Friends of the Columbia Gorge Board of Directors and Land TrusteesFriends’ Board of Directors includes a diversity of interests and skill sets that intersect the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge Board of Directors (click photo to view bio)
Geoff CarrBoard ChairGeoff Carr, Board ChairGeoff moved to Portland from Washington, DC in 1981 seeking a richer quality of life and access to the great outdoors. He has been hiking in the Columbia Gorge since he arrived and as a recent retiree, his hiking days have grown exponentially.
Geoff recently retired from a career of serving consumer-owned utilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Geoff’s understanding of the energy market and the role energy development play in the Columbia Gorge is one of the reasons he was asked to join the board. Geoff came joined Friends' Board of Directors in 2014.
Debbie AsakawaVice-ChairDebbie Asakawa, Vice-ChairDebbie lives her passion for the Columbia Gorge like few others. She spends more than 50 days a year hiking old, familiar trails and exploring new trails, and enjoys connecting people to Gorge landscapes and communities. She created Trailmix, a women's outdoor activity group, and has led hundreds of people on day hikes and multi-day trips. She lives out the philosophy of Friends’ founder, the late Nancy Russell, that the best way to build support for Gorge protection is by taking people out on the land.
Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a master of business administration degree. She works as a technical editor and joined the board in 2013. In addition to her board duties, she serves as a hike leader and participates in stewardship events. She lives in Portland with her husband, Steve.
Kari SkedsvoldSecretary/TreasurerKari Skedsvold, Secretary/TreasurerKari grew up in Montana and spent most of her young life outdoors. As she considered moving to Portland, it was the drive through the Columbia Gorge that helped “seal the deal” for her as the Gorge provided the much needed "air to breathe" if she was to be a city dweller. Today, Kari and her husband Bob and their two daughters spend as much time as allows in the Gorge and surrounding areas.
Fascinated by the Missoula Floods and excited about Friends' Gorge Towns to Trails project, Kari joined Friends’ finance committee in 2011 and the board in 2013. As a certified public accountant and financial advisor, Kari has helped build our finance committee to deal with the ever-growing complexities of the organization. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Montana State University.
Pat CampbellPat Campbell
Pat grew up in the Hood River Valley in Parkdale at the base of Mt. Hood. Her parents were orchardists and her mother was a botanist whose life’s work was photographing the flowers of the Columbia Gorge. Pat spent many enjoyable hours discovering the botanic wonders of Catherine Creek and the Rowena loops when the lands were still privately owned.
Pat’s love of the outdoors and agriculture led her and her husband Joe to join a handful of Willamette Valley wine pioneers in the early 1970s. Pat and Joe created Elk Cove Vineyard in 1974 and they have since entered wine lore for their outstanding contribution to the Oregon wine industry. As Pat and Joe handed some of their Elk Cove responsibilities on to their son, they lived briefly near Lyle, WA and Pat saw firsthand the amazing work Friends was doing to protect and enhance the Columbia Gorge. Eager to join that effort, Pat became a board member in 2013.
Greg DelwicheGreg DelwicheGreg moved to Corvallis, OR in 1980 to pursue his Masters Degree in water resources and environmental engineering at Oregon State University. He fell in love with the Gorge the first time he saw it on a raw, cold November day shortly after moving to Corvallis. After graduate school he moved to Portland to begin his professional career, first with the Army Corps of Engineers and then with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Greg's entire professional career has been dedicated to the Columbia River, and years of recreational pursuits have also furthered his strong personal connection to the river.
Before retiring as BPA’s Deputy Administrator in January 2016, Greg oversaw BPA’s wildlife mitigation-related land acquisition program and its aquatic habitat restoration activities, including numerous projects in the Gorge. He was one of the lead negotiators of the 2008 Columbia River Fish Accords, a 10-year commitment to significantly increased Columbia basin habitat restoration funding as part of multi-faceted strategy for mitigating adverse impacts of Columbia River dams to salmon and steelhead.
Greg and his wife Laurie split their time between their century old home in Northeast Portland and their log home in the Hood River Valley that they built in the early 1990s. They have two adult daughters who share their parents' strong passion for the outdoors and protection of the environment.
Gwen FarnhamGwen FarnhamGwen is a third-generation Oregonian who has married her passion for the Columbia Gorge with her business experience and interest in community service. She is happiest when she is outdoors and is grateful for the opportunity to be on the board of an organization focused on ensuring that the Gorge remains an unspoiled treasure for generations to come.
Gwen had a long career with Levi-Strauss & Co. as a national sales manager and has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit world where she has served on numerous committees and boards, including the Library Foundation Board, the Library Advisory Board, the Multnomah Athletic Club Board and the Fruit & Flower Daycare Board. Gwen lives in Portland and joined the board in 2014.
Don FriedmanDon FriedmanDon is an avid Gorge hiker who brings knowledge gained through decades as an attorney and CEO focusing on executive benefit plans, corporate governance, and a variety of other business issues. He retired after 20 years (15 as president/CEO) at M Benefit Solutions and spent many years as a business and tax attorney.
Don grew up in St. Louis and holds a B.A. from Duke University, a Law degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in Taxation from New York University. He has been a Friends’ member for over a decade and is also currently on the board of directors of p:ear, a Portland nonprofit that mentors homeless youth, as well as NorthStar Clubhouse, a mental health recovery program and day facility for adults living in the Portland area.
John HarrisonJohn HarrisonJohn has been hiking, dining, and working in the Columbia Gorge since 1980. As a reporter for the Columbian newspaper in the early 1980s, John covered the creation of the National Scenic Area and met Friends’ Founder Nancy Russell and others affiliated with the organization. In 1990, John became the information officer at Northwest Power and Conservation Council where he works in the policy arena of energy, fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. He is the author of an almanac-style history of the Columbia River, and A Woman Alone, a book about Mona Bell, a mistress of Sam Hill, the visionary behind the Historic Columbia River Highway and co-founder of Maryhill Museum.
John joined the board in 2015 and lives with his wife Dawn in Vancouver, WA. They are the parents of two grown sons.
David Michalek*David Michalek*David's dream of living in the Gorge began on a windsurfing trip in the 1980s. Growing up in Texas, where most land is privately owned with minimal land use controls, David has a strong appreciation for the value public land and zoning bring to communities. David's first exposure to Friends was on a hike; his activism with the organization began when he collected coal dust and attempted to capture live action video of the coal trains polluting Gorge waterways.
Like many, David is concerned over the destruction and extinction caused by the dominant culture and recently joined the Board to help protect our local treasures. He graduated from the University of Texas with a BA and is a qualified CPA. He currently lives in Hood River with his wife Beth. Since retiring several years ago (his last commerical venture was leading one of the nation's largest solar companies), David has been kiteboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding and hiking in and around the Gorge.
Patty MizutaniPatty MizutaniPatty’s passion for the environment dates back to high school; the wonder and awe of the natural world were instilled in her by an inspirational biology teacher and were continued at UC Berkeley where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology.
Living near the Columbia Gorge, with its magnificent beauty, varied microclimates and unique geology, became a dream come true for Patty. A very early memory of a Friends hike was with the late wildflower expert Russ Jolley whose book Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge became a constant companion on future spring hikes. Now in retirement, Patty has the opportunity to rediscover the Columbia Gorge and to dedicate time to its conservation and protection.
Patty moved to Portland in 1991 with her husband and daughter after completing medical school and radiology residency training in Washington, DC. She was a body imaging fellow and then staff radiologist at Oregon Health Sciences University until 1998, at which time she entered private practice with Vancouver Radiologists in Vancouver, WA.
Annie MunchAnnie MunchAlthough originally from the East Coast, Annie fell in love with the Gorge landscape as a teenager on summer visits. After college and graduate school, she moved to Portland and worked in architecture and urban design, which led her to landscape design.
Annie, who joined Friends' board in 2017, has also served on the boards of Chamber Music Northwest, the Junior League of Portland, the Oregon Historical Society, the Rowing Association of Portland and the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. She and her husband Ernie often take their two oldest grandsons, ages 5 and 6, hiking in the Gorge.
John Nelson*John Nelson*John was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and moved to Oregon in 1969. He bought a farm near Eugene where he and his wife raised their family and practiced organic gardening. He spent most of his career as an educator, including 21 years as an elementary school teacher on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
John now resides in The Dalles and is active in the civic affairs of that area. He is a board member on The Dalles Watershed Council, a volunteer water-quality monitor for Columbia Riverkeeper, an elected school board director for the North Wasco County School District D-21, and is an appointed planning commissioner for the city of The Dalles. When he is not busy with those affairs, you will ï¬nd him hiking the trails of the Gorge, taking photographs, and riding his bike along the Riverfront Trail in The Dalles. You may also ï¬nd him pulling up invasive plants in numerous watersheds on the east end of the Gorge and joining clean-up crews in the various regional parks.
John has been an active member of Friends of the Columbia Gorge since shortly after his retirement in 2008 and joined the board in 2014.
Carrie NoblesCarrie NoblesCarrie grew up in an American mining camp on the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes, which instilled in her a lifelong devotion to wilderness, environmental issues and historical preservation. Carrie and her late husband Buddy have been Friends members for many years, active in stewardship and advocacy. Carrie enjoys delving into the history of the Northwest and the Gorge and the geological history that shaped this land and can often be found snowshoeing and hiking in the Gorge with her Bernese Mountain Dog Sammy.
Carrie’s career has been spent in the financial services sector, and for 25 years she has served as a professional trust officer. Carrie joined the board in 2015, lives in Portland and has two daughters and 10 grandchildren.
Buck Parker*Buck Parker*Buck grew up in Hood River; his memories include trips into Portland before I-84 was built and drives back and forth to his grandparents’ ranch near Heppner, OR, seeing the yet-to-be-submerged Celilo Falls along the way. Although he already knew the Gorge as a place to hike and camp, a deeper appreciation of its amazing ecological diversity was sparked by a high school biology teacher who used field trips and plant identification contests to turn botany into a competitive sport.
Buck spent most of his professional career in San Francisco with the nonprofit environmental law group Earthjustice, including ten years as executive director. Buck and his wife retired to the Hood River Valley in 2014; he joined the Friends board in December 2017. He also serves on the boards of Pacific Environment and Earthjustice and volunteers his time for several organizations and causes in the Hood River area.
Lisa Berkson PlattLisa Berkson PlattGrowing up in New Mexico, hiking, skiing and riding horses in a dynamic landscape was an essential part of Lisa's family life. She developed a passion for protecting wild places and in high school participated in statewide hearings to support the creation of national wilderness lands. After arriving in Oregon, she discovered the diverse beauty and grandeur of the Columbia Gorge and has been walking its trails ever since. In the spring, wildflower and endemic species identification is a particular interest of hers. Lisa is a member of the Portland Garden Club and shares a long, rich legacy of advocacy for the future of the National Scenic area.
Now retired, Lisa served as an arts administrator in the field of arts education for a number of organizations including the Oregon Arts Commission and the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Lisa joined the board in 2017 and currently serves as chair of the Board Affairs Committee.
Mia PrickettMia PrickettMia's interest in the Columbia Gorge stems from her heritage: She is descended from Chief Tumulth, the first Chief of the Watlala band of Chinook Indians, as well as the celebrated Kalliah Tumulth (Indian Mary), the chief's daughter. Mia's family resided in the Gorge until the early 1900s. As an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Mia feels a natural desire to see the greatness of the Gorge preserved for future generations. Mia brings to the Board of Directors a decade-plus track record of developing and strengthening professional client relationships and fostering collaborate efforts between partners, as well as providing a Native perspective and voice for the Gorge’s well-being. Mia joined the Friends board in April 2017 and lives in Lake Oswego, OR with her husband and two children.
Vince Ready*Vince Ready*Vince first discovered the Gorge as a windsurfer in the early 1990s and moved to Hood River in 2009 for the community, quality of life and abundant recreational opportunities. He spends most weekends outdoors with his family backpacking, mountain biking, snowboarding, windsurfing, and photographing the Gorge's incredible scenic beauty. He is passionate about protecting the Gorge from threats such as coal and oil, and is grateful for the vision and tireless efforts of all who came before him.
Vince brings a wealth of marketing and brand development experience to Friends’ board as he advises the organization on marketing, social media strategies and technology. Vince graduated with a bachelor of arts from Whitman College and has served on the board since 2013.
Meredith SaveryMeredith SaveryMeredith and her husband Bill have spent many, many hours in the Gorge hiking, bird watching, wildflower stalking, and simply enjoying the open space and natural beauty. She sees the accessibility of this national treasure as both an opportunity and a threat.
Meredith moved to Portland from Philadelphia in 1981. Prior to her 2001 retirement, her 30-year professional career was devoted entirely to non-profits, first as an employee working in administration and fundraising, later as a consultant specializing in strategic planning and board development. Friends of the Columbia Gorge was one of her clients in the late 1990s. Meredith joined the board in 2013 and lives in Portland.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trustees
The land trust is defined by the IRS as a 509(a)(3) support organization designed to support the mission of Friends of the Columbia Gorge. As a support organization, a majority of the trustees also serve as board of directors of Friends of the Columbia Gorge.
Board-Serving Land Trustees (see member biogaphies above)John Nelson, President*
David Michalek, Secretary/Treasurer
Other Land Trustees
John BaugherLand Trust AdvisorJohn Baugher, Land Trust AdvisorJohn's love of nature started in his childhood while roaming the rolling pastureland, ponds and woodlands of his family's farms in northwest Missouri. He gained an appreciation for travel, mountain landscapes and hiking while stationed in Bavaria, Germany, and this inspired him to move to the Northwest after his military service.
John's career in federal service with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Bonneville Power Administration included positions that have provided a diverse background in large real estate acquisitions and management. As a Project Manager with BPA's Fish and Wildlife Program, he oversaw many land acquisitions and salmon habitat restoration projects, some of which were in tributaries to the Columbia Gorge.
John is an active volunteer for the Columbia Land Trust and board member of the Clark Conservation District.
He hikes regularly in the Gorge with a hiking group. He is especially excited about the Gorge Towns to Trails initiative to expand hiking opportunities in the Gorge.
Dustin KlingerDustin KlingerDustin grew up in the Gorge, graduated from Stevenson High School, and still tends his great-grandfather’s family property in Skamania County. He is an original trustee of the Land Trust since its formation in 2005. Dustin is a real estate, farmer cooperative, and family business transaction attorney active in Oregon and Washington. He and his wife Mary and three children enjoy hiking and visiting family in the Gorge, as well as battling the scotch broom and Himalayan blackberries on their property. Dustin is a graduate of University of Notre Dame (including a year at Sophia University in Tokyo) and University of Washington School of Law.
Barbara NelsonBarbara NelsonBarbara joined the land trust as a trustee in 2013. With a professional background in commercial real estate working on projects in Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah, Barbara wanted to use her transaction knowledge to contribute to something more meaningful and long term. With her interest in land conservation and a passion for outdoor adventure in the Gorge, it was a natural fit to join the land trust. Barbara splits her time between northwest Portland and Hood River and spends as much time as possible enjoying all the Gorge has to offer. Her interests include trail running, cycling, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, skiing and spending time with her family - husband Chris and their two teenagers Nikki and Conner and their dog Sherman.
Rick Ray*Rick Ray*Since 1987, Rick has lived in the Scenic Area on a small farm near Corbett, OR. He and his wife Anne can often be found exploring the Gorge and introducing friends to very special places there. He was fortunate to grow up with 500 head of cattle on a large farm which is now publicly-owned open space. Rick spent his career at the junction of technology and storytelling, working in local television, software, website design, and marketing. A Friends member since 1982, he served on the Friends' board from 1993-2016, and became a land trustee in 2010. For Rick, the biggest challenge we face in the Gorge is conserving and enhancing a magnificent landscape that sits so close to a growing metropolitan area.