Mt. Hood Hospice gets new digs, director
It is the end of an era at Mt. Hood Hospice.
Lindy Blaesing, executive director of 30 years, has stepped down from her position as of June 1. This change in leadership comes just as the hospice looks to move to its new downtown location at 38065 Pioneer Blvd.
"I decided if hospice has taught me anything it is to live in the moment — so I felt it was time for me to have some fun," Blaesing told The Post. "I feel it's time for that next chapter. You can't keep waiting."
But with the end of one era begins another, and Rhonda Franke, former office manager and director of finance and human resources, is at the helm.
"I knew Rhonda would do an excellent job, and Mt. Hood Hospice was in good hands," Blaesing noted. "It was an unanimous choice of the board to offer the position to Rhonda. In my mind, Rhonda was always going to be my choice."
Franke has been with the care facility since 1996. Blaesing had just recently taken the post of director, and then hired Franke as the director of finance.
"When I started, I really didn't know what hospice was," Franke admitted. "I applied because it was in Sandy and I'd read good things about hospice. I wanted to work for a company that did good things."
Now Franke is "looking forward to continuing to service our patients," as she has for the past 22 years, but in her new role.
"I feel like this is our family and we're continuing with our family," Franke said. "I feel proud to be taking over this position. I'm happy the board decided to hire from within."
"(I think I'll miss) my family the most," Blaesing added. "I have separation anxiety when I go on vacation. I think things will continue to go on smoothly. Rhonda will bring her own style and her own ideas."
Only two weeks after Franke takes over, the hospice family will move to its new home in the AEC Building, 38065 Pioneer Blvd., in downtown Sandy.
Franke and Blaesing explained there has always been a misunderstanding that the hospice had inpatients. Though they considered the option in the past, they have never housed patients at their location.
"Because our building is so large, we don't want people to think we have patients here," Franke said.
"Hospice isn't a place you go," Blaesing added. "It's in your home. We (bought this property) to start general in-patient care, but then there wasn't as much of a need. We're giving up a lot of space, but we're gaining more closeness with the city. We feel a little isolated out here, (and) it's time we give another organization a chance to be in this beautiful building."
A date for a formal ribbon cutting and open house has yet to be determined.
"My big challenge (in this role) is probably going to be just getting readjusted and getting us moved," Franke noted. "(But) we're looking forward to the move because it will be a nice change. It will be nice to be downtown. Hopefully it will get us good exposure. I think we'll have more feel of community. We want the people in Sandy to know we're their hospice community."