In the first 12-months of operation at White Swan, the Ranch treated 102 patients. Coming up on Sundown’s 50th anniversary, approximately 120,000 adults, youth, and family members have been treated by Sundown.

1966 - 1968

A group of Yakima businessmen began a plan to develop a residential center for the intensive treatment of alcoholism.  Nothing similar existed in the state, and the need for the program was apparent.  Chronic alcoholics had no resources for the proper treatment of their disease or for the diseases induced by alcoholism.  General hospitals had closed their doors to alcoholics and refused treatment to even those who were in life-threatening physical trauma.  Many alcoholics who were in desperate need of life-saving treatment were admitted under a physician's false diagnosis or, when that ruse failed, were literally “dumped” at the emergency room door and abandoned to the compassion of the hospital personnel.

March 4th, 1968

Sundown M Ranch established itself as the state’s first non-medical intensive residential alcoholism treatment program.  Sundown was first located in an abandoned boarding  school in White Swan.  The original lease was for $1.00 a year.

1968 - 1970

The initial facility  had 25 beds, and a 21 day stay for treatment cost $150.00.  As referrals quickly increased, the capacity was increased to 49 beds.  Women were the largest under served population, and Sundown’s limited space prevented them from having a women’s residential program, so it started providing an intensive day program.


Sundown added another first in the state, a unique inpatient family program.  The program allowed each family to receive individual and group counseling, education, a conjoint session involving all family members and the primary patient, and a final planning session before their return home.  Recognizing the demand and limited available of services to suffering alcoholics Sundown’s Board of Directors, approved a plan to build a new facility.


Construction of the new facility began at the mouth of the Yakima River Canyon.  The new facility housed beds for 48 men, 25 women and 24 beds for family.


The new facility opened on August 6th at 9:30am.


Non-profit Sundown M Foundation was established to promote education, research, and other activities to aid in the ethical and competent treatment of chemical dependency.


To alleviate the shortage of women’s beds, a the new Family Annex was added.  This opened up an additional 24 women’s beds in the main facility, and added doubled the available space for families in the family program. Also during this time a student assistance program was established in the Selah School District.


Relapse program was added as a special component of the inpatient program.


Sundown added a 36,000 square foot Youth facility and 7000 square foot gymnasium.  The Youth Facility has a capacity of 30 young women and 30 young men.


A relapse group was added to the outpatient services.


Sundown constructed an admissions building, relieving the treatment facility of administrative personnel.  Concurrently, a professional internship program exists to guide new employees through the intricacies of certification as a chemical dependency professional.  Sundown also provides tuition assistance to all employees, including our interns, which helps address the financial burdens associate with meeting educational requirements.   It is the first formal program in the state and is widely well received by prospective counselors.


Sundown opened the Title-IV Learning Center, an adolescent day treatment program in the Selah School District.  This program was developed to address the gap in services for adolescents. It allows students to remain enrolled in school while receiving intensive daily chemical dependency treatment.