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White Bird Seeks Member for Board of Directors

White Bird Clinic is looking for motivated individuals to join their Board of Directors.  It is our hope these individuals are representative of our community and/or clients. We are committed to recruiting members of the BIPOC community to expand the voices at our table.

Applicants could have a strong background in finance, communications, community outreach, fundraising, and/or professional development. Applicants could also have ties to Medical, Dental, and Substance Abuse Treatment as those are areas that White Bird specializes in. Applicants could have ties to housing issues in this community. In addition, applicants should be familiar with non-profit governance.

It is our hope that applicants are enthusiastic and passionate to work in a consensus-based environment and approaching challenging conversations with a sense of joy.

Apply Now

Citing CAHOOTS as a Model for Reform

Senator Ron Wyden will meet with White Bird CAHOOTS staff at CAHOOTS headquarters at 970 W 7th Ave in Eugene to discuss how this groundbreaking program can be a model for a national policing reform package and how Congress can best support the work. “The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 takes a vital first step toward accountability, and I am all in with pressing forward to achieve this legislation’s urgently needed re-focus of resources and policies,” said Sen. Wyden. Sen. Wyden co-sponsored the legislation, which would hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and communities in Oregon and nationwide.

31 years ago White Bird Clinic launched CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) as a community policing initiative to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. CAHOOTS offers compassionate, effective, timely care while diverting a considerable portion of the public safety workload, conserving police and fire department capacity. In 2019, CAHOOTS handled 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s calls. In 2017, police officers nationally spent 21% of their time responding to or transporting people with mental illness.

Dispatching appropriate responders for each unique situation is essential to ensuring the best outcome. CAHOOTS focuses exclusively on meeting the medical and mental health needs of the community, making it more appropriate, economical, and effective than traditional models involving agencies with a much larger scope of responsibility.

Police officers and fire fighters receive training in a broad set of skills, making their deployment to non-emergent situations unnecessarily costly. The CAHOOTS model also ensures that health and behavioral health care are integrated from the onset of intervention and treatment, adding to the efficacy and economy of the model.

White Bird’s CAHOOTS program has attracted notice from international news media as communities across the nation and around the world confront the need to reimagine public safety to ensure that it equitably serves human beings of all races and ethnicities.

CAHOOTS is providing strategic guidance and training to assist communities in developing innovative public safety systems that align with their values.

In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners came together to provide crisis services and free medical care for counter-culture youth in Eugene, OR. Having grown continuously since then, today White Bird Clinic has 10 programs, 220 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers each year.

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White Bird

Healing House: The Colorful History of White Bird Clinic 

‘Healing House” is an excerpt from “FRONTLINE,” a  40,000-word original work of creative nonfiction on White Bird Clinic’s crisis intervention team, published in 1994 by Mark H. Massé, who received his master’s degree with honors from the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) at the University of Oregon in 1994. After serving on the SOJC faculty, he spent 22 years in the Department of Journalism at Ball State University, retiring in 2018 as professor emeritus.

Copyright (1994) by Mark H. Massé. All rights reserved.

“HEALING HOUSE”341 E 12th Ave

Twenty-some years ago, White Bird Clinic was known as a glorified crash pad for teenagers who were hallucinating on psychedelic drugs. The clinic, which was founded as a counterculture collective in 1970, was viewed with suspicion and concern by the Eugene establishment. People criticized its perceived. “overly permissive attitude” toward drug use. Some said White Bird was harboring criminals and runaways.

The police were angry about the clinic’s confidentiality agreements with clients whom the cops saw as drug-dealing lowlifes. A typical front-desk encounter at White Bird would go something like this:

“You  can’t or won’t tell me if this guy hangs out here?” the police officer asks the long-haired receptionist. “Both,” the White Birder replies, smugly.

Today, White Bird Clinic’s confrontational image has mellowed, but it has retained its collective/communal organizational structure and its identity as a grass-roots human services and community advocacy organization. White Bird’s mission: to serve the people nobody else wants to deal with, the folks who fall between the cracks. Each year, the clinic responds to the medical, mental health, and social service needs of thousands of low-income, alienated, abandoned, and disenfranchised clients in Lane County.

Through the decades, the once-controversial clinic has transformed itself, becoming more establishment oriented than anyone could have imagined back in the 1970s. White Bird Clinic now has a million-dollar annual operating budget and is involved in cooperative programs with Sacred Heart Hospital, Lane, County Mental Health Services, and the Eugene Police Department, plus many other public- and private-sector organizations. The clinic’s comprehensive operations include medical and dental services, 24-hour crisis intervention, mental health screening and evaluation programs, AIDS testing, drug treatment services, and extensive information and referral services.

parked cahoots vanOne innovative cooperative venture is C.A.H.O.O.T.S. (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), a result of a 1989 partnership between White Bird Clinic and Eugene’s public safety system. Funded by the city of Eugene, the C.A.H.O.O.T.S. program uses a van that is radio-dispatched through the 911 system. A two-person team—a White Bird crisis worker and a trained medic—responds to calls dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, emotional crises, and family disputes that pose a small risk of violence.

Over the years, White Bird Clinic’s clientele has also changed, becoming more representative of the mainstream community. The clinic’s crisis intervention team frequently handles calls from area residents of all ages who have questions about personal or family relationships, as well as more serious concerns such as suicide prevention, domestic abuse, or chemical dependency issues. Case in point: Recently, an 11-year-old girl from a middle-class suburb, called the clinic because her parents were going through a divorce, but they weren’t including their daughter in any discussions. The girl was referred to White Bird by a telephone operator. She later talked with a White Bird counselor about what was happening to her and her family.

Bob Dritz“Maybe we’re more reputable today than we think we are,” says Bob Dritz, White Bird Clinic’s coordinator, as he reflects on the clinic’s rocky-road history over the last 25 years. It is as if White Bird Clinic has a Protean identity—it continues to evolve and reinvent itself in response to changes in the outside world. Dritz relishes his role as resident historian of White Bird Clinic.

With his mop of black hair, tinted aviator-style glasses, and wide-brimmed straw hat, his rag-tag wardrobe, and laid-back crash-pad drawl, Dritz looks and sounds more like a zoned-out, middle-aged hipster than a keen-minded financial whiz who helped guide the clinic down the path to respectability. At the start of each season’s new-volunteer orientation session at White Bird, 20 individuals, who have already been screened by a clinic trainer, sit on the floor in the community room and await their introduction to the organization. Clinic coordinator Dritz sits among the newcomers like a wise tribal chief and recites the oft-told tale of White Bird Clinic.

The history of the clinic dates back to the late 1960s when the drug problem officially hit Eugene, Oregon. Disenchanted, angry, and rebellious youths roamed the streets of this bucolic city nestled in the heart of the lush Willamette Valley in western Oregon. These “hippies,” who had rejected authority and conventional lifestyles, were turning on and tuning in to a new consciousness. They were experimenting with hallucinogens, amphetamines, barbiturates, and just about any other drug they could get their hands on. LSD—”acid”—was the drug of choice for this psychedelic generation who were “tripping” to pursue psychic exploration, achieve satori (enlightenment), or get their kicks on mind-bending, reality-twisting roller-coaster rides.

The problem was that the ticket to nirvana often came at a high price. Young drug users were overdosing, taking bad trips (“bummers”) and “freaking out.” Having severed their ties with straight society, many of the drug-taking youth were without food, shelter, or proper medical care.

Person in CrisisIn the late sixties, the medical establishment in Eugene and everywhere else didn’t know how to deal with the drug problem. The emergency room doctors were, in the words of one historical account, “flying by the seat of their pants” when treating patients on bad acid trips, injecting them with high doses of phenothiazine tranquilizers, usually 50 mg of Thorazine. Thorazine was seen as a means of normalizing and sedating patients with psychotic or schizophrenic behavior, which is how the ER doctors viewed drug overdoses. The problem was that phenothiazines packed some pretty heavy side effects. A disoriented teenager on a bad trip who came into an emergency room could very well leave in worse shape than when he or she arrived—shot full of Thorazine and now suffering from dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, or tremors.

Out of the purple haze that had descended on Eugene, stepped two 25-year-old doctoral students in psychology from the University of Oregon. Dennis Ekanger and Frank Lemons looked like characters from the movie “M.A.S.H:” Here’s Ekanger—a Radar O’Reilly, with more hair. There’s Lemons, a Hawkeye Pierce/Donald Sutherland stand-in, with more hair and a beard, of course.

Ekanger knew firsthand about the problems of drug abuse from his days as a resident hall counselor at the University of Oregon and in his work as a juvenile counselor for the county. The rap on the street was that the chain-smoking, deep-voiced Ekanger was an empathetic guy who could help you cool down and sort things out. Ekanger was living in an old Victorian-style house on 20th Avenue and Lincoln in Eugene’s “student ghetto.” His reputation grew to the point where students and drifters, Vietnam vets and runaways would be hanging out on his doorstep every day wanting to rap about their mixed-up lives.

Like Dennis Ekanger, Frank Lemon had a following. For months, he had been counseling young people in crisis. Lemons’ reputation was enhanced by his counterculture connections. He had many friends living in a large commune on a 200-plus acre farm outside of town. The members of the commune would later form the core group of White Bird’s supervisors and full-time volunteers in the clinic’s early years.

In 1969, Ekanger and Lemons enlisted the support of Dr. Leonard Jacobson, a successful and respected surgeon and past president of the county’s medical society. Dr. Jacobson had been outspoken about the need for new approaches to the drug crisis. He provided the legitimacy and the established community contacts that Ekanger and Lemons lacked.

The three men conceived of a psycho-social-medical approach (influenced by such operations as the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco) and advanced the idea of a community free clinic and counseling/drug education center, a sanctuary to deal with people’s drug-related problems. More than 100 community leaders were involved in the crafting of the proposal for a clinic to be known officially as White Bird Sociomedical Aid Station, Inc. White Bird

Ekanger and Lemons each put up $250 to incorporate the clinic and organized a board of directors. The two served as the clinic’s co-directors. After securing grants from the city ($4,800) and state ($7,500), plus community donations, White Bird Clinic started operating on February 22, 1970, in a rented house at 837 Lincoln Street. Furniture was donated by local churches. Area hospitals contributed medical equipment and supplies. In the first few weeks, more than 150 doctors and nurses, plus dozens of attorneys, social workers, and educators donated their time and services to get the clinic up and running. After only one month, the clinic was being used as a field site for graduate students in counseling. Soon, more than 100 -university students were clinic volunteers.

In October 1971, the clinic purchased adjacent houses at 323 and 341 E. 12th Avenue for $67,500. The “annex” at 323 E. 12th housed the medical clinic and drug detox and drug education services.  The clinic’s main building at 341 E. 12th was headquarters for crisis intervention, counseling, legal services, and an expanding list of client advocacy and referral programs.

Main Clinic

The house at 341 E. 12th Avenue had once been the residence of a prominent physician who was one of the founders of the Eugene  Clinic. The house was built for $4,000 in 1917 according to the specifications of Dr. Philip Bartle, a specialist in internal medicine who ran his medical practice on the main floor of the 3,500-square-foot, two-story home where he lived with his -wife and two children.

According to The History of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, published in 1927, Philip Bartle was a perfectionist, “a man among men, possessing a strong and forceful personality.” Bartle was committed to working on behalf of the public welfare for the “betterment of the community along all legitimate lines.” In the 1920s, he helped establish the Eugene Hospital and Clinic, at the time one of only two standardized hospitals in Oregon outside of Portland.

Bartle’s home was designed in the popular craftsman style of his day. This elaborate “bungalow-type” of architecture featured large porches with truncated pillars or columns, low-pitched gable-styled roofs with prominent gabled dormers, and multi-paned windows of varying shapes and sizes. The front room had extensive wood detailing—columns, beams, paneling, and window casements. Two maple window seats flanked the first-floor mantel and fireplace.

Outside, near the top of the front of the house was a decorative swastika. It was removed during World War II. By then, Dr. Bartle had moved, and the house was sold to his son, William and his wife, Mildred. During the late 1930s, several rooms were rented to University of Oregon students, a practice that continued until 1971 when Mildred Bartle sold the house to White Bird Clinic.

The clinic’s operations in the 1970s were a lot shakier than the sturdy structure in which they were housed. By 1972, both Dennis Ekanger and Frank Lemons had resigned. Several White Birders were arrested that year on drug charges; they were later acquitted. In October 1972, the clinic’s medical area was temporarily closed because of lack of supplies, lack of money, and lack of support from the Eugene medical community. The county’s medical society came forward to assist the clinic but told White Bird that it had to clean up its act, raise its standards, and be willing to accept outside advice on all medical matters.

Through all the clinic’s hassles in-the early years, a core of dedicated White Birders served the cause. They staffed the clinic’s drug detox program, continued round-the-clock crisis intervention services, and ran an ambitious drug education program in the community—giving frank talks to area schools, church groups, and civic organizations. They published a “Drug Education Primer,” which was distributed throughout Eugene, and they staged street “guerrilla” theater productions to raise community awareness and show the establishment where the cracks in the medical and mental health systems were.

Bob loved to cruise. Here he arrives on his bike at White Bird with a gift! circa 1980White Bird’s topsy-turvy operations continued until the late 1970s. A soft-spoken transplanted New Yorker named Bob Dritz arrived in 1978. He became the clinic’s fiscal officer and ushered in a period of maturity and relative calm. In another life, Dritz could have been a CEO of a start-up company and made a small fortune.

But he used his expertise in fiscal planning and budget management to secure the future of White Bird, not make himself rich. like so many others of his generation, Dritz rejected conventional middle-class values and chose a life of community service and social activism. For his work on behalf of the clinic, Dritz gained near-legendary status. He was proclaimed the “financial savior” of the White Bird Clinic.

In July 1982, Bob Dritz assumed the role of clinic coordinator. At this point, the clinic was being recognized as a legitimate and vital link in the county’s health care system. It had an established crisis counselor training program (the Willamette School of Human Services) licensed by the state of Oregon. The clinic also had a diversified base of funding from local, county, state, and federal grants. By the end of the decade, Dritz would oversee a major expansion and diversification of clinic services.

Today, Bob Dritz talks about how the clinic continues to surprise its critics and leverage its clout as an alternative human service agency.

“We’re willing to take on assignments that no other organization wants or has the ability to perform,” Dritz says, sitting in his office on the second floor of the house with the prominent blue, white and gold bird-in-flight sign hanging above its wide front porch. Throughout its colorful history, the distinctive residence at 341 E. 12th Avenue has undergone many changes and transformations. But after 77 years, it remains a  healing house for people in need in Lane County.

Massé has authored three books of literary journalism (“Vietnam Warrior Voices,” “Trauma Journalism” and “Inspired to Serve.”) He is also a novelist, whose latest work, “Honor House,” will be published on Amazon.com in summer 2020. For more information, visit: http://www.markmasse.com

Dental Office

White Bird Dental Clinic Grand Opening Celebration!

EUGENE, OREGON – The grand opening of White Bird’s expanded dental clinic will be January 23rd from 4pm to 6pm. The community is invited to tour the new facility at 1415 Pearl St. and celebrate with us.

Please join us to celebrate the opening of our state-of-the-art clinic. Take a tour, have a bite to eat, and meet our team.

Too many unhoused and low-income community members need dental care that they cannot access. White Bird Dental has responded by building a larger clinic that increases capacity by over seventy percent and accommodates twelve dental chairs. The new facility will make it easier for community members suffering from dental pain to get immediate, walk-in access to a dentist, and also allow White Bird to serve more elderly patients, children, and families.

White Bird has invested $2.5M to develop a state-of-the-art facility that provides acute and preventative oral health care to our community’s most vulnerable residents. The clinic’s design features the latest innovations in modern dentistry in a bright, airy space. The facility lets patients know that they are valued members of the community who deserve excellence in health care.

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Cold Weather is Here

White Bird’s Stay Warm Drive Activates

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EUGENE, OREGON – With the onset of cold weather, our most vulnerable community members who are living outdoors face freezing winter conditions. White Bird Clinic is sending out a call for any and all winter gear, particularly socks, warm gloves, blankets and sleeping bags.

For those who spend most of their time outdoors, winter in Eugene can be dangerous, as wet, cold weather makes it hard to stay healthy. Your donation of winter gear makes a difference for people who don’t have a warm and dry place to live. White Bird asks you to partner with us to support under-resourced community members and strengthen our shared culture of caring for one another.

Please bring donations to our main clinic building at 341 E 12th Ave. in Eugene:

  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Coats/Jackets/Sweaters
  • Warm pants
  • Socks/Gloves/Scarves
  • Rain gear
  • Tarps

We’re happy to pick up larger donations. Please call 541-342-8255.

White Bird’s Front Room program offers a warm and dry space. Open from 8am-10pm daily and located at 341 E 12th St. in Eugene, we welcome the community to come in from the cold.


In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners came together to provide crisis services and free medical care for counter-culture youth in Eugene, OR. Having grown continuously since then, today White Bird Clinic has 10 programs, 220 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers each year.

To celebrate fifty years of service, White Bird is growing, demonstrating our commitment to serving low income, under-resourced community members. We’re expanding many different programs at once, so we’re turning to the community for support and partnership. Please call 541.342.8255 or visit www.whitebirdclinic.org to donate to the project of your choice.

White Bird Turns Fifty & CAHOOTS is Thirty!

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White Bird Clinic has been serving the community since 1969, and CAHOOTS began in July of 1989.

EUGENE, OREGON – A celebration for White Bird and CAHOOTS will take place at WildCraft Cider House at 232 Lincoln St. on Friday, 8/30. Music from The Dirty Dandelions, Muddy Souls, and Cedar Teeth will begin at 7pm. Minimum donation of $10 at the door.

In 1969, a small group of student activists and concerned practitioners founded White Bird Socio-Medical Aid Station to provide crisis services and free medical care to counter-culture youth in Eugene. Having grown continuously for fifty years, White Bird Clinic now has ten programs, 200 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers. In response to burgeoning community need, White Bird is expanding medical, dental, CAHOOTS, and crisis services.

Relocated Crisis Center

The new crisis center will house the 24/7 crisis line phone service as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space intended to minimize environmental triggers that may be re-traumatizing.

White Bird opened a new crisis center adjacent to the Whiteaker neighborhood in late July. The center houses the 24/7 crisis line as well as walk in services in a trauma informed space. White Bird now offers the Whitaker and West Eugene neighborhoods an opportunity to reach out without having to travel across town. We’re also building a new dental clinic that will increase capacity by 50 patients a week and will allow us to serve more elderly patients, children, and families. White Bird Medical is reducing barriers to accessing care in multiple ways: the clinic is now open forty hours a week, and we’re launching White Bird Street Medicine to bring care to a diverse range of sites, reaching individuals who are transportation insecure. A walk-in primary care service will open later this fall in the Medical Clinic.

CAHOOTS is celebrating 30 years of providing mobile crisis intervention as an alternative to traditional public safety response. CAHOOTS has attracted notice from national news media as well as from communities across the country. The Wall Street Journal and the CBS Evening News have showcased CAHOOTS as an innovative model for reducing the risk of violent civilian/police encounters. Communities from California to New York have requested strategic guidance and training in order to implement CAHOOTS’ model of mobile crisis intervention. CAHOOTS operates 24/7 in Eugene and Springfield and handled over 17% of the total Eugene public safety calls last year.

In order to care for our most vulnerable community members, White Bird is taking a risk by expanding many different programs at once, and we’re turning to the community for support and partnership. Please call 541.342.8255 or click here to donate to the project of your choice.

Download PDF of Poster

White Bird’s Crisis Center has moved to 990 W 7th Avenue in Eugene

White Bird Clinic’s Crisis program will offer expanded walk-in services as well as a telephone crisis line from our renovated facility at 990 W 7th Ave beginning August 1st. The new location improves access to White Bird services for community members in the Jefferson Westside and Whiteaker neighborhoods, as well as West Eugene.

The new crisis center will house the crisis line phone service, which White Bird has operated 24/7/365 for 50 years, as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space. The choice of location is intended to expand White Bird’s presence in the Whiteaker neighborhood as well as its reach into west Eugene and western Lane County.

This safe space is intended to minimize environmental triggers that could be re-traumatizing. In 2018, the crisis team had 13,387 client encounters, 2,743 of them walk-in and 10,644 through the telephone crisis line. There were 4,237 contacts with clients in crisis and 2,976 contacts with clients seeking mental health information and referral. We served 2,006 unhoused clients and diverted 636 emergency room visits.

The crisis center construction is the first of many projects that will increase White Bird’s ability to care for Eugene’s most vulnerable community members. The agency has purchased two new buildings, is developing new dental and medical clinics, and is expanding CAHOOTS coverage and hours.

White Bird is taking a risk and growing to better serve, and is turning to the community for help with the financial resources needed to care for our most vulnerable community members. Contributions support White Bird’s mission and services for those in need. All donations are tax deductible.

White Bird Clinic Celebrates Fifty Years with Major Expansion

In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners founded White Bird Clinic to provide crisis services and free medical care to counter-culture youth in Eugene. Having grown continuously for fifty years, White Bird now has ten programs, 200 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers.

To celebrate our fiftieth, we’re growing our programs, demonstrating our commitment to serving low income, under-resourced community members. In response to burgeoning community need, White Bird is expanding medical, dental, crisis, and CAHOOTS services.

White Bird has a fifty-year track record of identifying, assessing, and responding to community need by leveraging our existing resources. We respond rapidly and effectively by building on existing, successful programs. Our expansion consists of:

  1. Opening a new medical walk-in clinic for individuals who are low-income and/or homeless and uninsured. The clinic, below the existing primary care clinic, will provide an alternative for patients experiencing an acute issue who lack health insurance, diverting a great number of emergency room visits.
  2. Enlarging the dental program to increase its capacity to serve patients by nearly 75%. White Bird is renovating the building at 1415 Pearl St. into a clinic that will also provide denture care for elderly patients and serve more children and families.
  3. Increasing access to crisis services by moving the crisis program to 990 W 7th Ave., adjacent to the Whitaker neighborhood. The new crisis center will house the 24/7 crisis line phone service as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space intended to minimize environmental triggers that may be re-traumatizing.
  4. Expanding the hours and geographic coverage of CAHOOTS mobile crisis services, which responded to over 21,000 calls in 2018, saving an estimated $6M in emergency medical services costs alone.

In order to serve more folks in need, White Bird is taking a risk by growing many different programs at once, and we’re turning to the community for support and partnership. Please call 541.342.8255 or donate to support the project of your choice.

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White Bird Building New Dental Clinic

Rendering courtesy of GMA Architects, an architecture and design firm in Eugene, Oregon

Download Press Release (PDF)

The new clinic will increase the dental program’s capacity by seventy-five percent.

EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird is constructing an expanded dental clinic at 1415 Pearl St. that will offer urgent and preventative oral health care. The clinic is expected to open in October.

Too many unhoused and low-income community members need dental care that they cannot access. In response, White Bird has purchased the building at 1415 Pearl St. and is developing a dental clinic that increases capacity by 50 patients a week. The new facility will also allow White Bird to serve more elderly patients, children, and families.

Poor oral health presents significant challenges for many unhoused community members. According to Trillium Community Health Plan, many of their patients don’t ever see a dentist. The last two Lane County Community Health Improvement Plans identified access to affordable dental care as a major priority.

The dental clinic was founded in 1995 and has grown continuously since then. The twenty three year old facility is the limiting factor in White Bird’s ability to meet the increased community need for oral health care.

White Bird Clinic has a history of identifying, assessing, and responding to community need by leveraging existing resources. The dental expansion project is a central component of White Bird’s mission of service to low income, under-served community members. Once the new dental clinic is completed, the current clinic facility will be renovated to add a walk-in clinic to White Bird Medical. The new service will provide an alternative to hospital emergency room visits for low-income patients suffering an acute issue, offering compassionate and expert care and substantial cost savings for the community.

In addition to the dental clinic and walk-in medical clinic, White Bird is developing a new crisis center adjacent to the Whiteaker neighborhood as well as expanding CAHOOTS hours and geographic coverage. This is the first time in White Bird’s fifty year history that it has conducted two construction projects and multiple program expansions simultaneously, an indicator of the volume of unmet community need that the agency addresses.

In order to care for our most vulnerable community members, White Bird is taking a risk by growing many different programs at once, and we’re turning to the community for support and partnership. Please call 541.342.8255 or click here to donate to the project of your choice.


In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners came together to provide crisis services and free medical care for counter-culture youth in Eugene. Having grown continuously since then, today White Bird Clinic has 200 staff members and more than 400 volunteers each year.

White Bird Breaks Ground on New Crisis Center

White Bird is developing an expanded Crisis facility adjacent to Eugene’s Whiteaker Neighborhood

Download Press Release (PDF)

EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic’s Crisis program will offer expanded walk-in services as well as a telephone crisis line from a renovated facility at 990 W 7th Ave. Construction started April 29th and is expected to be completed in early July. The new location improves access to White Bird services for community members in the Whiteaker and West Eugene.

The new crisis center will house the crisis line phone service, which White Bird has operated 24/7/365 for 50 years, as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space. The choice of location is intended to expand White Bird’s presence in the Whiteaker neighborhood as well as its reach into west Eugene and western Lane County.

This safe space is intended to minimize environmental triggers that could be re-traumatizing. In 2018, the crisis team had 13,387 client encounters, 2,743 of them walk-in and 10,644 through the telephone crisis line. There were 4,237 contacts with clients in crisis and 2,976 contacts with clients seeking mental health information and referral. We served 2,006 unhoused clients and diverted 636 emergency room visits.

The crisis center construction is the first of many projects that will increase White Bird’s ability to care for Eugene’s most vulnerable community members. The agency has purchased two new buildings, is developing new dental and medical clinics, and is expanding CAHOOTS coverage and hours.

White Bird is taking a risk and growing to better serve, and is turning to the community for help with the financial resources needed to care for our most vulnerable community members. Contributions support White Bird’s mission and services for those in need. All donations are tax deductible.

In the Media

White Bird Clinic Expanding Dental & Medical Services

White Bird Executive Coordinator Miles Mabray (front) stands with Fund Developer, Chris Hecht, in front of the dental and medical clinic currently serving 2,000 low-income patients annually.
CREDIT TIFFANY ECKERT, KLCC

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EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic will purchase the building at 1415 Pearl St. and redevelop it into a dental clinic to serve burgeoning community need. The existing dental facilities at 1400 Mill St will be renovated to add urgent care services to White Bird’s medical clinic.

The new building will allow White Bird dental to serve 50 additional patients each week and increase capacity to host student internships. The clinic will also provide denture care for elderly patients and allow White Bird to serve more children and families. White Bird medical’s new urgent care services will provide an alternative to hospital emergency room visits for patients experiencing an acute issue who lack health insurance.

“With the increase in community need for affordable urgent and preventative dental care, we’ve been on the lookout for a larger facility to better serve clients. When this opportunity came up, we knew we had to move on it immediately,” White Bird Dental Program Coordinator Kim Freuen said.

Founded in 1995, the dental clinic provides urgent care as well as preventative care. The program has continuously grown and is now constrained by its 23 year-old facility, and is not operating at optimal capacity due to a shortage of space. This year to date, the dental clinic has provided 4,848 visits for 1,992 patients:

  • 829 for emergency care;
  • 1,322 for hygiene/preventative care; and
  • 2,697 for restorative care.

According to Trillium Community Health Plan, many of their patients don’t ever see a dentist. The last two Community Health Improvement Plans for Lane County identified affordable dental care as a major issue. Poor oral health presents significant challenges for many unhoused community members; White Bird recognizes that need and meets it.

White Bird Medical Clinic provides affordable and friendly medical care to indigent, homeless, low-income, and otherwise marginalized populations, such as community members who are employed but uninsured or underinsured. In addition to staff physicians, there is a behavioral health consultant and a psychiatric prescriber who collaborate with the physicians to offer integrated, holistic care. This year to date, the medical clinic has provided 2,226 visits for 950 patients. 1,020 of those visits were with unhoused patients.

Providing primary care to patients is crucially important, as White Bird’s patients often suffer from multiple complex medical issues that are compounded by socioeconomic barriers to health care and lifestyle changes. These community members face significant barriers as well as discrimination when attempting to access health care institutions in the community, and having White Bird primary care providers advocate for them and coordinate their care is vital.

The new medical urgent care service will divert a great number of emergency room visits, which are very costly for all stakeholders. White Bird Clinic is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Please support our efforts by making a donation in person, by mail, or online through our website.




In the News

White Bird Providing Medical & Crisis Response to Camp 99

EUGENE, OREGON – In response to the urgent needs of community members at Camp 99, White Bird Clinic has mobilized a rapid response team and set up a temporary clinic at the Lindholm Center across Hwy 99 from the camp. The interdisciplinary team provides integrated, wrap-around services aligned with White Bird‘s comprehensive care model.

The temporary clinic offers medical services 16 hours per week. Crisis response workers and behavioral health counselors including drug and alcohol counselors are on site 8 hours each week. Outreach and enrollment specialists from White Bird’s Homeless program are on site. Services are provided daily except Sunday, for a total of 24 hours each week through January 7th.

Saint Vincent De Paul is providing space in its Lindholm Community Service Center for the temporary clinic. Their participation has allowed White Bird to get services up and running in a matter of days. Individuals utilizing SVDP’s Service Station are welcome at the clinic. The temporary clinic is funded by Lane County.

“It’s great to see such a speedy response by the county,” said White Bird Clinic Co-Coordinator Miles Mabray. “Their staff recognized the emergent nature of the situation and committed to immediate action. We’re partnering to meet this need within days.”

Camp 99 is a sanctioned camp created by Lane County on October 27 for people who were camping at the butterfly lot in downtown Eugene. The camp, located on a graveled lot in an industrial area on Highway 99, is intended to offer a safer, more sanitary place to sleep. On or around January 7th, Camp 99 is scheduled to be cleared. Campers on site will be given the option to transfer to other shelter options as they are available.

Individuals and businesses wishing to support the project can help in many ways. Financial donations, cold weather gear, food, and toiletries are welcome. For more information on how to help, please email camp99@whitebirdclinic.org, or call 541-342-8255.

See Also

White Bird doctors kick off new program connected to Camp 99
by Stephanie Rothman and NBC16.com Staff

White Bird Will Provide Clinic At Camp 99 In Eugene
By RACHAEL MCDONALD • KLCC

Eugene’s White Bird Clinic now offering medical services at Highway 99 homeless camp
by Alisha Roemeling, Register Guard

White Bird Clinic Launches Stay Warm Drive

White Bird asks the community to share the warmth with our most vulnerable community members.

White Bird Clinic needs help supporting unhoused community members who are facing the onset of the winter season. We’re sending out a call for any and all warm winter gear, particularly blankets and sleeping bags. For those who spend most of their time outdoors, winter in Eugene can be tough. White Bird asks you to help us help all of us and build a healthy and strong community. Please bring any of the following tax-deductible donations to our main clinic building at 341 E 12th Ave. in Eugene:

  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Coats/Jackets/Sweaters
  • Warm pants
  • Socks/Gloves/Scarves
  • Rain gear
  • Tarps

Please click here for a list of the other items we are currently accepting.

We’re happy to pick up larger donations. Call us at 541-342-8255.

Serenity Lane Recognizes Kimber Hawes as “Unsung Hero” at Community Service Awards

Serenity Lane honored White Bird’s Kimber Hawes in an award ceremony in honor of front line staff in our local recovery community as an Unsung Hero for the impactful work she does as a CAHOOTS worker.

Champions in the field of drug and alcohol treatment were recognized in the following categories:

  • Addiction Professional Award
  • Community Leadership Award
  • Dwight Lee Spiritual Advisor Award
  • Emergency Services Professional Award
  • Health Care Professional Award
  • Mental Health Professional Award
  • The Unsung Hero Award

Day of Caring

No matter your income, insurance coverage, or lack thereof, White Bird Clinic is available to assist you on your journey of growth and recovery. Every day, White Bird offers services that range from medical and dental, to addiction counseling and therapy, to crisis intervention.

Learn about these programs and meet our community partners at the Annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at 341 E 12th Ave for free health screenings, pizza, and more. Located behind our building at 341 E 12th Ave.

Remembering Jeanette “Luna” Rasnack

Luna Rasnack

July 17, 1982 – May 15, 2018

Jeanette “Luna” Rasnack passed away May 15, 2018 in Eugene, OR. She will be remembered by many Birders and is mourned by her community in OR, where she has lived since 2009. She leaves behind her father Carl Rasnack (Deborah), sister Carla Waid (Bryan), brother Joseph Rasnack (Colleen), niece Megan Waid, nephew Samuel Waid, daughter Carlie Joy, special companion Joe and many other relatives.

The family will receive friends at a memorial to Jeanette’s life Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm, at Dayton United Methodist Church, 215 Ashby St., Dayton, VA. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to White Bird Clinic, 341 E. 12th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401 or online at www.whitebirdclinic.org/donate.

Jeanette Karlene Rasnack Full Obituary

Remembering Luna by Joe Schmisek

published in the Eugene Weekly, May 2018

She loved sitting on the grass lawns and in my garden while I gardened. She loved to sit and wait while I did yard work. She loved going to the river and bathing. She liked going to the parks and going on long walks. She liked to play with leaves, gravel and soil with her hands.

She liked old and used jewelry and clothing. She liked loose-fitting dresses and skirts with no undergarments.

She liked things that were simple, things with no monetary value.

She liked collecting stone pebbles and walking sticks; she liked earth-friendly things. She liked places of peace, quiet and solitude, and not being around big crowds. She liked to carry old used blankets and loved to only walk.

She loved brushing her hair and me scratching her back and feet.

She loved to go for walks downtown and loved going to the Catholic church and First Christian for breakfast. She loved me taking her to St. Vincent de Paul’s to shop for clothes and to Sweet Life to get her cake.

She loved going to White Bird, and she liked calling Cahoots for rides.

She had an understanding for other people who were poor, in poverty and homeless. She gave me gifts of no monetary value, from her heart. We would sleep behind Vanilla Jill’s and under a maple tree behind Tiny’s Tavern where I met her, and other big maple trees in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

She loved wearing mits with the fingers cut off them and a sweater shawl, and she loved scarves and high-heeled boots, and shoes, and sandals, and cloth ankle bracelets.

She loved to follow me wherever we would go.

She seemed to want to be a free spirit and not to be troubled by how her house looked or people’s judgments about her; she wanted to be free from worries. She said that she really loved me, and she loved a feeling of being free and not too tied down to worries.

We went to the fairgrounds to have dinner and went to First Christian Church; she said she loved the pleasant music. She told me she wanted to know of good angels. She loved the necklaces, rings and bracelets I got her.

CAHOOTS Receives 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award

On April 10th, CAHOOTS was selected by the Lane County Board of Commissioners as a recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award. The award was presented during the Commissioners’ meeting to recognize the CAHOOTS team’s work in the field as behavioral health first responders, as well as their efforts in outreach, training, education, and support for individuals and groups throughout the area.

White Bird Opioid Treatment Program

White Bird Clinic has recently started a medication assisted treatment program for opioid abuse and dependence and now have a suboxone prescriber. The White Bird Opioid Treatment Program is designed to support individuals who are breaking the chain of opiate use. The program connects clients with a suboxone prescriber and supportive services with our behavioral and mental health counseling services.

Once admitted into Chrysalis Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, a client will be connected with a counselor for weekly counseling sessions to support the client’s individual goals. The client will also have access to group counseling and other support services such as; an Acupuncture Clinic, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Peer Support. Chrysalis also has a specialized opiate group “The Ethos Group.” Where individuals can find a supportive environment with others who are also breaking the chain of opiate use and discuss specific issues related to opiate use. Once a client has been assessed for medication assisted treatment appointments with our medical provider will be arranged for suboxone services. Weekly counseling sessions along with weekly medical appointments will be required for suboxone maintenance.

To enroll in the White Bird Opioid Treatment Program call 541-683-1641 or come by our office at 350 East 11th Avenue Eugene, Or. and ask for our data packet. Once the new client data packet is completed an intake can be scheduled. There will also be a mandatory TB test required for scheduling an intake and that can be performed at our White Bird Medical Clinic or at an individual’s primary care doctor’s office if they currently have a primary care doctor.

Th White Bird Opioid Treatment Program has reserved slots for homeless individuals to ensure services are provided to those who need it most. There are also a select number of slots for individuals who are not experiencing homelessness. We accept OHP and have funding for scholarships for individuals who do not have insurance. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 541-683-1641 or come by our office.

Remembering Dr Contreras

Our dentist, Dr Sixto Contreras died on October 11.

Dr. Contreras graduated from OHSU in 1994. He opened a private dental practice in Coos Bay Oregon. He was a native Spanish speaker who believed in supporting public health.

At one time in the clinic history we were struggling to hire a dentist. Dr. Contreras arranged his schedule so that he could work several days in a row at White Bird every other week. This allowed us to keep our grants and provide excellent care for patients.

Since 2012, Dr. Contreras made the drive from Coos Bay on Fridays for our 7 a.m. walk- in clinic.

He never missed a day, including the morning an accident disabled his car. He called a tow truck and made it to the office in time to see the first patient.

On Saturdays he worked at Lane Community College’s Clock Tower Clinic. Spanish speaking patients at both clinics were relieved to have a native speaker.

Dr Contreras was an energetic man who enjoyed motorcycles, kayaking and cooking. He taught Cuban cooking classes at Fifth Street Public Market.

He was a foodie who often brought Cuban beans to share and enjoyed taking staff out for Indian food lunches.

Many, many Lane County residents have been relieved from dental pain by treatment provided by Dr. Contreras.

He leaves a big hole in public dentistry and in our hearts. We hope he rests in peace.

Remembering Bob Dritz, A White Bird Clinic Original

  JAN 27, 2017
http://klcc.org/post/remembering-bob-dritz-white-bird-clinic-original

Friends, family and countless members of Eugene’s homeless community have lost a tireless advocate. Robert “Bob” Dritz, one of the earliest administrators of White Bird Clinic, died peacefully in hospice on January 15th. For this tribute, KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert sat down with two of his colleagues at White Bird to talk about the man and his legacy.

Bob Dritz was born in Bronxville, New York in 1946, the big brother of three sisters. He suffered from asthma as a child, a condition that often kept him inside. Friends say this is what developed his lifelong love of books.

Dritz went to college and taught English for a time. In the late ’70s, he eschewed work in California finance and lit out to find his real purpose. Dritz found it here, at Eugene’s White Bird Clinic, a fledgling non-profit agency dedicated to helping the poor, sick and disenfranchised.

Cori Taggart first met Bob Dritz while on a tour for new White Bird volunteers in 1979. The future crisis counselor remembers what she saw:

Wry smile: “These round glasses and a twinkle in his eye and this wry smile–he kinda gave us a wave as we walked through and I said to myself, ‘That is a very interesting looking man.”

The two later became intimate partners and then after that, they remained close.

Taggart: “He really respected women for their intelligence, their independence. He would never make cracks about a woman’s body or anything like that. That was just not him. When really smart women said something, he didn’t need to outdo them.”

At White Bird, Dritz quickly went from bookkeeper to program coordinator. Taggart recalls how he once handled a threat to cut crisis funding.

Taggart: “He showed up at that meeting with a phone book. When it was his turn to speak, he said ‘I want to speak to the importance of this crisis line to our community.’ He opened the phone book and on the front page with all the other emergency numbers was White Bird Crisis. The funding was restored.”

Not interested in the trappings of leadership, Dritz developed an equitable pay structure at White Bird that kept administration square in the middle. For more than a decade, Dee Hall worked with him.

Hall says Dritz was always humble, in attitude and dress. He usually wore jeans and a tee shirt to work.

Hall: “But his concession to being the public spokesman for White Bird was to take the cinnamon colored leather jacket off the back of the admin door.”

And then there was his memorable head of black hair, often tucked under a straw hat.

Hall: “For those of you who knew Bobby, it was amazing. Before he went out to a meeting, he grabbed the hairbrush out of his desk and he would brush his hair very carefully. And then he would put his hand over it and mix it like an egg beater. He reveled in the tussled look.”

Taggart: “Walking into a meeting of county commissioners or important people of some sort…you know he might have a simple little bag while other people would have these beautiful leather briefcases, sharp suits and great ties and everything. But when Bob opened his mouth, they started to listen.”

Friends and colleagues will miss Bob Dritz’s wry sense of humor. After creating White Bird’s mobile crisis unit, Hall says he decided on the acronym CAHOOTS.

Hall: “Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Street, the joke behind that one is that as an old hippie agency, suddenly we were in cahoots with the police. It was a surprise to all of us.”

In 2007, after 25 years of service, Bob Dritz retired from the clinic he helped build. Hall says, Dritz was deeply committed to the collective nature of White Bird.

Hall:”So we would often talk about how can we remain a collective and do the work that’s needed in the community. That structure continues and even with the new generation of White Birders, be believed we’d be able to keep the magic going into the next generation.”

The agency is now synonymous with crisis counseling, medical, dental, and drug and alcohol treatment for people living in poverty or on the streets.

In early January, Bob Dritz developed a blood infection. Codi Taggart was with him when he decided to stop treatment. She sat at his bedside and thanked him for everything.

Taggart: “He looked at me and he nodded and he said, ‘I gave it my all.’ And he did.”

Bob Dritz would have turned 71 on February 5th, 2017. A lover of the arts, poetry and a fan of Bob Dylan if ever there was one.

 

In Memory of Noah DeWitt

To the many people who have known and loved our son, brother, and friend Noah DeWitt, it is with deep sadness that we share the news that his body was found in Eugene last month.

Though this is a tragic resolution to his disappearance, the support of his friends and community these past few painful months has been truly beautiful.

Noah was a remarkable young man gifted with a deeply caring soul, a curious mind, and an amazing capacity to find joy in life and share it with others. His passing is a painful and profound loss. All we can offer is that you join us in honoring the gift of having had Noah in our lives by carrying his bright spirit forward.

The family would like to encourage people to donate to White Bird Clinic in memory of Noah D.