PeaceHealth in Oregon's
Willamette Valley:

Answering a Call to Preserve Local Health Care

In Eugene/Springfield. In 1936, at the request of local physicians, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark (later the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace) agreed to buy Eugene’s financially and structurally ailing Pacific Christian Hospital for $50,000, renaming it Sacred Heart General Hospital. With hospitals in rural Washington and Alaska, the sisters were widely respected in the Northwest as health care administrators. On July 7, 1936, four young nuns arrived from Bellingham, Washington, to take over hospital operations and serve as administrator, nursing superintendent, bookkeeper, and receptionist/admissions clerk.

With the help of community wide fund-raising efforts, Sacred Heart began an extensive program to enhance the 75-bed hospital. By 1941 a new six-story wing had been completed, adding 100 beds and much-improved surgical and laboratory services. Many more expansions followed. Eventually the community's needs outpaced the hospital's ability to expand at its traditional local on Hilyard Street in Eugene. In August 2008, a second hospital campus — Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend — opened on 181 acres on the McKenzie River east of Interstate 5 in Springfield. The original hospital facility continues to operate as Sacred Heart Medical Center at University District.

PeaceHealth Medical Group, the oldest and largest multispecialty medical group in Eugene, was founded in 1922 as the Eugene Hospital and Clinic. It began as a partnership of six practicing Eugene physicians who felt that, by pooling their resources, they could provide a more efficient, better equipped hospital. In 1988 the group’s hospital services were consolidated with those at Sacred Heart. In 1995 the Eugene Clinic joined with PeaceHealth to become PeaceHealth Medical Group.

In Cottage Grove/Creswell. After a series of small doctor-operated hospitals opened and closed early in the 20th century, Cottage Grove had been without a hospital for some 30 years when 32-bed Cottage Grove Hospital opened to patients on April 21, 1950. Local businesses and individuals pitched in to raise the $220,000 needed to build the hospital.

In the 1990s the hospital fell on hard times and wound up in bankruptcy. PeaceHealth took over management of the hospital and its associated medical clinics in 1998. The hospital closed to all but part-time urgent care in August 1998, while the clinics continued operating as South Lane Medical Group, now known as PeaceHealth Medical Group — Cottage Grove/Creswell. The hospital reopened 15 months later with 24-hour care. A local grassroots effort was undertaken to fund construction of a comprehensive new medical facility. Cottage Grove Community Hospital opened on Oct. 7, 2003, in the new 40,000-square-foot, $12.7 million Cottage Grove Hospital and Clinics building.