Northwest Human Services began with the establishment of the Crisis & Information Hotline. The Hotline began as a temporary information line for those planning to attend the Vortex concert, organized by Governor Tom McCall in 1970 as a response to a planned Vietnam war protest. When volunteers answering the line realized that the majority of calls were from local citizens who just wanted to talk to someone, the "Hotline" was formally established as a 24/7 crisis line serving the local community.
The following year in the summer of 1971, two UCLA medical students arrived on the scene as part of an internship with Marion County Health Department. Appalled by the lack of health care services available to the low-income and homeless, the students, Phil Yule and Paul Kaplan, requested the assistance of the health department in opening a clinic to serve disadvantaged populations. With the department’s support and assistance The Cry of Love Free Clinic was opened, named after a popular Jimi Hendrix album of the day.
In 1979, The Cry of Love Free Clinic became the West Bank Health
Network, and later the West Salem Clinic, as it is currently known. In 1982 the agency as a whole took on the name 'Northwest Human Services' in an effort to move with the times and away from its counter-culture
image - though the original mission to serve underprivileged citizens
with respect and compassion remained, and remains, as strong as ever.
With its updated image, Northwest Human Services strengthened
its ties with the social services community while adding important new
programs to its array of services. These included:
- 1982 - The HOST Youth & Family Program opens to provide shelter
and supportive services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth
24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. The program's ultimate goal is to reunify families through family mediation, counseling, and parenting skills training services.
- 1987 – The Homeless Outreach & Advocacy Project (HOAP) opens to address the needs of homeless, chronically mentally ill adults. HOAP's ultimate goal is to help clients move off the streets into stable, supportive housing and to become psychiatrically stable through good medication management and support services.
- 1993 – The Community Voicemail Program is implemented under the management of the Crisis & Information Hotline. The program provides temporary voicemail boxes for those seeking jobs, housing, or needing to stay in touch with medical providers or family members.
- 2000 – The West Salem Dental Clinic opens providing comprehensive dental services to all ages.
- 2002 – Total Health
Community Clinic opens in Monmouth to meet the growing
need for affordable health care in Polk County. Offering a full
range of primary care services, the clinic recorded more than
10,000 patient visits during its first year of operation.
- 2011 - The Street Outreach Program opens as part of the HOST Youth & Family Program and provides outreach, drop-in center, and emergency shelter services to homeless street youth.
Northwest Human Services has had a long and productive history serving the residents of Marion, Polk, and surrounding counties. For more information, contact Lynn Martin at (503) 588-5828.