History of the Hospital in Newport

Caring citizens have been at the heart of Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital from the very beginning.

Birdie Williams kicked off the hospital campaign with a $1000 donation. She is pictured handing her gift to Mayor Martin Skriver, with city attorney Kenneth Litchfield (left) and Buck Bradley (right). Courtesy of the Lincoln County Historical Society, August 12, 1947.

While a small, privately owned hospital served Newport-area families for decades, the post-war baby boom of the mid-1940s highlighted the growing need for state-of-the-art health care on the central Oregon Coast. Interested residents gathered in 1948 to create the Pacific Communities Hospital Association and began to raise the substantial $150,000 needed for the 17-bed hospital they envisioned.

As the hospital association’s vision for a more advanced hospital took hold in the community, individual residents stepped forward with support, mostly with donations of $30 each. Eager to contribute to this important community undertaking, the 1948 Newport High School Senior Class raised $200 to contribute to the project. Once the goal amount was reached, federal matching dollars helped to realize the dream and construction began in 1951. Two years later, Pacific Communities Hospital received its first patient.

The hospital flourished during its first two decades, growing in numbers of beds, services and staff members to meet increasing patient care needs. In 1969, the hospital opened its first intensive care unit.

Creation of the Pacific Communities Health District

The 1970s brought more change, starting with the public creation of the Pacific Communities Health District, a governmental entity and taxing authority with an elected board of directors. Two years later, on March 28, 1972, the hospital property and buildings were transferred to the District, the body that still owns all hospital property and buildings in Newport today.

With the community still firmly behind the hospital, voters approved two bond measures to expand the facility with the addition of a clinics wing in the late 1970s, followed by a two-story addition in the late 1980s.

Upgrades continued throughout the 1990s, driven by the rapid technological changes that vastly improved diagnostic imaging services, ophthalmological surgeries, intensive care monitoring and laboratory testing.

Operating agreement with Samaritan Health Services

Also during the 1990s, many hospitals in the United States consolidated into health care systems to help manage the tumultuous changes in the nation’s health care industry. Pacific Communities Hospital was no different. In 2002, the Pacific Communities Health District signed an agreement with Samaritan Health Services, a not-for-profit health care provider, to operate the hospital in Newport and many of its outpatient clinics. Samaritan continues to operate the hospital and clinics today.

Today, the Newport hospital is evolving anew with caring citizens once again at its core. In 2015, voters approved a $57 million bond to significantly expand the hospital with a three-story addition and complete renovation of the 1988 structure. Completed in 2020, the integrated medical campus provides optimal patient care, greater efficiencies in workflow, enhanced patient safety and increased flexibility to grow into the future. More than ever, the new facility puts patients at the center, the ultimate reason we are here.