The Columbia-Willamette Chapter of the ASSE, as it is known today, has had several name and area changes though out the years. In December of 1941, a group of 25 safety engineers from the Portland area gathered for the purpose of forming a society of safety engineers. They called their organization the Portland Society of Safety Engineers. On January 20, 1943, the Portland Society of Safety Engineers was admitted to the American Society of Safety Engineers. The group’s name was changed to the Portland Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers.
The large geographical area made it difficult for members to attend meetings and for the chapter to interact with members living further from Portland. The Eugene Section was created in 1972 to help alleviate this logistical problem. The Eugene Section was the oldest of what would become five different sections plus two student sections affiliated with the Portland Chapter of the ASSE. Before 1978, the Central Oregon Section and Southern Oregon Section (sometimes called the Medford Section) would be formed to serve portions of the Chapter too far away to be served by the main body in Portland.
On July 1, 1982, the Mt. St. Helen’s Section was created to meet the needs of members residing in Southern Washington. A vote of the membership changed the Chapter name from the Portland Chapter to the Columbia-Willamette Chapter. Then on July 1, 1989, the Eugene Section along with parts of the Central Oregon Section formed the Cascade Chapter of the ASSE. Next, the Medford Section became the catalyst for the Southern Oregon Chapter which was chartered on October 7, 1993. The Santiam Section formed August 28, 1997 to serve members in the Mid-Willamette Valley area of the state.
Student sections have been active over the years at both Oregon State University and Mt. Hood Community College.