Nathan Baker, Staff Attorney
Nathan joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2000 and became staff attorney in 2001. As staff attorney, Nathan is responsible for managing all of the organization's legal efforts to protect the Columbia Gorge.Nathan is licensed to practice law in both Oregon and Washington. He has edited and written for several legal publications on environmental and land use topics. While studying at Lewis & Clark Law School, he served as student body president and worked as a law clerk for the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center and as the Law School's alternative transportation coordinator.
Peter Cornelison, Field Representative
Peter joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2003 as our field representative. As field representative, Peter is responsible for building support and activism among Gorge residents for protecting the Columbia Gorge. He is a Hood River resident who has been active in a number of local conservation causes and organizations including the successful campaign to prevent a super Wal-Mart from locating in Hood River. Since 2006 he has been on the board (and served as President since 2009) of the Hood River Valley Residents Committee, a land-use citizens group dedicated to preservation of the farms and forests of the Hood River Valley. During this time he founded the Hood River Harvest Ride, an annual bike ride that attracts 400-plus riders. He has also been on the board of the Hood River Waterfront Community Park, built and funded by volunteers which is now owned by the City of Hood River. Prior to moving to Hood River, Peter managed a small family-owned manufacturing business.
Kevin Gorman, Executive Director
Kevin joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 1998 as executive director, after serving as associate director of Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild). As executive director, Kevin oversees all the activities of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. During Kevin's tenure as executive director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge has added its land trust and two field offices, completed a $4.5 million land acquisition campaign and increased its net assets from $750,000 to $11 million. Kevin also assisted in creating two nonprofits in the Gorge: the Klickitat Trail Conservancy and the Cape Horn Conservancy. Kevin is also past board president of the Earth Share of Oregon, a workplace giving organization. Prior to his non-profit adventures, Kevin was the creative director of an advertising agency in Detroit, MI.
Stan Hall, Content Specialist
As content specialist, Stan is one of the voices of the organization, writing for our social media and fundraising appeals. Stan came to Friends in 2012 with a background in journalism and the educational publishing industry. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, a city not generally associated with smart growth and conservation, Stan moved to Oregon in 1997 and remembers being awestruck by the Gorge’s natural, unspoiled beauty and impressed by its coexistence with a major metropolitan area. In addition to his work with Friends, Stan is a freelance film reviewer for the Oregonian.
Maegan Jossy, Outdoor Programs Coordinator
Maegan joined Friends in 2010, bringing a background in program development and community outreach as a Recreation Program Supervisor at Hillsboro Parks & Recreation. Maegan organizes Friends' hiking program, stewardship activities, and youth program to promote personal recreational and stewardship responsibility. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Hillsboro Schools Foundation and volunteered as a hut warden with the Department of Conservation in New Zealand. A native Oregonian who grew up on an agricultural farm in the Willamette Valley, Maegan is an outdoors enthusiast, has a deep appreciation for the Gorge's inspiring beauty, and looks forward to becoming a wildflower expert.
Michael Lang, Conservation Director
Michael joined Friends in 1993 as Forest and Land Use Coordinator and has served as Conservation Director since 1995. Michael oversees all aspects of our monitoring and litigation program, as well as working with allies and the media to promote Friends' priorities and playing a key role in our lobbying efforts. Michael has intimate knowledge of the Management Plan that governs the Gorge, having reviewed development proposals and worked with County planners and Gorge Commission staff throughout his tenure here. Prior to joining Friends, Michael directed campaigns for several electoral candidates and voter initiatives.
Samantha Lockhart, Conservation Organizer
As conservation organizer, Samanatha is responsible for building support and activism among Portland/Vancouver area residents for protecting the Columbia Gorge. Sam joined Friends in 2011 after completing a year-long training program for environmental organizing that included extensive on-the-ground experience in rural, ballot, and student organizing. While earning her bachelor’s degree in public policy at the College of William and Mary, Sam chaired the Student Environmental Action Coalition and coordinated the Greening Williamsburg Coalition. Sam is grateful to get to do such meaningful work with this incredible group of staff and volunteers!
Kate McBride, Land Trust Manager
Kate, a third-generation Hood River native, joined Friends in May 2006. As land trust manager, Kate oversees the acquisitions and management of the land trust's 900-plus acres. She brings intimate land use knowledge from her previous 13 years as a real estate agent in the Gorge. Kate served for over 7 years helping with land use decisions as a planning commissioner for the City of Hood River and was appointed to the Hood River City Council in 2012. As co-chairman of Citizens for Responsible Growth, she helped stop the proposed Wal-Mart megastore in Hood River.
Nanita Sammons, Finance and Operations Director
Nanita joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2012. As finance and operations director, she oversees the day-to-day and long-term finances of the organization, as well as the operation of the organization's three offices. Nanita has served as a consultant and interim executive and finance director at numerous nonprofits since 2001 and prior to that for 14 years with Intel Corporation's Finance and Accounting Department. She has an undergraduate degree in music education from St. Olaf College and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Purdue University. A Montana native, Nanita moved to the Portland area in 1987. She loves the Gorge for its diverse landscapes from the lush green western end to the dry rolling hillsides in the east.
Rick Till, Conservation Legal Advocate
Rick joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2006 and serves as conservation legal advocate, weighing in conservation issues affecting the Columbia Gorge. Licensed to practice law in Washington, Rick is responsible for commenting on development applications and assists in appealing land use decisions. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he received a B.A. in Philosophy from Washington State University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School.
Renee Tkach, Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager
Renee returned to Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2011 as the project manager for Gorge Towns to Trails, a project that supports land protection, recreation enhancements and economic development. Renee originally was the organization's outdoor program coordinator, but then left in 2010 to serve as development outreach director for Hells Canyon Preservation Council. The organization lured back with the launch of Gorge Towns to Trails. Renee is also a founding member of Cape Horn Conservancy and serves on the board of Trailkeepers of Oregon. Her enthusiasm for the Gorge and the people that enjoy it is contagious. Renee is eager to share with the public the ways Friends is working to promote more hiking opportunities in the Gorge.
Sandy Wright, Development Director
As development director, Sandy is responsible for the organization's fundraising efforts with its members and major donors. She joined Friends of the Columbia Gorge in 2009 as Development Director after working in similar positions with The Trust for Public Land and Three Rivers Land Conservancy. Sandy is recognized by the Association of Fund Raising Professionals as a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Professional) for her accomplishments in the field. Prior to shifting her energies to the nonprofit arena she worked for more than 10 years in business development and management in the environmental field.