Our History

In 1975, Pastor Ed Sandvig and his wife, Dorothy, learned of the struggles of a friend suffering from mental illness. After multiple stays at the Oregon State Hospital, their friend described a system that left her unsupported, with little hope for independence and lasting recovery. This inspired Pastor Sandvig to seek a new way to serve the community… 

By 1977, Ed and Dorothy had incorporated Luke-Dorf as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and launched the first residential home for adults with mental illness in Washington County (a residence still in operation today). With support from countless community members as well as Washington County and the State of Oregon, Luke-Dorf worked through the challenges of the early years and built a solid foundation of compassion, hope, and healing.

The name Luke-Dorf pays homage to Pastor Sandvig’s background and vision:

  • Saint Luke is known as a healer and a man of compassion. 
  • Dorf is the German word for village or small community.

Thus, Luke-Dorf is a healing community

After years of modest growth, a new era began for Luke-Dorf when Howard M. Spanbock took the helm as Executive Director in 2002. His unparalleled energy led to ten years of strategic expansion. Howard envisioned a complete continuum of care, responsive to the wide variety of service needs for those with mental illness. Under his leadership, Luke-Dorf grew to serve over 650 clients. He spurred the addition of multiple service elements and locations, and integrated care across diversified funding streams. Howard passed away in 2012, leaving behind an incredible team, dedicated to his legacy of combining heart and strategy.

From humble beginnings, Luke-Dorf now encompasses a large and diverse staff committed to an environment that welcomes all beliefs, races, ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures. Our goal is to know and honor diversity, and design services to meet the wide range of our people’s experiences.