’s residents’ council an unusually large role in decision making.
In 2009 a lesbian couple living at Rose Villa told her that the marketing director of another retirement community had advised them to move in as sisters or roommates. Byrd had her staff go through training in issues specific to gay seniors and made Rose Villa’s outreach to the LGBT community more vociferous. “We are loud and clear: The door is wide open.”
Having plucked the low-hanging fruit, Byrd is now working on an estimated $35 million redevelopment that will maximize green space while preserving residents’ privacy by replacing a swath of Rose Villa’s aging attached cottages with efficiently clustered “pocket neighborhoods.” It will also expand the “village center” with new amenities and apartments. As of December 2013, the planned new units, which will increase Rose Villa’s occupancy to about 300, were already three-fifths presold. (Byrd hopes the project will be just the first phase in a larger-scale redevelopment that may include new health centers, a child-daycare center and a hospice.)
Such changes, Byrd points out, merely manifest Rose Villa’s autonomous, nature-loving spirit. “I want the outside of Rose Villa to be as amazing as the inside,” she says.
Today’s baby boomers want to be active participants in their community, and continuing-care providers must adopt a more collaborative and respectful management style in order to adapt. Byrd’s understanding of aging and time spent in a community with a long established independent streak position her in the vanguard.
“It’s easier to manage residents, but I want to work with them,” Byrd says. “My ultimate objective is to destroy the stereotypes of aging and restore elders to a rightful place of strength and wisdom.”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
BY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER
Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Friday, June 27, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
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