Our History

Independence Northwest was founded by a small group of engaged community members in the fall of 2006. In the fall of 2006, Larry Deal (current Executive Director), Erin Graff (former Assistant Director) and Ron Spence (current Operations Director) came together together, formed a board of directors, and applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Our initial board of directors was comprised of Larry Deal (former Director of Mentor Oregon Brokerage), Rita Beckett (self-advocate) and Martha Stracener-Dantzic (former Executive Director of Inclusion Inc. Brokerage.).

In December 2006, we formally incorporated as Northwest Community Connections Inc. Shortly after incorporation, (once we realized our name was, well, just a tad too long) we chose the assumed business name of Independence Northwest, under which we now operate.

At the beginning of 2007, the State of Oregon Department of Human Services released a competitive RFP (request for proposal) for two Support Services Brokerages. We applied along with several other entities and were awarded the contract in April of 2007.

We opened our doors in July of 2007 and entered our very first customers into services in October 2007. Over the next eighteen months, we went from 0 to 450 customers and added hundreds of new providers to our area’s resource base. Our team was rounded out by our Office Manager (Beri Swango), Community Resources Director (Maggie Kral) and ten Personal Agents.

Today, we serve 508 individuals with developmental disabilities across the tri-county region.

Independence Northwest has developed a strong reputation in the disability community with a focus on independence, personal responsibility, education and advocacy. We take our responsibility as stewards of public funds seriously and provide cost-effective, results-oriented services for our community.

Our mission:
The mission of Independence Northwest is to support people with developmental disabilities to access resources necessary to ensure equality, respect, independence, and complete ownership over their lives. The principles of self-determination are at the heart of our approach; we firmly believe that freedom, authority, autonomy, responsibility and confirmation are key aspects to the success of anyone and everyone.