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PSU honors Happy Valley couple

by: PHOTO COURTESY: PSU - Happy Valley residents Keren Brown Wilson and Michael DeShanePortland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs will honor Happy Valley residents Keren Brown Wilson and Michael DeShane for their work in helping people age with dignity.

The married couple will receive the 2013 Nohad A. Toulan Urban Pioneer Award for Public Service at the college’s hooding ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 14, in the Stott Center, 930 S.W. Hall St.

Wilson, who founded the Clackamas-based Jessie F. Richardson Foundation, which advocates for quality housing and long-term care, is known as a pioneer in the model of assisted living that started in Oregon and spread across the nation.

DeShane is president of Concepts in Community Living — also based in Clackamas — a consulting, development and management firm that provides technical assistance for states and organizations and manages assisted living communities with a goal of maximizing independence for elders.

“Keren and Michael are exceptional people who have made an extraordinary difference,” said College Dean Larry Wallack. “Their generosity has helped us build buildings, extend more opportunity to more students and create bigger and better ideas about aging in the 21st century. Their intelligence, commitment and generosity combine to benefit our university and community.”

Wilson and DeShane donated $1 million to fund the Aging Matters Locally and Globally initiative in PSU’s Institute on Aging, which works to change the ways communities plan for and address quality-of-life issues for older adults. The initiative’s projects include Dr. Paula Carder and Jenny Weinstein’s 2012 report on older adults who live in public housing. Their findings revealed an immediate need for affordable housing for older adults in the greater Portland region, as well as the need for Portland’s public-housing agency, Home Forward, to improve their provision of supportive services for older adults.

DeShane and Wilson support a scholarship program for students who complete their first two years of education at Clackamas Community College then transfer to Portland State University to complete a bachelor’s degree. Wilson also helped start a service-learning program that takes students to Nicaragua each year. She will help lead the next group in June.



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