The History of Assistance League of Corvallis

In February, 1967, Doris Caldwell, Cathy Lewis, Jane Mc Henry, Jean Reynolds, and Charlotte Thompson met with five women from the Salem chapter of Assistance League to discuss forming a chapter in Corvallis.  Later that spring Dorotha Barratt, Colleen Gilbert, Jean Hogensen, Shirley Wirth, and Midge Woods joined the original five and helped create a list of women to invite to join this new venture.  Ninety-six women accepted invitations to membership.

At the first meeting in February, 1968, held in the Consumers Power meeting room at 9th Street and Garfield Avenue, the group elected officers and selected Operation School Bell® as their first philanthropic program. Clothing was received and displayed in Hal Whiteside’s old real estate office on Witham Hill.  In early 1970, Operation School Bell moved to the second floor of Anderson’s Sporting Goods — where it was cold in the winter but rent free.  That fall, regular meetings moved from the Consumers Power building to the Corvallis Country Club, where the group met until May, 2007. On May 15, 1969, National Assistance League granted us Guild status. On May 12, 1970, the Corvallis Guild became the 49th chartered chapter of National Assistance League.

Most board and committee meetings were held in members’ homes until 1972 when we purchased a house at 534 NW 4th Street to be our headquarters for Operation School Bell and other activities.  In 1994, we sold the 4th Street house and purchased another at 547 NW 9th Street.  We renovated the house and paved the adjoining lot for parking. This house is still the center of Assistance League activities except for the monthly meeting, which is held at the Corvallis community center.

Image of Assistance League of Corvallis House

Our Charter Members

In 2008, Assistance League of Corvallis celebrated 40 years of service with a special luncheon at the Clubhouse at Adair Village.  The April regular meeting was followed by a social hour with appetizers, slides, and displays.  At noon, members enjoyed a catered lunch featuring recipes from our own Assistance League of Corvallis cookbooks to celebrate all that Assistance League has accomplished in the past 40 years.  Assistance League memorabilia was displayed during our social hour.

Members (top row, left to right) Sandra Powell, Dorothy Fenner, Anita McEldowney, Carlene Kiel, Anita Gibbs, Mardee Palmer, Lu Andros, Ellie Strowbridge, and Linda Wagner

Members (bottom row, left to right) Shirley Baker, Jane McHenry Ringo, Jean Reynolds, Jean Petersen, and Doris Caldwell.