Chapter 11, Part 1 – The College Moves Forward 1996

In early 1996, the college appeared at a public hearing before the Portland city planning department. The college had prepared a master plan containing specific measures designed to reduce traffic flow through the neighborhood. It was hoped that the master plan would resolve the concerns of the neighborhood association and clear the way for construction on campus. While the college was crafting its master plan for the planning department, the neighborhood association was splitting into two separate neighborhood associations.

The “official” association supported the college’s petition for a new use permit; the “unofficial” association opposed it. The college’s master plan had satisfactorily addressed 31 of the 32 criteria necessary for the issuance of a permit, but lingering concerns voiced by the “unofficial” neighborhood association about traffic flow through the neighborhood caused the planning department to move conservatively. They chose to deny the college’s application; the planning department felt more time was needed to reach a peaceful settlement.

By fall 1996, the college hummed with activity. The CCE and the NWASC conducted another joint accreditation site team visit, from which only two concerns emerged. One concern had to do with a housekeeping detail easily addressed by updating an existing college policy. The other concern was a perennial favorite cited by site team visits to all chiropractic colleges – clinics needed a more robust and varied patient population. In response, the college opened the King Road clinic, a multi-disciplinary satellite clinic in a heavily populated area of southeast Portland. The college also increased the hours of operation at the Burnside clinic (formerly known as the “Recovery Inn”), which improved both patient volume and variety. The college also hired two osteopathic physicians, one to work in the campus clinic and the other to work at the new King Road Clinic.

On September 30, 1996, Dr. Richard Stonebrink retired from the college. He began teaching at the college in the mid-1950s and quickly gained the respect of his fellow faculty members. During his tenure at WSCC, he held more different faculty and administrative positions than anyone before him or since. He taught in the classroom, practiced in the clinic, served on the Board of Trustees, was the college’s chief academic officer, served in numerous administrative positions, was an officer of the alumni association, and served on countless college committees. His orthopedics diplomate courses had been offered across the nation, generating more postgraduate revenue than any other program. Although he continued to offer his orthopedics program, his retirement from full-time teaching at WSCC marked the end of an era.

March 1996 Commencement Exercise Program.
June 1996 Commencement Exercise Program.
Aug 1996 Commencement Exercise Program.
December 1996 Commencement Exercise Program.

As Dr. Stonebrink was retiring, two new members were joining the faculty ranks. Lester Partna, DC was the first of the two WSCC graduates to return to the college to teach. Dr. Partna had conducted a very successful vacation-relief practice in the Portland metropolitan area for years, but wanted to bring what he had learned in professional practice back to the college. Attracting chiropractors with practice experience was always challenging for the college, which made Dr. Partna’s enthusiasm to teach all the more appealing. Dr. Partna joined the chiropractic science department where he eventually taught biomechanics and adjusting courses. He too, would go on to become the department chair for chiropractic sciences.

Only weeks after the hire of Dr. Partna, Timothy Stecher, DC, also a graduate of WSCC, returned to the college to teach. Like his predecessors Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Harger, Dr. Stecher completed the college’s three-year radiology residency program, passed his qualifying board examinations, and was awarded a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology. Unlike his colleagues, Dr. Stecher divided his time between the college and private practice. The addition of Dr. Stecher to the radiology department significantly strengthened instruction in radiology.