Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Social structure, Portland Youth Advocates (Or.), Community mental health services -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

3, xii, 210 leaves 28 cm.


Portland Youth Advocates is a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon that since 1969 has supervised nearly a dozen innovative service programs for young people. One of these programs was a counseling and referral program that evolved in August 1970 and closed in September 1979. Although it used different names at various times, it was most often known as the Contact Center. Three of PYA's former programs are operating in 1981, having each incorporated separately since 1979. To address the problem of why the Contact Center was unable to continue as well, an ex post facto case study of the program is undertaken. To facilitate the study, the program's history is divided into five representative time periods. Four categories of sources are then consulted to indicate the program's performance in five fixed factors during each time period. Findings are initially presented for each factor in each time period. They are subsequently comprehensively analyzed from the viewpoint of two factors over time, a collective factor over time, and three special attitudes. A conclusion is then drawn regarding the Contact Center's demise. Data is sufficiently indicative as to suggest a reply to the problem. The Contact Center appears to have been a fairly well organized program that generally provided good service. Its difficulties seemed to derive from its increasingly troubled mediation with the external landscape--government officials, foundation executives, and other private human service agencies. Some of the disturbance the center encountered in this regard was a consequence of its acknowledged preference for clinical as opposed to political activity. But the evidence also implies that distinguishing attitudes assumed by program members may have exacerbated already tenuous relationships between the program and external entities. Because these attitudes roughly identify the Contact Center program with what is often called "alternative human service," the work concludes with a prescriptive essay regarding the perpetuation of such service. In this manner, the particular experience of the Contact Center inspires an informed contribution to the consideration of a national phenomenon in human service.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier