In the early 1970s, former Oregon governor Tom McCall became notorious for reacting to an influx of Californians by uttering what quickly became an oft-quoted, unofficial state slogan: “You’re welcome to visit, but please don’t stay.”
Such “encouragement” (or more accurately, discouragement) isn’t necessary here. While deeply appreciative, our visitors are all anxious to leave—as quickly as possible!
That point was humorously reinforced by a woman whose family stayed for several months as her son awaited (and ultimately underwent) a kidney transplant. They now come for periodic overnight stays in conjunction with the teen’s follow-up care.
As I greeted her and asked how her son was doing, Reyna enthusiastically reported on the boy’s progress. She noted that they were here for only one night—adding with a shy smile, “It’s nice to just visit.”
Her emphasis on the word “visit” made us both laugh!
As was the case last year, every guest statistic is up again this year—occupancy number, occupancy rate, and average length of stay. While we’re accustomed to the high totals at the West House, we’ve been especially busy at the East House in recent months—due to the opening of the new Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel (with a 20 percent higher capacity than the facility it replaced).
Eventually, we’ll have to expand in order to accommodate all our visitors—an option that’s far more realistic for an organization like ours than a state such as Oregon! In the meantime—thanks to our generous donors and volunteers—we’ll continue inviting guests to remain as long as necessary for their children to heal. Like them, we’re relieved when they go home. And we also enjoy an occasional return “visit” as well!
Tom Soma, Executive Director