All the Portland Veteran Resources You Need
Known as the City of Roses, Portland is Oregon’s largest city and was recently ranked by the Pew Research Center as the 8th most popular American city, based on where people want to live. The city itself, along with the rest of Multnomah County, is home to more than 43,000 veterans, and Oregon as a whole boasts 331,000 military veterans. For these veterans, Portland offers a wide range of resources and services to help improve many aspects of everyday life.
Health care is always a primary concern for veterans and their families. The VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) serves more than 95,000 veterans each year and is home to 12 national-level Centers of Excellence for research efforts in mental illness, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, and more. Located at 3710 SW U.S. Veterans Hospital Road, the facility offers a full continuum of care to patients, including inpatient, outpatient, longterm, and emergency care. Specialized providers offer care additionally for homeless veterans, returning service members, female veterans, and caregivers. The VAPORHCS website offers a helpful online patient portal that walks you through how to become a new patient, schedule or change an appointment, and how to handle insurance claims.
VAPORHCS also prioritizes assisting veterans in crisis by training its entire staff on suicide prevention staff and maintaining a Portland VA Suicide Prevention Team that plays a key role by responding to veterans who call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255).
If you’re looking for someone to help you understand and access your VA benefits, the Portland Regional Benefit Office is a great place to start. Located at 100 SW Main St., trained staff is available by appointment to discuss benefits ranging from education, burials and memorials, life insurance, home loans, pension, and health care for veterans, spouses, and family members. The office also supports veteran outreach programs for veterans who are at risk for becoming homeless through its Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC). The office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the exception of federal holidays.
The Multnomah County Veterans Service Office, located at 421 SW Oak Street, also offers free consultations and services, including help with filing claims and appeals, representing veterans at hearings, and recovering lost military records. The office also hosts a helpful online directory of links to local and national veteran programs and departments.
Visiting your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post is another great way to meet and network with other veterans, as well as get assistance with your VA claims questions. Service Officers at each post are trained in obtaining and even help dispute claims, and can also help surviving spouses or dependents at no charge. Portland is home to three VFW posts with many social events, shared meals, and regular meetings.
The Portland community turns out each November 11 to honor its veterans at the annual Ross Hollywood Chapel Veterans Day Parade. More than 30 years ago, Vernon E. Ross – a WWI and WWII veteran and owner of the chapel – founded the parade, after purchasing a triangular piece of property in front of his chapel to erect a flagpole to boost patriotism and show his support for his fellow veterans. Nine years later, as the parade approached the flagpole, Ross collapsed from a heart attack at the foot of the monument, and later that evening passed away. Today, in memory of his dedication to veterans, the chapel continues to host the parade and carry of the tradition of honoring American heroes. The parade starts at 9:30 am at 40th and Sandy Boulevard and travels down Sandy, ending at Sandy & 48th, concluding at the site of the Veterans Memorial Flag pole, with a flag-raising ceremony, a dove release, and a military flyover from the Oregon Air National Guard 142nd Fighter Wing.
Written by Megan Hammons