Pitchford boys Ranch Offers alternative Delinquency Treatment

Jan 13, 2014

 The Pitchford Boys Ranch opened in 1963 near Roseburg as the first public residential treatmentprogram for delinquent boys in Oregon.  It was named after Agnes Pitchford, Douglas County’s first Juvenile Department director.  The ranch was located at what is now Amacher  Park along the North Umpqua River before moving with state support in 1965 to Twin Forks Park.

 Juvenile Department Director Julian Helleck developed the ranch concept. He saw the 20-acre ranch as a second chance, an alternative to parole and Oregon’s MacLaren School for Boys in Woodburn.  He got teenagers active in their community, working at Stewart Park’s Music on the Half Shell summer concert site and on Red Cross and county park projects. Helleck received community support, including from a former FBI agent and public safety officer quoted in a newspaper as saying, “I’ve been putting people in jail for 30 years. I hope I can help some of these boys stay out.” Thirty-eight years after its founding, the ranch closed in 2001 due to lack of funding from the county, the Oregon Youth Authority and nonprofit organizations. Today the Douglas County Park Department rents the Pitchford Community Center, including Helleck Hall. 

  Sources: The News-Review and other newspaper articles in a scrap book developed by the Douglas County Juvenile Department