× Close
I Need Help Donate

Our History

Legacy of Hope

It was 1949 when John Van Diest, Sr. looked with compassion at the hungry, destitute men struggling on the streets of Portland and shared his lunch. It happened so often that his wife, Tress, began making extra sandwiches for him to pass out to broken men.

They then began serving soup out of their car…

This eventually evolved into a simple soup kitchen on Burnside Street. John and Tress purchased the groceries themselves to make a pot of soup to share. Afterward, John would share with them about God’s love.

From those humble beginnings, Portland Rescue Mission was born. By 1954, that kitchen had grown and moved to its current location at 111 W. Burnside Street.




Burnside Shelter

Est. 1949





Shepherd’s Door

Est. February 2003



The Harbor

Est. June 2013



Community Houses

Est. August 2017


Today Portland Rescue Mission serves men, women, and children in seven locations: Burnside Shelter, The Harbor, Shepherd’s Door, three community homes, and our Drive Away Hunger location.

Our ministry includes a wide range of programs designed to meet a hurting person at their point of need and walk beside them toward their journey home.