WW has learned the Oregon Department of Justice’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is conducting an ongoing investigation into a residential home for low-income and disabled seniors that shut down in December 2021, displacing its 70 vulnerable residents, at least two of whom ended up homeless.
The investigation is now in its 10th month. WW chronicled the demise of the Taft Home, located above Cassidy’s Bar in Southwest Portland, in a July 2022 cover story.
State investigators launched the inquiry in the spring of 2022 after it received a referral from a source. The investigation includes a probe into the longtime operator of the Taft, a privately owned company based in Oregon called Concepts in Community Living that runs nine senior facilities in the state, and others in Washington and California. (The company’s annual revenue is estimated at $17 million.)
DOJ only offered scant information about the scope and focus of the investigation and declined to divulge further details. It did not provide a timeline for when the investigation might wrap up.
Concepts in Community Living did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2021, the Oregon Department of Human Services issued the Taft Home nine civil penalties and 21 licensing citations. The state alleged the home was neglecting basic tasks like having enough staff, administering medications on schedule, and keeping the building free of pests and grime.
In July 2021, the state told the Taft it couldn’t accept any more residents until it addressed issues that put them “at risk of immediate jeopardy” and were “likely to cause serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment, or death to a resident or residents,” documents show.
Placing conditions on a facility is abnormal; it means something going on there is alarming enough to deem the facility a risk to the people who call it home. In 2021, 24 of the 560 assisted living and residential care facilities in Oregon had conditional licenses. A month later, DHS found the same problems again—and threatened to revoke the Taft Home’s license. CCL had two options: fix the problems or close.
Concepts in Community Living closed the home Dec. 1. WW broke news of the closure two days later.
WW spent time with several former residents of the Taft last summer. One of those was 58-year-old Josephine Allen, who spent much of the year after the Taft closed sleeping in a tent on a patch of dirt across the street from the behemoth brick building. She lit fires with rubbing alcohol to keep warm in the winter.
The building itself is owned by Reach CDC, but Reach still owes the Portland Housing Bureau nearly $1 million in loan repayments for the building. That means the Housing Bureau had the ability to inspect the Taft, if it had wished to do so. At the time of the story, the bureau said it was not aware of the repeated violations at the Taft.
Reach and the Housing Bureau declined to comment, both saying they had not been alerted to any investigation.