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Coastal Phoenix Rising Breathes New Life to Those in Crisis

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Life can throw some serious obstacles at you, some out of your control and some by your own poor choices, said Jeff Sutton of Lincoln County.

Fortunately for him – and many others in distressing situations – help was available through Coastal Phoenix Rising, a program supported in part by Samaritan Health Services.

A phoenix is an immortal bird of mythology symbolizing rebirth and growth. And the acronym, CPR, was intentional, said Sheila Stiley, executive director of Northwest Coastal Housing, the nonprofit that operates the facility.

“I selected the name of CPR not just for the medical treatment, but as a place that breathes new life and new beginnings to those in crisis,” she said.

Jeff Sutton’s Story

Sutton was one of the first residents at Coastal Phoenix Rising when it opened in May 2021 in Lincoln City. He agrees that CPR has given him the opportunity for a different and, hopefully, better life. In a note handwritten by Sutton in September 2021, Sutton said:

“In addition to the excellent health care given me by Samaritan Health, Coastal Phoenix Rising has been instrumental during my ongoing recovery by providing a safe, clean, warm and stable environment, allowing me to focus on the goal of achieving a full recovery. Their support, guidance and the availability of many resources I would have never known about otherwise has enabled me to progress from the wheelchair to a walker, then to the cane.” 

Sutton describes his life’s path as 30 years of bad choices followed by five years of being wiser, saner and sober. While living in Simi Valley, California, his third wife divorced him and moved with their three young children to South Beach, Oregon. In 2019, he took medical retirement from his work after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure. That was a good time for him to move closer to his children in Oregon, finding an apartment to rent in Newport.

Early in 2021, he was nearly felled by two major heart attacks, spent six weeks mostly bedridden at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, then had an emergency amputation of half his left foot after it turned gangrenous from poor circulation. During this time, he lost his apartment.

How Coastal Phoenix Rising Helped

Sutton could not be released from the hospital without a home to return to and a caregiver to assist. So, he was referred to Coastal Phoenix Rising. This former 42-bed motel in the heart of Lincoln City offers care to discharged hospital patients, to survivors of the Otis wildfires, and to others needing a safe place, resources and guidance to become self-supporting once again. 

“When I first arrived here, I was wheelchair-bound, frequently needing assistance to go from the chair to my bed, and vice versa,” Sutton wrote. He describes CPR as “nothing but a positive experience.”

Now, Sutton is able to walk without any assistance and is actively looking for a new place to rent – not an easy task these days, with housing shortages throughout the county. Another bit of good fortune: he was hired by CPR to work the front desk three nights a week and is able to remain in his room until he can find a rental.

He commented that he has never before been called a “success story” but feels like those words could apply to him now.

“I believe that the comfort, food resources and caring staff at CPR have helped me immeasurably, allowing my ongoing recovery to be successful enough to surprise even my doctors. I literally owe CPR and Samaritan Health more than I could ever repay for saving my life,” he wrote.

Learn more about Coastal Phoenix Rising at nwcoastalhousing.org.