For many years, Columbia Christian College in Portland, Oregon, had operated as a four-year college serving the northwestern region of the United States. Because of financial problems, however, the school had not kept up with payment of bills and salaries and its regional accreditation association pulled their accreditation. This not only meant that its academic work was less transferrable, it also took Columbia off the list of schools where students could use their federal financial aid. All together, this meant that the school would close.
The Board of Columbia Christian earnestly sought help from other Christian universities. Oklahoma Christian president Terry Johnson was sympathetic to their plea and sent a team from the Oklahoma Christian campus to visit Columbia while it was in its final semester. The team reported that there was a beautiful campus with several nice buildings and that there was a strong interest in keeping Christian education available in the northwest. The patrons there, however, were not interested in a two-year program that would force students to transfer to a faraway Christian university. This would mean that many of these young Christians would not return to strengthen churches in the northwest. The team reported to President Johnson that a four-year school with a limited number of majors could be operated, but that the past debt of the college would have to be cared for by the existing Columbia Christian Board.
After a long period of negotiation and study, the Oklahoma Christian Board of Trustees agreed to operate a branch campus in Portland on the campus of the former Columbia Christian. The North Central Association agreed that the accreditation of Oklahoma Christian in Oklahoma City could extend to that campus if close ties and supervision were maintained. After a year in which no school operated, the new branch campus opened in 1994 under the name Cascade College. Its enrollment grew to more than 300.