Over a period of 60 years, the state forcibly sterilized over 2,6000 Oregonians. From 1923 to 1983, Oregon law allowed for compulsory sterilization of those deemed unfit for reproduction. It was part of a broader eugenics movement to remove “undesirable” individuals from the gene pool.
For nearly 100 years, Fairview was Oregon's primary institution for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Twenty years ago, the last resident left as the center closed amid lawsuits and investigations.
More than 40 years ago, a small group of Oregon teenagers with developmental disabilities helped launch a global self-advocacy movement. Residents of a state-run institution started holding regular meetings to support each other. Together they formed the organization People First.
The cremated remains of more than 3,500 Oregonians sit unclaimed in the state’s custody. They are the forgotten and abandoned residents of Oregon’s state institutions. But now, some are finally making it home.