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September 17, 2013
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Editorial: New day for Sunrise radiates benefits for agency, clients

For many of us, moving day is a royal pain at the best of times.

That’s probably also true for Roseburg’s Sunrise Enterprises as far as packing office equipment, hauling furniture and supplies and transferring utilities. Nevertheless, any hassle will be outweighed by the advantages Executive Director Sam Gardner listed last week for The News-Review.

So many businesses and nonprofit agencies alike have staggered through the recent lean years — those still standing, that is — so it’s a pleasure to see that an employer is flourishing enough to have outgrown its headquarters. Sunrise is positioning itself to expand programs while settling more squarely in the public view.

Though a thrift store will be lost in the process, the flagship location will be based in a building that Sunrise owns rather than leases, as is now the case. That’s an encouraging sign for anybody’s venture.

In gradual stages, Sunrise will be moving all of its operations from West Harvard Avenue to the former Werner Works building on three acres at 3005 N.E. Diamond Lake Blvd.

Included with that will be the donation intake for the five Shop & Save stores Sunrise has in Douglas County.

The nonprofit agency has been the subject of numerous News-Review stories over the years. Yet a bit of history is in order for those unfamiliar with Sunrise’s services and mission.

Sunrise was launched in 1969, the same year astronauts first walked on the moon and the last time all four Beatles were under one roof.

The agency was founded to provide vocational training for people with disabilities. Today, its programs and services can be roughly divided into five components: recycling, retail, job training, wood products and contract services.

Gardner said Sunrise has 145 trainees and nearly 100 other staff positions, making it the county’s eighth-largest employer. Its website observes, correctly, that work experience is excellent therapy for most disabilities.

Managers seek to help employees become more confident and independent. Company policy states that employees are paid on the basis of individual productivity. This is determined by comparing output with an average worker doing the same or similar tasks in private industry.

By moving to the Diamond Lake Boulevard site, Sunrise employees also will gain the benefit of a central location that allows for more interaction with others in the community. It’s also a more secure location than the Harvard Avenue storefront, where Gardner said poor security resulted in the weekly loss of hundreds of dollars of gasoline siphoned from Sunrise vehicles.

Though there hasn’t been a great deal of detail on program expansion, one plan Gardner announced is to institute a doggie day care. Such a service would be welcomed by pet owners whose animals require supervision while they are at work. It would also furnish great job opportunities for Sunrise employees able to form loving bonds with pets eager for the companionship.

We’re glad Sunrise is doing well enough to take advantage of the money-saving option of owning an operations center. By adjusting today to tomorrow’s needs, the agency is proving as reliable as the natural phenomenon whose name it shares.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 17, 2013 11:00AM Published Sep 17, 2013 11:00AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.