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History of Shriners Children's Portland

Established: January 1924

Shriners Children's Portland opened its doors in January of 1924, the fifth Shriners Children’s location at 8200 NE Sandy Boulevard in Portland. Specialized pediatric orthopedic care was provided at that location until 1983, when the facility moved across the Willamette River to Marquam Hill, where Shriners Children's Portland is located today.

Since opening its doors, the hospital has been remodeled and undergone a major expansion. It now has three operating rooms, outpatient and inpatient units, research, Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetic Services — Northwest (POPS), a robust rehabilitation department and more. Shriners Children’s Portland provides a full spectrum of pediatric orthopedic care to children up to age 18.

Comprehensive Nature of Care

Care provided at Shriners Children’s Portland for children with orthopedic needs is unique, and a huge benefit to patients and their families.

A team of specialists is available to each child. Surgical services has advanced technology like the O-arm, Pentero microscope, and an incredibly skilled surgical team.

The rehabilitation department has physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and a recreation therapist, all of whom can consult with the child’s orthopedic surgeon for best outcomes.

The POPS team makes customized orthotics and prosthetics in-house for patients. From scoliosis braces, to high-impact running blades, to everyday foot orthotics, the team devotes their skills to helping children be as active and mobile as possible.

Basic research takes place in our laboratory and focuses on investigating issues around musculoskeletal conditions, such as looking for causes and solutions while making discoveries. Clinical research focuses on gathering data from patients who participate in studies.

What follows is a record of some of the more significant events in the history of Shriner’s Children’s Portland.

Location Highlights

1921: Shriners International fraternity announced plans for a hospital for disabled children in Portland, Oregon.

1922: Groundbreaking ceremony is held June 9, 1922, and construction would finish seven months later.

1924: Shriners Children's Portland opens at Sandy Boulevard and NW 82nd in Portland.

1925: Daughters of the Nile, Nydia temple #4 form a sewing group to help meet the needs of Shriners Children’s Portland. The “sewing ladies” still support the hospital today.

1952: Hosted by Oregon Shriner Centers, Al Kader and Hillah, all-star high school football players across the state of Oregon are recruited for the Oregon East-West Shrine Game. Volunteers contributed their time and effort to benefit Shriners Children’s Portland.

1954: Shriners from Al Kader, El Korah, Hillah, and Afifi Shriners centers form the Food Caravan and partner with food providers to bring food and cash donations to Shriners Children’s Portland.

1978: An announcement is made that the hospital will move from the northeast Portland location to Marquam Hill in Southwest Portland, next to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), to better serve its patients.

1980: Construction on the new 40-bed facility begins.

1983: The new facility officially opens. A research center is added with a team of researchers and new technical equipment.

1991: Research team finds that mutations in the Fibrilin-1 gene cause Marfan syndrome. As a result of this work, there is now a diagnostic test for Marfan syndrome.

1992: Michael Sussman, M.D. joins the Portland Shriners hospital team as chief of staff. He is instrumental in forming the clinical research department. He also revolutionized the patient-care model at the Portland Shriners hospital by instituting a team approach to the management of children with musculoskeletal disorders.

1993: Continuity of care is instituted. Patients are seen by the same doctor from pre-op, surgery, to post-op.

1996: Research department study finds a mutation in a small cartilage protein in the dwarfing disorder, pseudoachondroplasia.

2010: A new addition allowing more space for outpatient care opens. Shriners Children’s Portland serves children with orthopedic conditions and who need cleft lip and palate care from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia. The 29-bed hospital has surgery suites, outpatient care, a motion analysis center, orthotic and prosthetic services, rehabilitation services, living areas for family members of patients, a pharmacy, library and classroom space.

2014: The Gates Foundation gives the Portland Research Center a grant of approximately $1 million.

2017: The first peer-reviewed article about a degradation fragment of Collagen X (CXM) as a biomarker for bone growth velocity is published by a group of researchers working under Bill Horton, M.D., director of the Portland Research Center.

2020: Michael Sussman, M.D., receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM).

2021: Shriners Children's Medford Clinic opens.

2023: Hans Peter Bächinger, an Investigator in the Portland Research Center, is named the winner of the Senior Investigator Award from the American Society of Matrix Biology (ASMB).

Michelle Welborn, M.D. is awarded the Diane Ruth Abramson Shriners Children’s endowed Professorship to continue her clinical research on treatment of scoliosis with the help of the CXM Biomarker.

2024: Shriners Children’s Portland celebrates 100 years of providing specialized care to children in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, including internationally. The official date of the centennial is January 15, 2024.

specialty pediatric care at shriners children's portland

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