Diana Fairbanks, business manager for United Way of Jackson County, moves boxes as the nonprofit agency moves into its new building on Spring Street. Providence is allowing United Way to use the buildings free of rent for three years. - Jim Craven

United Way moves to new quarters

It was moving day for United Way of Jackson County Monday morning as an army of volunteers with a fleet of pickups helped get the social services agency relocated into a rent-free building donated by Providence Medford Medical Center.

Dee Anne Everson, director of United way of Jackson County, stood on tiptoe unscrewing brackets and coat racks at the old 711 E. Main St. address before shoving a desk out a side door and into the waiting arms of volunteers.

"We have rock-star volunteers," Everson said, referring to the men and women who answered her e-mail plea for moving assistance, and to Providence for its offer of three years' free rent in a building adjacent to the hospital.

The hospital's donation is "a phenomenal gift," Everson said.

Providence will not charge the nonprofit agency any rent, and it will continue to pay for landscape maintenance around the 1,400-square-foot, free-standing building, situated behind the hospital at 769 Spring St., said Tom Hanenburg, Providence CEO.

Providence's offer was a boon to United Way and to the 53 difcommunity programs it serves. The move will save United Way $20,000 a year. An option for two more rent-free years could total a $100,000 savings, Everson said.

Everson had anticipated three grueling days for herself and her small staff moving multiple boxes and heavy furniture. But thanks to a team of about 20 volunteers, the move was finished by 11:35 a.m., she said.

Volunteers included United Way board members, St. Mary's School students and members of the Harris Family Foundation, the Community Emergency Response Team, Rogue Valley Council of Governments, the community at large and directors and volunteers at other nonprofit agencies such as the Family Nurturing Center.

"We have a lot of people who care about our local United Way," said United Way board member Sue Slack.

Other volunteers have spent countless hours during the busy holiday season reconfiguring the building into three offices, Everson said.

When Everson arrived at the new offices early Wednesday morning, she said, she had little hope the space would be ready by their end-of-month move-in date. But a volunteer, Randy Ellison, was slipping out of the building.

"He said, 'Oops. I think I just got caught,' " Everson said. "I went in and all six walls had been primed and were already dry."

It was 8 a.m. Ellison must have worked all night, she said.

Last week volunteers painted and carpeted the space so that Monday's move could occur. S&B James donated the framing, Hammerhead Construction did the drywall. Mike Gard painted the ceilings and trim. Twelve men and one woman from Fashion Floors spent Sunday putting in carpeting, said Everson.

Mountains of boxes stood against the freshly painted walls at noon on Monday. Ten more volunteers were carefully placing furniture into offices. Blue United Way signs with yellow slogans reading, "Thank you for your support!" stood leaning against the front wall.

"Dee Anne and the gals do so much for the community," said Linda Fern, a volunteer from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. "And what a blessing to get three years free rent."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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