We want to keep the Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) community updated about ongoing challenges with residents from Rosemont Court, a building that NHA sponsors, falling ill from Legionnaires’ Disease.
On Thursday, June 17, NHA and Multnomah County Health Department released more information on how we’re working together to reduce the Legionella risk to residents living in Rosemont Court.
NHA also sent the below press release on Monday, June 14 detailing mitigation efforts to date, and announcing relocation assistance being offered to residents at Rosemont Court. If you are member of the media, please reach out to Ariane Le Chevallier, communications advisor with NHA.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2021
Ariane Le Chevallier
Northwest Housing Alternatives to assist residents at Rosemont Court wishing to permanently relocate due to additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease
After extensive mitigation efforts—meeting the highest standards to treat the building water systems—two additional residents have fallen ill; confirmed source of additional cases not identified
June 14, 2021 (PORTLAND, ORE.) — Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) has made the decision to offer permanent relocation assistance to some 95 residents currently living at the Rosemont Court building, one of NHA’s most established communities. Despite temporarily relocating residents in Jan. 2021 due to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, and working with local and federal health officials, two more residents have fallen ill from Legionnaires’ disease since residents returned to the building. At this time, investigations into the two additional cases have not identified a known source of the outbreak.
“As a mission-based organization, our top priority is the well-being of every resident at Rosemont Court—and residents at all Northwest Housing Alternatives sponsored communities,” said Trell Anderson, executive director of NHA. “This has been an extremely difficult time for residents. Rosemont Court is a vibrant community of seniors who count on affordable housing, and on each other. Since the initial outbreak we have been working closely with health officials to take swift action against the Legionella bacteria. Yet, residents are still falling ill and no specific source has been determined. At this time, we believe that providing relocation assistance to residents is the most prudent path forward.”
NHA, which sponsors the building, will be working with the property manager, Income Property Management, state and local housing partners, local nonprofits, and a housing relocation expert to immediately provide one-on-one support to begin relocation efforts.
“In our role as property manager, we know and care deeply about Rosemont Court’s residents,” said Jill Webberley, vice president of operations at Income Property Management. “We will continue to support the residents at Rosemont Court during this time of transition so that their health and well-being are prioritized and accommodations that meet their needs are identified as soon as possible.”
Below are key facts, timelines and steps taken to address the situation:
- In Jan. 2021: Ten residents at Rosemont Court became ill—and one resident died—due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
- Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, NHA worked with Multnomah County to immediately move residents of 100 housing units into motels. Residents were also supported with food and services during the time away from their homes.
- The water in the Rosemont Court building was shut off immediately when NHA was made aware of the outbreak.
- Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) began investigating the source of the outbreak.
- While the building was unoccupied, the building’s water system was treated pursuant to the American Water Works Association standards, which included running chlorine through the water systems to destroy any potential bacteria.
- In Feb. 2021, a state-of-the-art supplemental disinfection system was installed.
- In March 2021, point-of-use filters, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were installed in units on sink faucets and showerheads.
- MCHD, the Oregon Health Authority and the CDC have provided additional review of the building’s water management plan.
- Since reopening the building with a water management program in place, all water testing results have not identified any viable Legionella bacteria.
- The CDC’s best practice standards for responding to the Legionella outbreak are being followed.
- Additional water treatment experts, Legionella bacteria experts and Legionella medical experts were consulted throughout the investigation and mitigation process.
- Despite ongoing testing and implementation of a water management program, two additional residents fell ill since returning to the building.
- At this time, investigations into the source of the two most recent cases are inconclusive.
- NHA is offering permanent relocation assistance to all residents at Rosemont Court.
- All residents have been notified of the decision and may receive relocation assistance.
- Water treatment will be ongoing throughout the relocation process. Testing of water remains in place and is monitored regularly.
“This is a difficult time for residents at Rosemont Court,” said Bill Van Vliet, executive director of the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing. “We have seen nothing like this across the state and have confidence in Northwest Housing Alternatives throughout this situation. We will continue to support them in their efforts to ensure all residents find an affordable home and community.”
NHA will continue cooperating with county and state health officials to determine the source of the most recent cases.
About Northwest Housing Alternatives
Founded in 1982, Northwest Housing Alternatives (NHA) is a leading not-for-profit developer of affordable housing in Oregon. Our mission is to create opportunity through housing. NHA develops, builds, and manages rental housing designed for Oregonians with extremely limited incomes. Along with providing affordable housing, NHA provides services that connect tenants to critical health and community resources, work to prevent homelessness before it begins, and offer emergency shelter and services for families experiencing homelessness. Learn more at nwhousing.org.