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Kerr History

For more than 100 years, Albertina Kerr has been caring for Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens. Over the decades, our services have evolved to meet the community’s needs. While these needs have changed, the values of our expert caregivers remain constant: compassion, commitment, collaboration, and advocacy.

Today, Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), mental health challenges, and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. We provide comprehensive crisis and preventative mental health care for children and teens, as well as a full range of services for children and adults with IDD.

Kerr History

1907
1907

Louise Home

Louise Home
Portland Commons Mission buys the Louise Home in Southwest Portland to serve women and children, beginning the shift toward providing care for mothers and babies.
1910
1910

Alexander & Albertina

Alexander & Albertina
Alexander Kerr marries Albertina Sechtem, a strong advocate for helping homeless children.
1911
1911

Albertina Dies

Albertina dies suddenly of typhus. Alexander donates their family home in Northwest Portland to be the Albertina Kerr Nursery, providing adoption services and daycare for children of single mothers.
1915
1915

Louise Home Expands

The Louise Home expands to nine acres of farm and forest on what is now NE 162nd.
1921
1921

Kerr Nursery

Ruth Kerr, Alexander’s third wife, and Margaret Bondurant raise funds for a new nursery – the Albertina Kerr Nursery. The building operates as an adoption home until 1967.
1938
1938

Wynne Watts School

The Wynne Watts School (named for a former medical director) opens on the campus of the Louise Home.
1940
1940

Albertina Kerr Homes

Albertina Kerr Homes
The Louise Home and the Albertina Kerr Nursery incorporate under the name Albertina Kerr Homes.
1956
1956

Louise Home Campus

Louise Home Campus
With the support of community fundraising, Kerr builds cottages near the Louise Home to offer young children safe, residential treatment.
1960
1960

Expanding Care for Children

Albertina Kerr begins an innovative program for children with mental health challenges, creating residential and outpatient psychiatric treatment services for children and their families. Foster care families are recruited and trained to provide care for children with special needs.
1970
1970

Kerr Center for Handicapped Children

State-run Fairview Training Center makes plans to move its residents to community-based homes. Albertina Kerr steps in and begins programs for individuals with developmental disabilities, opening the Kerr Center for Handicapped Children.
1980
1980

Supported Living Services

Albertina Kerr opens neighborhood group homes, starts support living services, and significantly expands employment services and life skills training for people with developmental disabilities.
1997
1997

Crisis Psychiatric Care & Intensive Treatment

Albertina Kerr constructs a new building on the Louise Home campus and begins operating a Crisis Psychiatric Care program for children, as well as a residential Intensive Treatment program.
2009
2009

Kerr Bikes

Kerr Bikes
Kerr Bikes opens, providing employment experience for teens in Kerr programs and raising funds.
2012
2012

Growing with Community

Growing with Community
Kerr grows to include new community inclusion programs for adults with IDD, including The Portland Art and Learning Studios that promotes an awareness of the cultural contributions from people of all abilities.
2018
2018

Community Promise

The largest capital campaign in Kerr’s history, The Community Promise Campaign, officially reaches its $11 million goal. The campaign results in significant new investment in Kerr’s Children’s Mental Health Campus, bringing together leading practitioners, critical programs, and community-based mental health services for children throughout Oregon. It also dramatically increases Kerr’s endowment, strengthening Kerr’s long-term financial sustainability.
2018

Expansion for Adults

Kerr expands programs for adults with IDD. The Portland Art and Learning Studios relocates to the gateway of the Alberta Arts District, where space for creative expression is nearly doubled in the new home. Employment Services launches new Project SEARCH internship sites, creating new opportunities for young adults with IDD to secure employment in settings integrated with their nuerotypical peers.
2019
2019

Today

Today
Today Kerr is committed to challenging and evolving the norms around how we care for children, teens and adults with unique mental health and developmental needs. Kerr strives to deliver the highest quality services to all the people we serve and support a thriving, effective, and sustainable workforce of caring individuals committed to serving Oregon’s most vulnerable.
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