The Portland Clinic: A Century of Delivering Health Care to the Community

Open-heart surgery, St. Vincent Hospital. From left to right: Elaine Jenks, Leona Fisher, McCord, Albert Starr, LeRoy Lamoreau, visitor, Jim Wood, Nancy Davis. Providence Archives, Seattle, Washington.

April 23 – October 10, 2021

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Location:
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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The Portland Clinic: A Century of Delivering Health Care to the Community celebrates the clinic’s first century as it continues to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. The Portland Clinic, founded June 1, 1921, is Oregon’s oldest, private multi-specialty medical group in practice. The clinic’s longevity is due in part to the adaptability of its staff; they have seen many changes over one hundred years, including changes in provider and patient demographics, expansion of specialties and clinic locations, the introduction of health insurance policies, and, recently, the inclusion of virtual medical care. All the while, the staff have adhered to the principles outlined by The Portland Clinic’s founders — provide excellent patient care through cooperative medicine in a medical group owned by physicians.

From Solo Practices to Medical Groups

In Portland during the early twentieth century, most physicians were generalists who ran solo practices and typically saw patients in their homes or in hospitals. The rise of multi-specialty medical groups moved health care to private clinics, where patients could see a range of specialists. In 1910, internist Noble Wiley Jones, MD, approached surgeon Robert Coffey, MD, and internist Charles Sears, MD, about starting such a group. They agreed and invited surgeon Thomas Joyce, MD. The group established a practice in 1913, but their work was paused when Drs. Jones, Joyce, and Sears joined the military during World War I.

Jones, Joyce, Kistner, Selling, and McCool

While the first physicians’ group dissolved after the war, Jones and Joyce continued to work together to create a multi-specialty medical group. They invited internist and neurologist Laurence Selling, MD, to join their practice. He agreed to join if his colleague Frank Kistner, MD, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), could join as well. Kistner accepted the invitation on the condition that Joseph McCool, MD, an ophthalmologist who shared offices with him, could join the group. The five physicians began their practice on June 1, 1921. McCool withdrew from the practice a year later.

The Portland Clinic

For the first few years, the clinic had many names. Joyce’s patients began referring to it simply as the Joyce Clinic. Others referred to it as the Selling Clinic, the Jones Clinic, or the Kistner Clinic, depending on which doctor provided their care. The group became The Portland Clinic in 1928.

The founders originally maintained separate offices, but in 1923, they moved into a suite in the Stevens Building. The practice quickly outgrew that space and in 1926 moved into the newly built Mayer Building. There the clinic expanded, bringing in new providers and services. The clinic would occupy the top two floors for the next twenty years.

In this photograph of The Portland Clinic’s four founders, standing from left to right, are Noble Wiley Jones, MD; Thomas Joyce, MD; Laurence Selling, MD; and sitting, Frank Kistner, MD. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
In this photograph of The Portland Clinic’s four founders, standing from left to right, are Noble Wiley Jones, MD; Thomas Joyce, MD; Laurence Selling, MD; and sitting, Frank Kistner, MD. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
The Stevens Building, pictured here in 1935, was The Portland Clinic’s first downtown office location. OHS Research Library, bb011298
The Stevens Building, pictured here in 1935, was The Portland Clinic’s first downtown office location. OHS Research Library, bb011298
The Mayer Building, pictured here in the 1930s, was The Portland Clinic’s second downtown location. OHS Research Library, 371N5381
The Mayer Building, pictured here in the 1930s, was The Portland Clinic’s second downtown location. OHS Research Library, 371N5381
The Roseland Hotel Building was The Portland Clinic’s third downtown office building. It is pictured here in 1949. Courtesy of the Portland Clinic
The Roseland Hotel Building was The Portland Clinic’s third downtown office building. It is pictured here in 1949. Courtesy of the Portland Clinic
Many notable physicians and surgeons have worked for the clinic, such as Joseph Nadal, MD,  pictured performing surgery at Multnomah County Hospital in 1948. Courtesy of OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
Many notable physicians and surgeons have worked for the clinic, such as Joseph Nadal, MD, pictured performing surgery at Multnomah County Hospital in 1948. Courtesy of OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
This 1995 ad titled “Growing Strong” welcomes patients to The Portland Clinic’s new Sylvan office. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
This 1995 ad titled “Growing Strong” welcomes patients to The Portland Clinic’s new Sylvan office. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
One of The Portland Clinic founders, Laurence Selling, MD, is pictured here in 1960 with University of Oregon Medical School students. Courtesy of OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
One of The Portland Clinic founders, Laurence Selling, MD, is pictured here in 1960 with University of Oregon Medical School students. Courtesy of OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
Tara Heeney, DO, of The Portland Clinic is pictured here with a patient. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
Tara Heeney, DO, of The Portland Clinic is pictured here with a patient. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
The Portland Clinic Foundation organized a goods drive for the Children's Book Bank in 2018. Pictured are Marvin Kaiser, Susan Bitz, Alyssa McLean, and foundation executive director Kris Anderson. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic Foundation.
The Portland Clinic Foundation organized a goods drive for the Children's Book Bank in 2018. Pictured are Marvin Kaiser, Susan Bitz, Alyssa McLean, and foundation executive director Kris Anderson. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic Foundation.
The Portland Clinic Northeast office staff during COVID. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic
The Portland Clinic Northeast office staff during COVID. Courtesy of The Portland Clinic

Presented by

Thanks to The Portland Clinic Sponsors and Community Supporters

In commemoration of their 100th anniversary, The Portland Clinic would like to thank the following sponsors and community supporters for their major gifts to The Portland Clinic Foundation in honor of this landmark occasion: Regence; RWN Foundation; Dick and Liz Clark; Legacy Health; Northwest Permanente, P.C., Physicians and Surgeons; The Partners Group; Schommer & Sons Construction; and Stoel Rives, LLP.