PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’ve been in inner Southeast Portland lately, you may have noticed a 34,000-square-foot building that was recently finished.
Living inside that building is a large group of longtime friends who wanted to grow old together. The brainchild of a local woman, the building looks like a place you’d want to stay for vacation — complete with a heated pool, workout room and even an extensive game room
“We were all sitting around talking about how we were going to age together,” resident Debbie McCabe explained. “But Molly is the one who took it and ran with it.”
Molly McCabe is Debbie’s daughter. She is very close with her parents and their friends, who had all previously been neighbors. They had frequent gatherings and even traveled around the world together.
As her parents have gotten older, Molly worried about what was next. She didn’t want them to lose their independence in a conventional retirement home.
“I didn’t want their spark put out by a home like that, so we started thinking what I could do to take care of them,” Molly said. “Then I looked at the rest of the group and I thought, well, why don’t we just take care of all of them.”
Molly had the financial means to make it happen, so throughout the pandemic, the Ellen Browning building was built with input from everyone planning to live there.
The apartment complex has 12 units for her parents and their friends, along with a couple of one-bedrooms for lease they’re saving for caregivers to live in down the road.
Molly says the location of the building — Southeast Division and Southeast 28th Place — was key.
“We’re five blocks from New Seasons, 10 blocks from a pharmacy, restaurants all around,” Molly stated. “We want to keep it independent.”
Debbie says it’s a great way to “age in place.”
“The main reason why we really like it is because we’re in an urban setting,” she explained.
The building was named for Ellen Browning, whose full name is Ellen Browning Scripps, of the Scripps Media family. She was Molly’s great-great-aunt.
Browning Scripps spent a lot of her fortune giving back. She founded the Scripps College for Women and donated land for the Torrey Pines State Park in California — and Molly wanted to honor her with this building.