The coastal Phoenix hike breathes new life into those in crisis

Life can throw some serious obstacles at you, some out of your control and some because of your 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.

The phoenix is ​​an immortal bird of mythology that symbolizes rebirth and growth. Sheila Steele, executive director of Northwest Coastal Housing, the nonprofit that operates the facility, said the acronym CPR was intended.

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

Jeff Sutton’s story

Sutton was an early resident of Coastal Phoenix Rising when it opened in May 2021 in Lincoln City. He agrees that CPR has given him the chance to lead a different, hopefully better life. In a handwritten note by Sutton in September 2021, Sutton said:

“In addition to the excellent healthcare provided to me by Samaritan Health, Coastal Phoenix Rising has played an instrumental role during my ongoing recovery by providing a safe, clean, warm and stable environment, which has allowed me to focus on the goal of achieving a complete recovery. Their support, guidance, and availability of many resources have enabled me to I would never have known about it other than from advancing from the wheelchair to the walker, and then to the cane.”

Sutton describes his life path as 30 years of poor choices followed by five years of wisdom, reason and vigilance. While living in California’s Simi Valley, his third wife divorced him and moved with their three young children to South Beach, Oregon. In 2019, he medically retired from his job after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It was a good time for him to get close to his kids in Oregon, and find an apartment to rent in Newport.

In early 2021, he nearly had two major heart attacks, spent six weeks mostly bedridden at Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital, then had an emergency amputation of half of his left foot after it turned gangrene due to poor circulation. During this time, he lost his apartment.

How Phoenix Coastal Elevation Helped

Sutton cannot be released from the hospital without a home to return to and a carer to help. Therefore, it was referred to Coastal Phoenix Rising. This 42-bed former motel in the heart of Lincoln provides care for hospitalized patients, survivors of the Otis bushfire, and others who need a safe place, resources and guidance to become self-reliant again.

“When I first got here, I was in a wheelchair, and needed a lot of help getting 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 in short supply across the county. Another bit of good luck: He’s hired by CPR to work at the front desk three nights a week and can stay in his room until he can find rent.

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

“I believe the convenience, nutritional resources, and caring staff of CPR have helped me immeasurably, allowing my ongoing recovery to be successful enough to surprise my doctors. I literally owe more to CPR and Samaritan Health than I can repay to save my life,” he wrote.

Learn more about Coastal Phoenix Rising at nwcoastalhousing.org.

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