December 5th, 2006 5:33 pm | by Stacy Riger News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Closure at Common Ground

Common Ground Photo

A shock may be in store for patrons of the well-loved Inner City Hot Tubs at Common Grounds Wellness Center, a favorite Northeast Portland spot for clothing-optional steaming and soaking.

The facilities, which have existed in their current location for 30 years, will close on an unknown date. The notice of closure, posted both at the front desk of Inner City and on the web site, does not specify an exact date or reason for the closure.

Executive Director Richelle Corbo declined to comment about the reasons for the closure at this time, but a 2005 court document filed at Multnomah County Courthouse indicates an ongoing struggle between the non-profit and a limited liability company run by ex-board member Rodriguez Deschenes. According to the complaint, the LLC was initiated to help secure funds that would enable Common Ground to purchase its property; but the corporation was allegedly mismanaged, and operated as "a personal investment vehicle" rather than as a means to benefit Common Ground. I was unable to reach Deschenes for comment.

It all boils down to a disappointment for Common Ground patrons who frequent Inner City's outdoor garden hot tubs and cedar-wood sauna. The non-profit community center promotes individual and community health and well being by offering classes, discussion groups, and healing practitioners focused on stress management and self-awareness.

But hot tub goers needn't despair. According to Inner City Manager Padrice Stewart, there is some talk of relocation.

"In some ways we are very excited about the possibility of moving to a new location," said Stewart. "We have a vision for the ultimate Portland experience, with a focus on earth friendly facilities and the ability to expand our services to include things like a Finnish birch sauna and a Native American sweat lodge. In order to pull it off though, we'd need to initiate a major fundraising campaign."

Inner City Hot Tubs will continue to operate at their current location for as long as possible, though closure could come at the drop of a hat. For this reason, they will no longer be selling or renewing memberships.

To learn more about Common Grounds Wellness Center or to read the notice of closure, visit

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