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Mary Stillwell

The Salvation Army in Oregon
1886 - Present

Captain Mary Stillwell leads the first Salvation Army open-air worship service at the corner of SW Fifth and Burnside.

The Salvation Army White Shield Center opens its doors as a maternity home and hospital for unwed mothers.

In support of World War I,
The Salvation Army serves coffee and doughnuts to servicemen at Union Station.

TSA feeds, clothes and shelte
rs more than 2,000 victims of the devastating Vanport flood.

Oregon and Southern Idaho divisional headquarters moves to 1785 NE Sandy Blvd.

The Salvation Army Moore Street Corps and Community Center opens its doors in North Portland.

TSA takes ownership of The Salvation Army West Women's and Children's Shelter.

Silvercrest Apartments for low-income seniors open with all 34 apartments filled.

The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center opens Door of Hope to provide shelter for homeless families.

The Salvation Army Rose Center for seniors moves to new quarters at 211 NE 18th Ave., Portland.

History Of The Salvation Army

Click here to enter The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre.

The Salvation Army set foot in Portland in the fall of 1886, just six years after eight Salvationists landed in New York City. When Captain Mary Stillwell came to Portland, she found saloons lining Union Avenue, filled with rough characters that wanted nothing to do with The Salvation Army. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old captain plunged into her work with fortitude, holding The Army's first open-air preaching and singing services on Oct. 3, 1886, at Southwest Fifth and Burnside streets.

Opposition to the small Army was fierce in East Portland, where The Army marched with its brass instruments and held outdoor worship services. Mary herself was badly injured when a saloon keeper turned a fire hose on a Salvation Army meeting. But Mary and other Salvationists continued their mission, even in the face of being jailed.

Heckling gradually gave way to tolerance and goodwill. The Army's message of help, hope and salvation spread rapidly during the 1890s. By 1904, Salvationists were providing work to down-and-out men and raising money for clothes and furniture for the poor. Children in need were given clothes and shoes. Soon other services followed.

Today, The Salvation Army, both a religion and a faith-based nonprofit organization, continues its mission of preaching the love of God through word and music and helping those in our community who are in need. Corps officers (ordained clergy) in 31 corps (churches) and community centers throughout Oregon serve people of all ages, ministering to their spiritual and physical needs. Through its programs and services, and with the help of thousands of volunteers, The Army serves the men, women, and youth of our community, regardless of race, color, creed, sex or age.

The Salvation Army's goal today remains the same as it was 125 years ago — to make a difference, one human being at a time.

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