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Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). While Planned Parenthood as a national movement began in 1916, PPCW was founded in 1963 as Planned Parenthood Association of Portland. The Ethical Study Society, a branch of the American Humanists, called the first meeting to organize a Planned Parenthood affiliate in November of 1962. A steering committee was formed, and a Board of Directors elected in May of 1963. Jesalee Fosterling was the first President of the Board.

Our first health center opened its doors in October of 1963 in space sublet from the Interfaith Counseling Center in downtown Portland. From 1963 through 1965, the health center was staffed entirely by volunteers, with services, counseling and education all under supervision of the volunteer health center director, Jeanne Radow. In the fall of 1965, Dr. Jessie Laird Brodie became Executive Director and our first paid staff member.

In January of 1966 we moved to a renovated storefront at NE 6th and Broadway, and Jesalee Fosterling became Executive Director in 1968. From 1966 to 1969 we secured new funding for services to low income people from the Office of Economic Opportunity, Health Education and Welfare, Oregon State Health Division and United Way, increasing our base of support to include government contracts, including Title X funding. This additional support made it possible to expand programs and hire additional staff. During this time we established several satellite health centers in the Portland neighborhoods of Albina, Brooklyn and Columbia Villa; eventually these health centers closed or were turned over to the Multnomah Health Division.

In September 1971 we moved to larger, more efficient space at SE 12th and Morrison. We added pregnancy testing and colposcopy services, and the number of clients we served increased. We hired our first full-time Medical Director, Dr. Tom Britton. In 1978 PPCW became the first family planning health center in the country to install in-house computerized data for patient services. Because we were the first to use in-house computerized patient tracking, Federal Region X of the Department of Health and Human Services eventually contracted with PPCW to manage all Title X data until 2000.

The decade of the 1980s saw geographic expansion outside of the city of Portland. We opened health centers in Vancouver in 1981 and in Beaverton in 1984. The Portland health center and administrative offices moved in 1983 to 3231 SE 50th, a building given to us by Cascade Health Plan. Along with the purchase of the Vancouver site in 1984, these buildings provided PPCW with a sense of permanence in the community.

In March of 1990 we opened a new site in a shopping center in Gresham and purchased the Beaverton health center site, which we had been leasing. In July of 1992, we opened a new health center in Northeast Portland and in June of 1993 a health center in Salem. The Salem health center became the first PPCW center to offer abortion services. In October of 1998 we expanded services to Central Oregon, opening a new health center in Bend.

PPCW entered a time of unprecedented growth in 2000. As a result, more than twice as many low-income women, men and teens now rely on Planned Parenthood, accessing a wider range of reproductive and sexual health care options and medically accurate sex education and outreach.

From 2002-2005, PPCW opened four new health centers and completed significant renovations on the remaining five facilities. In October 2003, PPCW completed our most ambitious capital project to date, the Charla Richards-Kreitzberg Health Center in Salem, replacing our formerly leased. This center was PPCW's first from-the-ground-up construction project.

In November 2002, PPCW established a "virtual" Online Health Center with the launch of our Nurse Advice Line. Current services offered by the Online Health Center include information and appointment setting for all services at all health centers, Contraception Online and Emergency Contraception Online described below.

In December 2003, PPCW opened a second southwest Washington health center, the Salmon Creek Express Center. Express Centers are smaller satellites to our larger health centers, providing a limited range of basic services (contraceptive care, pregnancy testing, HIV and other sexually transmitted infection testing) right in the neighborhoods where they are needed.

In June 2004, PPCW moved the Gresham health center to a new, 50 percent larger location in a medical office building in the historic Old Town area. In October 2004, we opened our second express center, in Clackamas County, serving our patients southeast of Portland.

PPCW opened its tenth health center in McMinnville, OR in October 2007.

In January 2010, PPCW moved into its new Elizabeth Flanagan Regional Service Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in NE Portland. The new building serves as the administrative headquarters for the organization and is home to a new, upgraded NE Portland health center. The new NE Portland health center doubled the capacity of the previous space, allowing PPCW to serve more patients in NE Portland than ever before.

PPCW is committed to leading other Planned Parenthood affiliates and family planning providers in reproductive health care technology. We've demonstrated that commitment over the past several years by launching several new family planning services many of which had never been offered by Planned Parenthood affiliates before.




November 2000

Medication abortion

First Planned Parenthood affiliate to offer medication alternative to surgical abortion procedure.

November 2001

Appointments online

Patients request and schedule appointments at any of our health centers through our web site, www.ppcw.org.

November 2002

Nurse Advice Line

Toll-free number where anyone can discuss concerns with a nurse and receive referrals to health centers or other resources.

November 2002

Emergency Contraception online

Emergency Contraception available to Oregon and Washington women through our web site.

July 2003

Essure female sterilization

First Planned Parenthood affiliate to offer newly approved method of permanent female sterilization involving no general anesthesia or incision and a very short recovery period.

April 2004

Contraception Online

First Planned Parenthood affiliate, and first family planning provider, to offer qualifying patients hormonal contraception through our web site with a delayed or optional pelvic exam.

May 2004

Contraception refills online

Online refill requests called into pharmacy, left for pick-up at a health center, or sent to patient in the mail.

December 2003

HIV testing with immediate results

HIV testing with results in 20-40 minutes, addressing the common issue of patients' not returning for test results

April 2005

Abortion support center

Toll-free center for patients considering or scheduling an abortion, redirecting calls from health centers, increasing standardization of patient instructions and appointment setting

April 2006

Patient support center

Toll-free Abortion Support Center expands to provide information and appointments for all services at all PPCW health centers.

May 2006

Contraception online in Washington

Contraception Online available to women living in Washington state, through an unprecedented collaboration with four Washington Planned Parenthood affiliates.

January 2010

Regional Service Center

PPCW moved into its new Regional Service Center on MLK Blvd. in NE Portland, which serves as the new administrative headquarters for the organization and a new home for the NE Portland health center. The new NE Portland health center has twice the capacity, enabling PPCW to serve more patients in NE Portland than ever before.

January 2010 Adiana female sterilization PPCW begins offering Adiana, a minimally invasive,in-office, permanent birth control option for women.


PPCW 50 Year Timeline

PPCW proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. To commemorate this milestone, a team of local illustrators and designers created a 50th anniversary timeline poster set. Please take time to explore a presentation of the timeline

Art Direction provided by: Kristin Rogers Brown, Alex Dovelin, Caroline O'Grady

Illustrations provided by:  (listed in order of poster sequence)
Samantha Mash (www.samanthamash.com)
Kinoko (www.kinokogallery.com)
Mia Nolting (www.mianolting.com)
Alex Dovelin (xxdovelin.com)
Ebin Lee
Ona Pitschka
Kayla Mayer 
Caroline O'Grady (www.carolineogrady.com)
Ryan Bubnis (www.ryanbubnis.com)
Shaleigh Westphall

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