by: JEFF MCDONALD  - Heartwood Place, a 48-bed memory care facility, is under construction on Boones Ferry Road in Woodburn. The facility will treat patients suffering memory loss using the Best Friends approach, which puts someone back into the life they were successful living. The $8.5 million project, which started in June, is on schedule for a May 1 opening. There appears to be healthy demand for Woodburn’s newest memory care facility, which is well under construction.

Heartwood Place, a 48-bed memory care facility, is expected to be completed by April 2 and ready for opening by May 1, said Terri Waldroff, a co-owner of Benitia Senior Living, an Oregon City-based management company that will be running the facility.

“We’re right on schedule,” Waldroff said. “We are already getting inquiries from people who want their family members to live there and a lot of inquiries from people who want to work there.”

The $8.5 million facility is being developed on 4.25 acres with 1.6 acres of the property slated for future development, according to Salem-based Link Development LLC, the developer of the project.

Heartwood will have two inner courtyards with continuous walking paths, a commercial kitchen and laundry facilities and will provide residents with a wide variety of common space, according to Waldroff.

Benitia, which manages similar facilities in West Linn, Southeast Portland and Tacoma, Wash., employs a “Best Friends” approach to memory care. The Best Friends approach utilizes life experiences of residents to design their care, she said.

“We try to encourage residents to be as active as possible,” she said. “It is an activity-based program that programs according to what residents did during their life.”

An example of the Best Friends approach would be a person who was an accountant earlier in his life.

Heartwood would provide activity stations including items such as a typewriter and a briefcase to replicate what that person did during their earlier life.

“He can go to work every day,” she said. “He didn’t go to work, but he thought he did.”

Another example would be a farmer who could plant seeds at the facility’s raised gardens and grow something, Waldroff said.

Construction has gone as well as expected at the Heartwood facility, said Dale Shuart, superintendent of Beaverton-based Yorke & Curtis, general contractor.

Crews were busy last week framing the building and setting a catch basin for the pond that will be located in front of the new facility. The pond will act as a filtration system when it rains, Shuart said.

Between 35 and 50 employees from Yorke and various subcontractors will work on the project at any time, Shuart said.

“We like to use local subcontractors as much as possible,” he said.

Project leaders have worked with neighbors to make sure there have been few disruptions. There will be a 6-foot high masonry block wall around the south and west borders of the property, Shuart said.

“Some are excited about getting a new fence,” he said.

For the city, the project is another sign that Woodburn’s construction economy might be picking up, said Jim Hendryx, Woodburn’s director of development and economic development services.

Redevelopment work around the Woodburn Interchange Project has been evident with several business filing permits over the last few months, Hendryx said.

Additionally, single family residential construction permits have increased since the darkest days of the recession, Hendryx said.

“These developers with the memory care facility pointed out the need for that type of facility,” he said. “As the economy improves, we’re seeing other development occur.”

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