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ABC House — which has helped children in crisis in Linn and Benton counties for the last 21 years — will move into its new home at 228 SW Fifth Ave. in Albany in November.

On a chilly, windy Friday afternoon, ABC House staff, board members and community supporters watched as former Benton County Commissioner Jay Dixon and Dr. Carol Chervenak unveiled a large artist’s rendering of how the new location will look when completed. It will stand directly south of the Linn County Courthouse.

Steering committee co-chairman Jim Merryman announced that ABC House has raised $3.7 million of its $5 million capital campaign goal. Funds came from 22 households, five local businesses, five regional foundations and 100 percent giving from board members and steering committee members.

Steering committee co-chairman is Ralph Scariano and committee members are Shelly Garrett, Dixie Belveal, Frank Morse, Carolyn Gardner, Barb Stellmacher, Jason Yutzie and Dixon.

According to executive director Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson, ABC House started in a small area at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.

“We provided services to 57 children the first year,” she said. “Two years later, we moved to our current location in Albany and we immediately began outgrowing the building.”

Last year, ABC House provided services to 4,765 people. Some 632 children and their families received medical exams, family support, forensic interviews and consultations. Some 85 children and 88 adults received trauma counseling, and 3,115 youth and 845 adults took part in community education and prevention programs. Some 56 percent of those served were six years old or younger and another 30 percent were from 7 to 12 years of age.

Gilmore-Robinson said the 10,000-square-foot new building will more than double the current space of 4,600 square feet. The space, she said, is vital, because privacy laws restrict the number of children who can be counseled or assessed at any given time.

“We often have our regular days already booked out and then there is an emergency,” she said. “Every child, every case, is important. We want to do better and get more children in sooner.”

She said the new building should allow ABC House to double or triple its services.

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“We are going to transform this vacant building and repurpose it to make it something wonderful,” she said.

Gilmore-Robinson said $3 million of the $5 million goal will be used for purchase of the new building, its renovation and furnishings. The remaining $2 million will be dedicated to expanding services, including adding staff and contributing to a long-term endowment.

Gilmore-Robinson said the community portion of the fundraising campaign will kick off in May, but anyone with questions may contact her at the ABC House, 541-926-2203.

She added that the annual Celebrate Hope fundraising dinner will be held on April 5 at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. The event is free, but there will be an opportunity to donate.

Reservations by March 23 are encouraged. Call 541-248-3978 or visit

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.