Rose Center moves to new quarters

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ROSE CENTER volunteers Marie Twiss and Joe Hamby slice and serve cake in celebration of the new building.


On a clear, cool Oregon afternoon, the Salvation Army brass band welcomed visitors outside the entrance to the new Rose Center. Inside, fresh roses adorned the clean white tables and smiling volunteers greeted visitors, Salvation Army officers, and Portland-area seniors as they filed through the glass doors and into the spacious two-story building. People lined the halls and crowded into the elevator, exchanging hugs and handshakes, oohs and aaahs. They came to share in the festivities, learn about Rose Center programs and tour the recently remodeled facility that opened in late February.


“We will intentionally reach out in service and ministry to people of every generation, within all races and cultures.”

A celebration of hard work and new opportunities, the recent dedication ceremony recognized the efforts of Rose Center Director Pam Mangene, designers at CIDA Architects, contractors at Yorke & Curtis, Inc., and volunteers who remained steadfast during the transition. Soon-to-be-retired meteorologist Jim Bosley of KATU-TV acted as emcee for the event and kept the standing-room only crowd laughing. Long-time Rose Center members spoke about the experiences and opportunities the center has afforded them through the years.

Special guest Captain Judy Smith, the center’s first director, shared her memories of the first Rose Center dedication and spoke passionately about its continuing mission. “In this center we have a wonderful example of the Salvation Army’s saying ‘Heart to God, Hand to Man.’ The Rose Center expresses the love of God through its programs and services.” Then, Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger, divisional commander, cut the red ribbon, bringing the ceremony to a close and the crowd descended into the dining room for punch, cake and an appetizer buffet.

The center, formerly located in one giant room on the second floor of Cascade Division Headquarters, now occupies 13,627 square feet, including special rooms for crafts, cards and exercise classes. The building reflects the extraordinary growth and development in both Rose Center membership and programs through the years.

“I think ministry to the older population is becoming increasingly important,” says Burger. “The Rose Center is one of the best senior centers in Portland, and it continues to make a difference in many lives.”

Volunteer Marie Twiss, a Rose Center regular for 23 years, cannot say enough about the new building. “This to me is my home away from home,” she says, slicing the giant white cake. “It keeps me young.” Dressed in a stylish black dress with pink ruffle trim, no one would guess that she, at 89, is one of the center’s longest members or that besides serving meals on Tuesdays, she is also taking tai chi.

“The focus is on fun,” says Mangene, “but we also encourage wellness–physical, emotional and spiritual.” To this end, the center offers walking and swimming groups, Bible studies and bowling trips. Seniors can take classes in tax preparation, defensive driving, Spanish, computers, and even tai chi. The array of programs offered reflects the diverse interests of the members and their friends. The new facility accommodates 100-150 seniors per day and will eventually incorporate a respite care center into its long list of services. Other plans include a full health club designed for seniors, and expanded courses in computers and arts and crafts.

Currently, three fitness classes are offered each week and the new craft room is recruiting volunteers to teach basket weaving, quilting, painting and needlework, to name a few. Regular celebrations, including monthly birthday parties, holiday festivities and the annual crowning of the Rose Center queen and king, will continue as new events are added to the calendar. This month, Bring-a-Friend Day encourages members to invite friends to the center for a two-for-one lunch, musical entertainment and quilt display.

The Rose Center also has a travel program. Assistant Director David Evans plans trips for seniors to the mountains and to the coast; out to dinners, concerts, and shows; and this October, they will travel to Mexico on a cruise ship! April tours include excursions to the Portland Art Museum, the Rose Garden for a Trail Blazers basketball game, and the coast for a Crab and Seafood Festival. Volunteer June Rosini has already signed up for a three-day trip in May to Yachats on the Oregon coast. A member for 20 years, she usually takes four to five trips a year, and hopes to spend all three days at the coast playing bridge.

“This is a place where seniors can come for lunch or take an exercise class, go on a tour or learn something new, or just relax with friends,” says Mangene. Needless to say, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since 1972, the Rose Center has offered programs and services for just about every senior. Now, with its new building, the center will be able to serve even more. It seems that when hearts are big, possibilities are endless.

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