A letter from our Executive Director
Feb. 22, 2021
Willamette Falls & Landings Heritage Area Coalition Board of Directors
P.O. Bo 387
Marylhurst, OR 97036
Dear Board Members:
After five productive and joy filled years as Executive Director it is time to submit my resignation, effective March 15, 2021. As you know I am facing a serious health challenge. And, that challenge is now taking center stage in my life. I need to focus on my recovery and plan for my future with my family.
I have worked to the best of my ability to promote the Mission, Goals and Values of WFLHAC. Over the years I did not just join WFLHAC, I joined in! And you joined in with me. When Tribe’s Public Affairs Director I received a warm invitation from Alice Norris for the Tribe to join in with Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition, as it was then called. I remember how excited I was about the opportunity the Heritage Area held from the region and for the Tribe. I recommended to the Tribal Councill that they sign up ASAP! The Council agreed and soon I was attending as Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy’s alternate. It was so exciting to bring the Tribe to the “table” with the Heritage Coalition. I knew from the beginning it was a great fit for both the Tribe and the Coalition. I joined Alice and Jody and Jim and the rest of you in reading and re-reading that Feasibility Study, finding photos and artwork, and making sure the Tribe was accurately and respectfully represented. It was such a pleasure!
Then, I resigned my position with the Tribe and not long after that I found myself joining in again, this time as your Executive Director. Lucky me. That was in 2015. Together we realized goals, established new ones, and saw our organization evolve. Here is a little sample of what we did together:
- We successfully raised awareness of the Tribe’s presence at Willamette Falls since time immemorial, and what an important and ongoing role it plays in our Heritage story.
- The Tribe agreed to become a Supporting Partner, raising their annual support from $5000 to $15,000 annually. Jon George, thank you for your ongoing support and wise council. It has been a privilege to work with you.
- We made WFLHAC more inclusive by changing our name to include the important story of our upriver partners: French Prairie, Historic Champoeg and the Newberg area. Now I am thrilled to have Rachel Thomas on our Board. I predict bigger and even better Ewing Young Days, and collaboration with the City of Newberg.
- Thanks to Andy Cotugno Metro is a reliable partner financially and as a government.
- We brought the City of West Linn in as a Supporting Partner, at the $15,000 level. And I have been privileged to work with former Mayor Axelrod (always Mr. Mayor to me.) Today we are fortunate to have Mayor Jules Walters representing West Linn on our Board after already serving as Russ’ alternate. Jules has been a staunch supporter of our Historic City Hall project
- Oregon City has also joined as a supporting Partner at $15,000 level. Councilor Denyse McGriff thank you for your advocacy, we now have a signed MOU for ongoing support and collaboration.
- Wilsonville City Council just approved Partner Support at the $15,000 level and is reviewing our MOU. Thanks to Councilor Charlotte Lehan for her Heritage Advocacy and to Board Member Greg Leo for his support. I know this will provide valuable partnership and advocacy as we include Wilsonville as a government partner and work to promote Wilsonville’s Tourism and Heritage vision.
- Our Partner Support and an MOU are currently under review with Lake Oswego. This is also a result of Board members joining in. Thank you Jon Gustafson and Jackie Manz.
- PGE now supports us with a $5,000 yearly contribution and I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Mini Sharma Ogle and Eric Underwood – Thank you! we have supported PGE in their community outreach efforts and meetings regarding the Sullivan Power plant and the island.
- We have a fabulous info booth we are able to set up at community events thanks to our CPP grant from West Linn, Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, Oregon City and Canby.
- Clackamas County supports us as a partner through Tourism at the $15,000 level and we have the fabulous Samara Phelps as Martha Schrader’s alternate. Martha works to make as many meetings as her busy schedule allows. It is such a benefit to have both of them supporting us, not to mention Jody Carson, our treasurer, Tourism Chair, and my booth buddy at countless community festivities. Jody understands the importance of Joining In, even working between her husband’s medical treatments over the last few months. Thank you Jody! And thanks to Claire Met for being such a stalwart volunteer at events.
- WFLHAC has increased presence at community events and increased media coverage. Thanks to all of you who have volunteered at events from West Linn’s Old-Fashioned Fair to Oregon City Days and other wonderful events, remember the Trail Band Dinner and a Show at the EOT? Gail Yazzolino, you are always there as our partner and supporter. Thank you! I can honestly say Jim Mattis has more Trail Band CDs than anyone I know! And what about Jim? Our Past President is generous of his time and his talent and his treasure. We have a revised Board Member handbook coming your way because of his (and Mary’s) efforts.
- Our Heritage Area Management Plan was received and enthusiastically approved by the State Heritage Commission. And SHPO has been a stalwart partner in our Feasibility Study, supporting us with their $5000 annual contribution and our Historic City Hall efforts. Thank you Chrissy Curran! How I will miss signing Irish ditties with you around the worktable.
- We have received word our CDBG grant has been approved for $75,000 to make Historic City Hal more accessible and ADA compliant. Thanks to John Williams, assistant City Manager for his unwavering support.
- The City has now hired a writer to submit Historic City Hall to the National Register of Historic Places, again thanks to Chrissy and to David Taylor who serves on the City’s Historic Review Board.
- WFLHAC has supported our Heritage partners with letters, events, and collaboration We were able to win a grant from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund to help MOOT create an interpretive master plan document for MOOT. I sincerely hope we see that document implemented to help all our partners tell the Heritage Area story, both at Historic City Hall and throughout the region.
- We have collaborated with the Legacy Project to help them achieve their vision. and will continue to assist them in promoting the story of Willamette Falls.
- The Oregon Community Foundation, Autzen Foundation, and Randall Charitable Trust have all lent their support to our Historic City Hall effort .
- We adopted and are enacting our RDEI vision for our Board and for our Heritage Area – continuing to share the stories of ALL the people of the heritage Area. I am excited about the opportunity to share the stories of Tribal people, and the Chinese Emigrants, Hawaiians and others who called the Heritage Area Home. I look forward to readding the enhanced story as we add to our Heritage Area website and materials.
- The National Park Service enthusiastically embraced our Feasibility Study and the Legislation for Congress to establish Willamette Falls & Landings as a National Heritage Area is written and has been shared with Tribes and our Congressional delegation. Thank you Jon Gustafson and Andy Cotugno for your many road trips to include Tribes and to inform our delegation. And thanks to Jon George for never failing to bring the subject up on his trips to Washington DC.
- Over the years we have only failed to meet quorum one time. This is because all of you have chosen to Join In. And we can always count on Yvonne Addington to not only make all the meetings from her home atop Parrot Mountain, but to be our welcoming representative at our Heritage Talks. I honestly believe Yvonne is the Ice Age Floods Institute’s secret weapon. As for welcome, where would we be without Mike Watters and his jovial presence at events. Mike also has an arsenal of party tricks he does not hesitate to share when things get dull Thank you Mike!
- Our website has been redesigned and we send out regular newsletters. Thanks to Shira for her design help on all of this. Shira has joined in since day one of her employment and always gives a little extra.
The list can go on and on. And I want to praise and thank all of you individually and as a board. But the most important thing is this WFLHAC is inclusive and supportive I know National Heritage Area status is within our sites. I may be resigning my position, but I am here to support you in any way I can. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of assistance. I will always join in. Do keep me in your thoughts and prayers. And thank you for what has been a wonderful opportunity. I will keep WFLHAC on my radar and I want to hear from you! Please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via my my cell: 503-704-5880
Thank you for the unwavering support you have shown WFLHAC. Please continue to support their efforts to establish a Willamette Falls & Landings National Heritage Area.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
503-704-5880 • 3305 River Woods Place, Lake Oswego, OR 97034 • email@example.com •