Oregon is considered a leader at in-home and community-based services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). But it wasn’t always that way.

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For nearly 100 years, the Fairview Training Center housed thousands of Oregonians with disabilities. The facility opened in 1908 as the State Institution for the Feeble-Minded.

Most of the first patients were transferred from the Oregon State Hospital for the Insane. For decades, residents were officially referred to as "inmates." Over the years, there were forced sterilizations, lobotomies, and systematic abuse.

For some people, it was the only home they had ever known, and many Fairview employees dedicated their lives to caring for residents.

By the 1980s, Fairview was among the nation's largest and oldest institutions of its kind. It was overcrowded and poorly staffed. In 1985, a U.S. Justice Department investigation determined residents faced life-threatening conditions. Following a federal civil rights lawsuit, Fairview closed in 2000, with most remaining patients rehoused in the community.

Today, Oregon is one of the few states with no institutions for I/DD residents.

This story is part of Move to Include, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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