Paint store gives Albany family's home 'extreme' makeover

ALBANY — Saying you wouldn't recognize the Powell house at Oakville Road isn't an overstatement.

"It's huge — all except for the wrecking ball, it's 'Extreme Home Makeover,' " said Debi Powell, referring to the popular television show.

Powell, her husband, Ron, and their four adopted children won the facelift for their humble abode in Fitzpatrick Painting's annual Paint-It-Forward charity giveaway.

When owner Tim Fitzpatrick visited the home, he realized it needed more than a fresh coat of paint. He asked some friends in the home improvement business if they could help and before he knew it, Paint-ItForward turned into a home makeover, valued at more than $85,000.

The three-bedroom, two-and-half-bath home on Oakville Road in southwest Albany was built in 1962. The Powells moved in in May of 1985.

"It was a vet repo," Debi explained. "It was livable. It was all right. We decided to invest our money in our children."

And a great deal of charity work.

"These kids have all grown up with love and parents that have sacrificially given not only to them, but to their community," wrote Ron's son Todd, 43, of Corvallis in his nomination letter.

"They have done so without ringing a bell, but rather with great love and humility."

The couple started a nonprofit called God's Heart, through which they serve food to homeless people every Tuesday night at Monteith Riverpark.

"They even had one couple living at their home for a couple of years on their floor because they did not have another bedroom," Todd wrote in the letter.

Ron owns his own sheet metal business — and is the only employee.

"He has never focused on making money, but rather taking care of his family," Todd wrote. "He has always maintained his integrity and has given generously over the years, even if it's just fixing someone's car, helping someone move, or whatever the need.

"These are not flashy people on outward appearances, but they are people of great depth and values."

Indeed, the home was far from flashy.

"We had to flush our toilet with a bucket," Debi said of one of the bathrooms.

New countertops, faucets, toilets and sinks are being installed in the bathrooms.

"I can't remember how many years it's been since we had a shower," Debi said. The family has two full bathrooms, where they use the bathtubs and one half-bath Ron has been working on "for years."

The old dryer was rusty and held together with duct tape and the washer wouldn't always drain properly, Debi said, showing off the new-to-her units.

"We've been married 27-and-a-half years and I finally got a dishwasher," Debi said.

The children are thrilled, too.

Daughters Grace, 14, and Faith, 19, were picking out paint colors for their rooms.

Mom Debi said every day is "civil war" day at her house as son David, 17, is a loyal University of Oregon Ducks fan and son Virgil, also 17, hopes to one day play football for the beavers at Oregon State.

The boys' room, in the converted garage, is to be painted green and yellow on David's side and orange and black on the other, for Virgil. Neutral territory will be painted in neutral tones.

"I look in there and I just cry," Debi said of the house. "I'm so amazed, so blessed."

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