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Vol. 18, No. 7 • Mailed monthly to over 12, 400 homes in the Gateway & Parkrose Communities Free • NOVEMBER 2002
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Happy 40th birthday to Mid-Multnomah county’s Woodland Park Hospital

Gateway hospital acknowledges forty years of community healthcare

Kathi Brennan

On May 17, 1968, Woodland Park Hospital Assistant Administrator Frances Beuker presents a congratulatory bouquet to Delores Simmons and her son, Jeff Dennis Simmons. The Simmons family were the first patients of the (then) recently completed Obstetrics Unit.
In June 1968, Woodland Park Hospital co-owner and founder Lester F. Asbahr speaks at a hospital
Forty years ago, in November, 1962 we were listening to “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, watching the Cartwright boys ride across our television screen, observing Andy Warhol create “Pop Art” and witnessing the tenure of the youngest president ever elected.

While we were doing all this, three Portland area businessmen, Lester F. Asbahr, Russell M. Helterline and David H. Fertig decided that the unincorporated part of Mid-Multnomah County between the Portland and Gresham city limits would benefit greatly from a quality health care facility. On November 7, Woodland Park Hospital opened its doors to serve the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods.

Under the watchful eye and helping hands of the first hospital administrator, A. E. “Gene” Brim, Woodland Park received full accreditation in 1967 from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. This is a voluntary program in which the hospital whose patient care, medical staff organization and over-all management is thought to be superior may apply for a field survey. Through this process, local community hospitals may demonstrate to their service areas that the care rendered to patients is progressive and of high quality. Woodland Park certainly did that.

So much has happened since those doors first opened.

We bought our first homes (three bedroom ranch style for about $14,325).

We paid 31 cents for a gallon of gasoline, and through it all, Woodland Park has stood quietly, like a sentry on watch, with its doors open wide. Woodland Park has, without fail, treated everything from a scratched knee and stitches on your five-year-old’s chin, to lovingly care for grandpa who underwent open-heart surgery after a frightening heart attack.

Throughout these 40 years, as with each of us, time has created changes. We grow, we learn, we adapt and we evolve. Woodland Park has done all of this and more. They’ve kept eyes and hearts open to make sure they are doing all that they can to not only meet, but to exceed the needs of it’s community.

While Woodland Park Hospital is now owned by Symphony Healthcare based in Nashville Tenn. the hospitals local, hands-on leader is Chief Executive Officer Richard Alley.

According to Alley, Woodland Park has continued to evolve not only with the changing times, but also with the demographics of the Mid-county community they serve. Alley wants to emphasize that even though Woodland Park has a world-class, excellent plastic surgery department, they are so much more.

Although Woodland Park Hospital no longer has an obstetrics department, or delivers babies, except maybe for an occasional emergency arrival, Alley wants everyone to know that Woodland Park is a “full-service, acute care hospital facility, focusing on expanding our services.” Alley continued, “we have Intensive Care, Cardiology services, Orthopedics and Surgical Units along with a state-of-the-art Adult Behavioral Health Unit, including geriatric behavioral health services.” Currently, Woodland Park is developing a program for the treatment and education of heart disease in women. Support groups hold meetings at the hospital such as the ‘55-Alive’ program.


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