In the early 1970s a group of citizens headed by a very dedicated nun, Sister Patricia, worked hard to secure funding and volunteer support for various programs in the Astoria area. In 1974, they were successful in procuring a $25,000 federal grant to start the Clatsop/Tillamook Area Agency on Aging (CTAAA). The CTAAA, with Sister Pat as its coordinator, opened Astoria's first senior citizens drop-in center in 1976. The drop-in center changed locations several times during its early years, but settled down in its current location on 1111 Exchange in Astoria in December of 1984.
Throughout its history the center has offered services based on its members' interests, including; ceramics classes,crafts, tax preparation assistance, health and fitness programs, entertainment, and above all, a welcoming place for senior citizens to socialize. Sister Pat's commitment to the needs of senior citizens extended far beyond her work with the ASC. When she retired from teaching in 1972, she began advocating for seniors' issues. As a member of the Governor's Commission on Senior Services, her contributions made a statewide impact on the quality of services provided to senior citizens. She was involved in several programs which provided assistance to seniors, including a Meals-on- Wheels program; in addition to developing a directory to help connect seniors with valuable resources. For years, she hosted a KMUN radio show which featured interviews with older Astoria residents. In Sister Pat's own words, "Older people have a wealth of wisdom and experience that young people can't even imagine." Her work showed the greater community that retired people are vital and relevant. The Astoria Senior Center is a place where seniors can experience that reality.
Over the years the ASC has been touched by many remarkable businesses and individuals who have donated their money, time, and goods to improve the ASC. One of the most dedicated supporters, Andy Honcharenko, embodied the spirit of service which characterizes the ASC. His influence is still felt at the ASC today. He volunteered many hours to improve the ASC for the continued enjoyment of its members, regularly repairing furniture and performing other necessary maintenance in the facility. His volunteer work was so noteworthy that he received formal recognition from the City of Astoria. Andy, also fluent in Russian, was recognized as a goodwill ambassador to Soviet sailors during the Cold War. In addition to his many other talents, Andy was a versatile musician and played several instruments at the ASC for members enjoyment.
Recently, the ASC underwent an impressive overhaul, thanks to funding, donations and volunteering through many generous individuals, groups, and the state of Oregon. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February 2016, the culmination of a couple of years of hard work was realized, and the original location re-opened. Click here for that terrific moment of 2016!
With members from as far south as Manzanita to as far north as Ocean Park, WA, we actually serve more than just the City of Astoria. ASC's mission is to improve the way seniors spend their golden years.
We offer to go out and have a good time whether it be field trips to Mt. St. Helens, or just sipping coffee while reading the newspaper down at the center. Please stop by, as all ages 60 and over are welcome. Annual memberships are available at the front desk. We're open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m; and closed on Sundays. There's plenty of parking on the street and back lot.
More info on ASC Building History here.
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Created by Larry Miller and Tom Owen