Our History

1967

President, Dr. Ludvig Eskildsen
Orpha Christianson and then Board of Directors President,Dr. Ludvig Eskildsen

1968

1968 - Orpha Christianson
Orpha Christianson

1953-1969

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Our Founder - Orpha Christianson

Consultation

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Mrs Hazel Casey, Marvin Chrstensen, & Mrs. Marguerite Daffors

Welcome Committee

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2003

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Plaque put on the new building purchased on 14th Avenue location in 2003.
  • 1947Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    First planning for Cowlitz County Guidance Association takes place with members of the Longview Junior Service League eager to support a community project to provide children's services. Friends Mrs. Orpha Christianson and Mrs. Martha Sue Natt are involved in the project.
  • 1948Round Table Discussion

    Round table community discussion held to determine need for further services.
  • 1949Executive Board of Directors Formed

    Longview Junior Service League holds the first Follies program (modern day Cabaret) with proceeds supporting the children's counseling project. Executive Board of Directors formed. Orpha Christianson elected first Board President.
  • 1950First office in the Cowlitz County Courthouse

    Orpha Christianson opens first office in the Cowlitz County Courthouse and begins providing services as the Cowlitz County Guidance Center.
  • LocationCowlitz County Courthouse

    207 North Fourth Avenue, Kelso
  • 1951Guidance Center Directors form the Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    Cowlitz County Guidance Center Directors form the Cowlitz County Guidance Association as a governing body. The agency continues doing business under the name Cowlitz County Guidance Center. Cowlitz County Guidance Center expands its services from children to treating all ages for mental health issues.
  • 1952Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    Cowlitz County Guidance Association writes its original constitution.
  • 1953Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    In July, Cowlitz County Guidance Association files original Articles of Incorporation with Secretary of State. Cowlitz County Guidance Association is incorporated on September 14, 1953. Orpha Christianson is named Executive Social Worker and Doctor George Mathews named Psychiatrist Director.
  • 1958Doctor Richard Berg named Psychiatrist Director.

    Doctor Richard Berg named Psychiatrist Director.
  • 1959 LocationCowlitz County Courthouse Annex

    380 North Third Avenue, Kelso
  • 1960Doctor Joseph H. Treleaven named Psychiatrist Director.

    Doctor Joseph H. Treleaven named Psychiatrist Director. In 1962, Doctor Treleaven leaves the agency to become the Director of Mental Health for the State of Oregon.
  • 1961 LocationCowlitz County Courthouse

    207 North Fourth Avenue, Kelso
  • 1964Mrs. Mary Edith Feusner, Board President, signs first contract.

    Mrs. Mary Edith Feusner, Board President, signs first contract for provision of Cowlitz County funding to support Clinic services.
  • 1965Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    Cowlitz County Guidance Association amends its Articles of Incorporation, adopting the business name, Lower Columbia Mental Health Center, thus establishing the agency as a community mental health center. The federal Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Center Construction Act of 1963 and the Community Mental Health Center Act Amendments of 1965 spur this move. Doctor Jeanne Boucher Leif named Psychiatrist Director.
  • LocationPaulsen Realty Building

    1333 Fourteenth Avenue, Longview
  • 1969Orpha Christianson retires after 22 years

    Orpha Christianson retires after 22 years of service to the organization, including 19 years as Executive Social Worker and 4 years as President of the Board of Directors. At this time, Mrs. Christianson's social work career encompasses 51 years of social work, including executive leadership positions in Cowlitz County and Washington State. Doctor Lenly Gearheart named Psychiatrist Director.
  • LocationSaint John Hospital, 1924 wing

    1614 East Kessler Boulevard, Longview
  • 1971Doctor William Conte named Psychiatrist Director.

    Doctor William Conte named Psychiatrist Director.
  • 1972Mr. Dave Nelson named Executive Director.

    Mr. Dave Nelson named Executive Director.
  • 1974Board of Directors

    Doctor Robert Mejo named Psychiatrist Director. Mrs. Kathleen Kjallin joins the Board of Directors, beginning the longest service record in agency history: eight years on the Board of Directors and sixteen years as Executive Director.
  • 1978Mr. David Sutherland named Executive Director.

    Mr. David Sutherland named Executive Director.
  • 1979Mr. Laszlo Dezsofi named Executive Director.

    Mr. Laszlo Dezsofi named Executive Director.
  • 1981 Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    Cowlitz County Guidance Association begins to examine the possibility of obtaining professional liability insurance.
  • 1982The Association begins providing Emergency Mental Health Services

    The Association begins providing Emergency Mental Health Services, including administration of involuntary inpatient treatment. This service evolves in to the modern day Crisis Response Services.
  • LocationSaint John's Auditorium

    811 17th Avenue, Longview
  • 1983Executive Directors

    In April, Doctor Marcia Hays is named acting Executive Director. In June, Doctor Gary Braden is named Executive Director.
  • 1984 Kathleen Kjallin named Interim Executive Director.

    Due to severe financial difficulties, the Board of Directors considers closing the agency. Kathleen Kjallin named Interim Executive Director. Mrs. Kjallin begins 16 years as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. For the prior eight years, Mrs. Kjallin was a member of the Association's Board of Directors, including a term as President. The Association's line staff adopts membership in the Office and Professional Employees International Union.
  • 1988Washington Legislature Establishes Regional Support Networks

    Washington Legislature establishes Regional Support Networks to bring mental health service provision under the control of local government. Cowlitz and Clark Counties combine to form the Southwest Regional Support Network. Within a few years, the Counties would go their separate ways and each operate their own Regional Support Network.
  • LocationSaint John's Auditorium

    600 Broadway, Longview
  • 1994The Association's union membership votes to strike.

    The Association's union membership votes to strike. The strike was soon resolved, yet the effect on staff morale was long lasting.
  • 1996Cowlitz County Guidance Association

    Cowlitz County Guidance Association purchases its first real estate.
  • LocationLower Columbia Mental Health Center

    1538 Eleventh Avenue, Longview
  • 1998The Association starts Riverview Psychiatric and Counseling Service

    The Association starts Riverview Psychiatric and Counseling Service, a program aimed at diversifying funding by providing private services and employee assistance plans. The Southwest Regional Support Network issues a request for proposal, the results of which would be a split of Cowlitz County's mental health services between Lower Columbia Mental Health Center, and a new program, Peace Health's Center for Behavioral Solutions.
  • LocationRiverview Psychiatric and Counseling

    1801 First Avenue, Longview Note: additional location to existing site
  • 2000Mr. Eric Yakovich is named Chief Executive Officer.

    Mr. Eric Yakovich is named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Yakovich served the previous seven years as the Association's Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer.
  • 2001 LocationLower Columbia Mental Health Center

    1114 Broadway Street, Longview Note: additional location to two existing sites
  • 2003The Association celebrates its 50th Anniversary

    The Association celebrates its 50th Anniversary as a corporation. The Association purchases a 17,000 square foot complex and consolidates all its programs at the new location, 921 Fourteenth Avenue, in Longview. In relation, the Association sells it property located at 1538 Eleventh Avenue, Longview, and vacates its two other leased locations.
  • 2015Columbia Wellness.

    The Association changes to one name under Columbia Wellness.
  • LocationColumbia Wellness

    921 Fourteenth Avenue, Longview, WA 98632
  • 2015David McClay becomes Chief Executive Officer

    David McClay who was formerly the Chief Financial Officer of the agency stepped in as interim CEO for Eric Yakovich and in August of 2015 he became the official CEO of the company.
  • LocationGrays Harbor Crisis

    On May 1st, 2016 Columbia Wellness took over Crisis Response Services in Grays Harbor County at 615 8th St Hoquiam, WA 98550.