Life Recovery Network searches for new home
The older brick building with white pillars along the 100 block of Crater Lake Parkway was a community hospital for nearly 35 years.
Clay Bynum, a pastor who now holds workshops and sermons at the building, said that the overall purpose has not changed much in his eyes.
“For us ... it’s a spiritual hospital where people get healed from their struggles in life,” Bynum said. “We teach them a better way.”
But they knew that the time for change would come sooner or later: Life Recovery Network (LRN) in Klamath Falls is now looking for a new home.
The building sold from International Church of the Foursquare Gospel for $325,000 to Anthony Larson of Portland on June 7, according to public records from the Klamath County Clerk’s office.
The church, which the Klamath Christian Center is affiliated with, had been seeking a buyer for several years as LRN continued services at the site.
Following agreements with the new owner, Bynum said they now have less than 90 days to either seek out a new location or work out other arrangements.
Built in 1929 and originally known as the Hillside Hospital, the building first opened under the guidance of Dr. George Merryman. It stayed open until 1965 after the construction of what’s now known as Sky Lakes Medical Center, according to Todd Kepple, Klamath County Museum manager.
LRN moved into the building nearly 16 years ago. After the Klamath Christian Center changed locations, the group had an opportunity to occupy the building rent free as long as they maintained the property.
Those who stop in have often taken notice of the building’s history themselves.
“People come here all the time saying ‘I was born here’ or ‘my mother was born here,’” Bynum said.
Volunteer donations and contributions have helped LRN maintain its roughly $10,000 in expenses a month for meals, upkeep, utilities and other costs, Bynum said.
It’s not yet clear what could become of the property, though Bynum believes it would likely be re-purposed or rented out for office spaces.
Lessons through experience
As a faith-based organization, LRN holds sermons multiple times a week and offers community services free of charge. The group also serves meals and holds support groups for addiction recovery, anger management, parenting and more.
LRN has continued to grow since it started in 2002 with Bynum and his wife, Frankie. The pastor said they originally had a handful of volunteers to help with services, meals and other activities.
Today, they have at least 70.
“It’s a total collective effort,” Clay said. “It’s just an amazing, amazing group.”
Bynum, who said he struggled with addiction himself 32 years prior, encourages the acceptance of people to “come as they are.” He himself prefers to not wear a suit or tie whenever possible.
Still, he places great emphasis on the concepts of family unity and what he describes as a “healthy social atmosphere.” On average, the group sees about 180 people a week.
“There’s definitely lots of opportunities to help people,” said Jude Marchessault, a volunteer who has helped with LRN for more than two years.
Marchessault has also helped with some of the efforts in terms of community outreach and planning for the move.
He and Bynum said that they have considered the possibility of working with the current developer.
“We still want to have a conversation with the new owner, see if there are any options,” Marchessault said.
So far, LRN has explored other sites, though not without a few minor snags: some locations have appeared to be too worn out, while others seem to lack the space that the ministry needs.
But as things move ahead, Bynum and Marchessault say they would only continue their efforts to explore new options and create a new home that meets everyone’s needs.
“It’s going to take some getting used to,” Bynum said.
Volunteer, donation opportunities
A letter from the group states that it's seeking a building with a large auditorium or meeting room for services, several classrooms for childcare or meetings and a kitchen with dining area.
More information on donations and Life Recovery Network can be found online at www.liferecoverynetwork.org.
Proverbs 18:15 NIV
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.