The Beginning

1975 – 1985

"Ferguson, Johnson and Wellman opened its doors on December 1, 1975.

Its quarters were the abandoned penthouse on the roof of Portland’s historic Pacific Building on Southwest Sixth and Yamhill. The firm was staffed by the three wives of the principals of the firm and no wages were paid in the initial year of operation. In 1975, public confidence was the lowest since the Great Depression. We were at the tail-end of Watergate, losing President Nixon. We had recently devalued the dollar. We were at the end of the Arab oil embargo and at the height of the Soviet Union. So Norb thought that might be a good time to start a company."

– Joe Ferguson

"We had a lot of confidence to start a company. We transitioned from a commission-basis to a fee-basis, which enabled us to start working with clients right away. Starting something new was also about control, at least in my mind. I didn’t want someone from New York telling me what to pay my staff.

I liked the idea of us making decisions in the morning while we were shaving."