Our History.



The very first planning meeting for Cowlitz County Guidance Association took place with members of the Longview Junior Service League. They were eager to support a community project and provide children's counseling services. Ms. Orpha Christianson and Ms. Martha Sue Natt were also involved in the project.


Longview Junior Service League holds the first Cabaret (a fundraiser) with proceeds going to support the children's counseling project. Orpha Christianson was elected the first board president.


Orpha Christianson opens the first office in the Cowlitz County Courthouse and began providing services as Cowlitz County Guidance Association.


Cowlitz County Guidance Association expands its services from children to treating all ages for mental health issues.


In July, Cowlitz County Guidance Association filed its original Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Cowlitz County Guidance Association became incorporated on September 14th, 1953


CCGA amends its Articles of Incorporation and adopts the business name Lower Columbia Mental Health. This allowed the agency to become established as a community mental health center.

The Federal Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Center Construction Act of 1963 and the Community Mental Health Center Act Amendments of 1956 were the key to this change.


Orpha Christianson retires after 22 years of service to the organization, including 19 years as Executive Social Worker and 4 years as President of the Board of Directors. At this time, Orpha's social work career encompassed 51 years of social work, including executive leadership positions in Cowlitz County and Washington State.


Dave Nelson named Executive Director.


David Sutherland named Executive Director.


CCGA begins providing Emergency Mental Health Services, including administration of involuntary inpatient treatment. This service is what evolved into today's Crisis Services.


Due to severe financial difficulties, the Board of Directors considered closing the agency.

Kathleen Kjallin named Interim Executive Director.  Kathleen was previously on the Board of Directors for 8 years. 

Line staff adopted membership in Office and Professional Employees International Union.


Washington Legislature establishes Regional Support Networks to bring mental health service provision under the control of the local government. Cowlitz and Clark Counties combine to form the Southwest RSN.


CCGA's union membership votes to strike. 


Cowlitz County Guidance Association purchases its first piece of real estate. 


The association adopts a third DBA and opens Riverview Psychiatric and Counseling Service, this program was aimed at diversifying funding by providing private services and employee assistance plans. 


Eric Yakovich is name CEO, he was previously the associations CFO.


CCGA celebrates its 50th anniversary as a corporation

CCGA purchases a 17,000 sq ft complex and consolidates all its programs into the new locations. In relation, the association sold its other property and vacated its leases.


David McClay is name interim CEO in November 2014 after Eric Yakovich moves to the Port of Kalama


Cowlitz County Guidance Association, Lower Columbia Mental Health & Riverview Psychiatric and Counseling change to one single name, Columbia Wellness. Columbia Wellness re-branded the agency.


Columbia Wellness takes over Crisis Response Services from BHR in Grays Harbor County. Location began its operations on May 1st, 2016 at 615 8th Street in Hoquiam, WA.


Columbia Wellness purchases the Lower Columbia Pathology building at 720 14th Avenue in Longview in November. Child and Family services are on the 2nd floor, the bottom floor is to be renovated for a detox center.


Columbia Wellness aquires A First place on February 1st, 2018 to add Substance Use Treatment Services in Cowlitz County and Grays Harbor County.