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Harsch Converting Former Wapato Jail to COVID-19 Facility in Northwest Portland

Bybee Lakes Hope Center signed a deal to take space at Harsch Investment Properties’ 155,000-square-foot facility in northwest Portland. The former Wapato jail is expected to be converted into a 228-bed facility for patients to safely isolate and recover from COVID-19.

Harsch purchased the property in 2018 and has been working with Helping Hands to raise more than $4 million in private donations to renovate the site into a valuable resource for the homeless population. The company’s Jordan Schnitzer says, “COVID-19 is a crisis impacting every citizen in our state. Working with Helping Hands and the State of Oregon, I am pleased that Wapato could be used as a facility to help Oregonians survive this health emergency.”

A team from construction manager, DAYCPM, is working to quickly identify necessary building improvements for COVID-19 patients, including an upgraded ventilation system, utilities and equipment, and ensuring the rest of the facility can be operational as soon as possible.

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.