Board of Directors & Land Trustees
Friends of the Columbia Gorge Board of DirectorsFriends’ Board of Directors includes a diversity of interests and skill sets that intersect the mission, vision, and values of the organization (Note: *Gorge-area resident)
Buck Parker*ChairBuck Parker*, ChairBuck 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.
Pleschette FontenetVice ChairPleschette Fontenet, Vice ChairA native of Houston, Texas, Pleschette moved to Oregon in 2015 and fell in love with the region, especially as she drove through the Columbia Gorge. A connector and lover of life, Pleschette jumped into the Portland civic scene immediately and was soon active with the Junior League of Portland where she serves as its Membership director. Pleschette then joined Friends’ Philanthropy Committee in 2019 and was brought on to our Board of Directors in 2020. She also serves on the Board of Friends of the Children.
Pleschette has over 20 years' experience in the tech industry and currently is an account executive with Lenovo. She loves to travel, especially in Africa, and enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking and the company of her friends. She loves her board service and promoting our mission to let everyone know the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is ours to enjoy and protect.
Donald H. FriedmanSecretary/TreasurerDonald H. Friedman, Secretary/Treasurer
Donald 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.
Donald 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.
John BaugherJohn BaugherJohn'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 also serves on Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust's Board of Trustees.
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.
Joe CampbellJoe CampbellJoe has deep roots in Hood River and a strong passion for the Columbia Gorge. He and his wife, Pat, created Elk Cove Vineyard in 1974, one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected wineries. Today the winery produces over 500,000 cases of wine a year for restaurants across the globe, with sales of a number of wines going directly to support charities working on causes from conservation to hunger relief. After Joe and Pat handed some of their Elk Cove management responsibilities over to their son Adam, they lived briefly near Lyle, WA, where they saw firsthand Friends' work protecting and enhancing the Columbia Gorge. They have been active supporters of Friends' efforts ever since.
A retired ER physician, Joe has served as a volunteer on numerous missions to Arequipa, Peru to provide medical and nutritional support for rural and other populations at risk. He also currently serves on the board of BodyVox, a Portland modern dance company, where he has been active in fundraising.
Geoff CarrGeoff Carr
Geoff 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. His 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 joined Friends' Board of Directors in 2014.
D'na ChaseD'na Chase
D’na is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and grew up on a small farm in Hood River shared with her grandparents. She was raised to care for the land we live on and treat it as sacred.
D’na has over 15 years advertising sales and marketing experience working for the Hood River News, Willamette Week, KEX and KINK Radio. Branching out on her own, she became a marketing consultant to local nonprofits, including Camp Fire USA. Through that experience she was able to share the importance nature plays in young lives and remains passionate about bridging the gap of nature disconnect in our community.
For the past 15 years D'na has owned and operated two seasonal businesses, Tin Cantina, (a traveling vintage bar service for private events) and Rock On Native Design, (a jewelry and Native craft studio). Through her entrepreneurship she’s built relationships with numerous regional BIPOC culture and business support organizations including the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurs Network, (ONABEN), Oregon Native American Chamber ONAC, Portland Prosper and Mercatus.
Shari DunnShari DunnShari Dunn is the CEO/ Principal of ITBOM, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in institutional and organizational coaching around equity, leadership, change management, women in leadership, and workforce development. ITBOM consults with companies as diverse as fortune 500’s, state agencies, and medium to small-sized businesses. Shari is a former nonprofit CEO, attorney, journalist, and foundation funder. Shari was the Co-VP of Power of Attorney Foundation, a sub-grantee of the former Atlantic Philanthropies. She has been quoted in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Non-Profit Quarterly, and more. She is also an adjunct at the University of Portland in the Pamplin School of Business and serves on the Oregon Talent and Workforce Development Board. Her approach is outside the traditional human resources paradigm and is meant to help institutions with a systemic redesign to bring workplace equity. Shari has been awarded Executive of the Year and one of the Women of Influence by the Portland Business Journal, amongst many other awards and honors.
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.
Jim GrubeJim Grube
Jim and his family returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2019, in part to pursue their active enjoyment of the outdoors. One of his first outings was to the Columbia Gorge to visit Cape Horn and the Nancy Russell Overlook, which inspired a deeper dive into the surprising and rich history, stewardship, and preservation of a landscape that should never be taken for granted. Nancy Russell’s biography “A Force for Nature” and hiking outings with his neighbor and Friends Board Member encouraged him to take a more active role in the organization, first joining Friends of the Columbia Gorge's Finance Committee.
Jim joined the Board in 2024, and lives in Portland with his wife Diane and two children, though can often be found exploring in and around the Gorge. With over 25 years in corporate finance, Jim was most recently CFO for late-stage startups, including pet e-commerce company Chewy, and currently serves on several company boards, including GameStop and Carewell.
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.
Kevin HowardKevin Howard
Kevin moved to Washougal, Washington, from Phoenix, Arizona, in June 2019. During the next 18 months, Kevin and his wife, Nikole, fell in love with the pristine beauty of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area. Kevin has built a successful career primarily in commercial banking but has found his calling in climate risk management. Kevin currently serves as an independent consultant for Climate Changes Everything, LLC, an Oregon-based climate risk management advisory services firm. Kevin is a passionate environmentalist with aspirations to offer climate risk resilience, adaptation, and mitigation expertise to the Board. Kevin & Nikole purchased their dream home in March 2021 on the Cascade Head Preserve located in Otis, Oregon.
Gary KahnGary Kahn
Raised in Dayton, Ohio, Gary first discovered the majesty of the Columbia Gorge while a student at the University of Oregon School of Law, where he focused on environmental law. After law school, he was an attorney for the U. S Forest Service for six years and worked on National Scenic Area issues.
After his stint with the Forest Service, Gary was a partner in a small law practice in Portland for 35 years, where he specialized in environmental, real estate, and business law, and was an adjunct professor of law at the Lewis and Clark Law School for 10 years, teaching seminars on environmental litigation. His strong commitment to the protection of wild and scenic lands led to more than three decades representing the Friends and other groups in litigation and other matters. He also served on the boards of directors of other environmental organizations.
Now retired, Gary serves as president of B’nai Brith Camp LLC, which operates overnight and day camps throughout the state, as well as year-round youth programming. Married for 41 years with two children, he looks forward to sharing his love of the Gorge and exploring its many wonders with his two small grandchildren.
Jen LovejoyJen Lovejoy
Jen Lovejoy, Ph.D., grew up on a 10,000-acre wheat and cattle ranch in Eastern Washington in a family steeped in politics and land. Today, Jen lives with her husband and children on Sauvie Island where they farm and operate a family cidery. She is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Portland. She teaches media and journalism courses, quantitative research methods, design thinking, and courses in the leadership program. The Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) chose Jen as the Faculty Member of the Year and she has received “The Difference Award” given by UP student athletes.
Jen came to board as a result of her fascination with the intersection of land use and conservation, media and social media influences and local and regional politics. Her prior board experience includes work in strategic planning and innovation leadership. Jen joined Friends' Board of Directors in 2020.
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.
Barbara Nelson*Barbara Nelson*
An outdoor adventure athlete with a passion for land conservation, Barbara Nelson joined the Friends of the Columbia Gorge board in 2023, adding to her ongoing decade-long service as a Friends' land trust trustee. With a professional background in commercial real estate across the western United States, Barbara brings a wide breadth of real estate transaction expertise to Friends—a skillset that will be invaluable as Friends accelerates its efforts to secure key properties in the Gorge for long-term protection and habitat restoration. Barbara was instrumental in helping Friends secure the Catherine Creek property.
A resident of Hood River, Barbara and her husband Chris have been exploring the natural wonders of the Gorge since moving to Oregon in 1999. Her interests include trail running, mountain biking, gravel racing, skiing, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
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 find him hiking the trails of the Gorge, taking photographs, and riding his bike along the Riverfront Trail in The Dalles. You may also find 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 NobleCarrie Noble
Carrie grew up in the PNW, spending each summer camping across Oregon with her family which cemented an early passion for the wonder and beauty of the state. She has a decade of nonprofit, fundraising and sales experience including working for the OHSU Foundation, DoveLewis Veterinary Hospital, NAVEX, and is currently an Account Executive with FreeWill, working with nonprofits across the U.S. She is passionate about her service with Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and excited to bring together all who share a love of the Gorge in supporting and preserving its mission.
She loves to travel, hike, and build community, and is an active volunteer with the Junior League of Portland. She joined the Friends’ Philanthropy Committee in 2023 and later joined the Board of Directors in 2024.
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.
Kevin PriceLand Trust PresidentKevin Price, Land Trust PresidentKevin joined Friends of the Columbia Land Trust as a trustee in spring 2021 and a board member in fall 2021. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area he moved to Oregon in 1976 to attend Eastern Oregon University. Kevin worked on a Hotshot fire crew, for four years, with the U.S. Forest Service, and started a 34-year career with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), retiring in 2018. During his tenure with OPRD, Kevin was directly associated with, and managed Columbia Gorge state parks for 28 years, living in Corbett for 22 of those years. He’s led efforts to increase community engagement across the state, and worked to increase education opportunities for students of color and underserved communities to experience the outdoors. A Salem resident, Kevin teaches Verbal Judo, nationwide, and currently serves as the board chair of SOLVE Oregon. Kevin also has continued to help expose students to the wonder of the Columbia Gorge and actively works with Martin Luther King Elementary School, the Oregon State Park Trust (Ticket2Ride program), and Friends' Great Gorge Wahoo education program with St. Andrews Nativity School. Kevin enjoys golf, exercise, and the outdoors, but family is first and foremost.
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 biographies above)John Baugher
David Michalek, Secretary/Treasurer*
Kevin Price, President
Other Land Trustees
Pat CampbellPat CampbellPat 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.
Natalie EdwardsLand Trust AdvisorNatalie Edwards, Land Trust AdvisorNatalie Edwards hails from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) and spent time in the forest with her father at a young age. She attended Tuskegee University (Alabama) and earned a B.S. in environmental science and currently finishing up graduate school at Troy University (Alabama). Natalie worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 20 years in Alabama, Georgia, and Oregon.
Natalie joined the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust in 2021 and is active in the Portland area with the Junior League of Portland. She is also an executive board member of Portland Backpack. Natalie enjoys the outdoors, traveling, reading, and playing the violin in a local adult orchestra.
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.
Rick Ray*Land Trust AdvisorRick Ray*, Land Trust AdvisorSince 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.