Celebrating a Long History of Health and Wellness

While Adventist Health stays abreast of the newest medical research and technology, our investment in Portland, Oregon, goes far back history.


Seventh-day Adventists began to move to Oregon in the late 1860s. Like many Americans, they held strong convictions about health. The Battle Creek Sanitarium had been established in Michigan by the church, and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Many hoped a similar sanitarium could be built in the West.

Lewis Belknap, MD, a student of Dr. Kellogg, had such a dream. Dr. Belknap arrived in Portland in 1893 penniless, having been robbed of all his possessions while waiting on a dock in San Francisco.

But he held tight to his dream. A local family loaned him the first month's rent for an eight-room house in which to start a six-patient practice.

Within a couple years, the fledgling sanitarium outgrew the small quarters. By 1895, Portland Sanitarium had relocated to the Reed Mansion — rented from the Simeon Reed family, whose estate founded Reed College. The large ornate house provided room for 20 patients plus a surgical ward, office, kitchen and dining room.


Dr. Belknap moved to San Jose, California, in 1896 to start another sanitarium. With this departure, the Seventh-day Adventist Church took full charge of the Portland Sanitarium. By 1897, a two-year nurses' training program and a health food company were added.

The hospital was named Portland Adventist Sanitarium by 1922 and moved into a modern building at SE 60th and Belmont on Mount Tabor. Expansions continued at this site over the years, and the sanitarium became Portland Adventist Hospital in 1964.

As the hospital continued to grow, a new facility was again needed. This move was to today’s site, just east of I-205. The new hospital was completed in 1977 (a few years before I-205 was finished) and was named Portland Adventist Medical Center. It was the first hospital in Portland to have all private rooms.

Our history of growth continues

Adventist Health Portland is now the centerpiece of a comprehensive health system that includes a modern medical center, a broad range of health programs and classes, and dozens of primary, urgent and specialty care clinics.

We are affiliated with OHSU, the only academic medical center in Oregon, to provide increased access to care for patients through Oregon. OHSU Health provides patient care across the Portland metropolitan area, including advanced specialty care and increased integration between systems.

Although many things have changed during a century of providing health care to our community, our historical commitment to our mission of caring for the whole person remains unwavering.