Sense of Place Lecture Series Archive
Click on a lecture to view the description and video recording.
Recordings of lectures began in Season 11.
Click here to view Lecture Archive Playlist
Season 12 Lineup
OCTOBER 13, 2021: The Unusual Mushrooms of Cascadia
Virtually every habitat found anywhere in the entire Cascadia Region, from southern Alaska to Central California and from the ocean to the west slopes of the Rocky Mountains, can be found within just 40 miles of the Columbia River Gorge.
As a result of this incredible diversity, the Gorge is home to a stunning variety of fungi. Some species are common and found in many parts of the Cascadia Ecosystem, while others are entirely unique to the Gorge. Join Dr. Michael Beug for an introduction to some of this fantastic fungal diversity and learn about how much is still to be discovered.
Michael Beug started mushrooming in 1969 and began photographing fungi in 1973. He has discovered more than 50 new mushroom species and his photographs have appeared in over 80 books and articles. In 1975, he joined the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and the Pacific Northwest Key Council and he specializes in identification of the Ascomycota, the genus Ramaria, and all toxic and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Currently, Michael is researching oak-associated fungi of the Columbia River Gorge, especially Cortinarius species.
NOVEMBER 10, 2021: Rare Carnivores of the High Cascades
Additional Resources: Check out this podcast on wolverines
Two rare carnivores roam the high-alpine regions of the Washington Cascades. Wolverines were once eliminated entirely from Washington, but eventually began to recolonize the region. In 2020, a wolverine and her kits were photographed in Mt. Rainier National Park for the first time in over a century. Also struggling to survive in this harsh landscape is a little known, mountain fox. The Cascade red fox (Vulpes vulpes cascadensis) has called the high Cascades home for half a million years. In fact, they can only be found in the high Cascades of Washington. But despite their native status, this elusive species has gone largely unnoticed. So how do we learn more about these unique species and what can their presence here tell us about the history and future of the High Cascades? Join wildlife biologist, Jocelyn Akins, founder of the Cascades Carnivore Project, as she shares what it takes to research these rare carnivores and what that research may tell us about their chances of survival in American West.
Jocelyn Akins is a wildlife biologist and founder of Cascades Carnivore Project. She studies rare, alpine carnivores, working in collaboration with numerous partners to promote the conservation of carnivores and their ecological communities in the Cascade Range. She earned a Ph.D. in Conservation Genetics from the University of California Davis and has over twenty years of experience in wildlife conservation research. She is a 2021 Wilburforce Leaders in Conservation Science Fellow.
Learn more about the Cascade Carnivore Project and Dr. Jocelyn Akins by watching the video below!
Credit: David and Michael Hanson of Modoc Stories
DECEMBER 8, 2021: Debris Flows from Mount Adams and Mount Hood
Debris flows are rapidly moving, water-saturated masses of rock and sediment that occur naturally on volcanoes like Mount Adams and Mount Hood. Small, storm-triggered debris flows occur routinely and commonly go unnoticed, but larger storm-triggered debris flows can wreak havoc on anything in their paths before depositing thick layers of rock, sand, and mud on valley floors. In November 2006, Mounts Adams and Hood experienced such debris flows. Far larger debris flows, the result of volcanic eruptions or large landslides, have occurred prehistorically on Mount Adams and Hood and have inundated the landscape along the entire lengths of the White Salmon and Hood Rivers. Join Richard Iverson, scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory, for a look at how scientists assess the what, where, how, and why of big debris flows and find out why it’s still so challenging to foretell when the next one will occur.
Richard (Dick) Iverson spent 34 years as a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, and he remains affiliated with the observatory as a scientist emeritus. His work there has focused mostly on the dynamics of landslides and debris flows, with particular emphasis on evaluating hazards downstream from Cascades volcanoes. Iverson grew up in Iowa, received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and moved from Vancouver to Hood River in 2018.
JANUARY 12, 2022: Native Bees of the Gorge
- Plants that attract native pollinators year round
- Oregon Bee Project – Bee Atlas
- What you can do in our backyard to help save the bees!
The Columbia River Gorge is buzzing with spectacular wildlife that most people swat away. But did you know there are over 500 species of bees in Oregon and Washington? Each one is unique and interacts with the natural world in its own way, but bees and other pollinators are more than beautiful and interesting. These pollinators sustain our food and ecosystems – and ultimately, all of us. Join Frances Ambrose Fischer to learn about our native bees, programs that study and protect them like the Oregon Bee Project, and what role you might play in their health and survival.
Frances Ambrose Fischer works for Friends of the Columbia Gorge as the Land Trust Coordinator and is the local organizer of the Oregon Bee Atlas. Frances studied ecology and entomology at Montana State University and researched plant pollinator interactions and climate change. Frances lives in Hood River on a pear orchard with her husband Ben.
FEBRUARY 9, 2022: A Model of Health: A History of Community Health Workers in the Gorge
In the 1980s, a new idea was gaining momentum in the Gorge. It came in response to a familiar challenge – how do we keep people healthy? Does it start and stop at the doctor’s office? How might other factors, like housing or even transportation affect someone’s health? And what role might local leaders play in supporting the health of their community? Maria Antonia “Toña” Sanchez was one of the first in the nation to work as a “Promotor(a) de Salud” – now known as a Community Health Worker. By the time Joel Pelayo applied for the job in 1992, the number had grown to 10 in the Gorge. Today, we have more than 100 trained Community Health Workers, many of whom are state certified, and who serve people from a variety of different backgrounds. Across the country, others are adopting Community Health Worker models much like the one developed in the Gorge. Join Toña and Joel as they share some of their experiences from 30 years as Community Health Workers and find out how they use culture, personal connections, and even music to help people thrive.
Maria Antonia “Toña” Sanchez was one of the first in the nation to work as a “Promotora de Salud” (now known as Community Health Worker), a role she began almost 30 years ago. She has served as the Women’s Health CHW for One Community Health’s (local FQHC) conducting outreach, education and assisting with screening access for Latinas. Toña is an experienced bi-cultural and bi-lingual trainer and has facilitated the CHW “We Are Health” series, one of Oregon Health Authority’s adopted CHW Curricula used to certify CHWs. She is known for her outstanding listening skills and is considered a “healer” among Latino community members. She is a highly respected member of the Latino community and is affectionately known as “Doña Toña”. She has a positive impact on the lives of those she supports and her input has helped form policy and improved outreach services for Latino immigrants at local, state and national level.
Joel Pelayo has worked to provide community health promotion and outreach to the Latino population for decades. He currently serves as Co-Chair for the Columbia Gorge Health Council’s Community Advisory Council (part of our local Coordinated Care Organization). Joel is a registered counselor in the state of Washington, providing treatment for domestic violence offenders. He currently serves as a Lead Community Health Worker (LCHW) for Nuestra Comunidad Sana/Health Promotion Services for The Next Door. As a LCHW, Joel has provided outreach to thousands of Latinos from the Mid-Columbia on diabetes, obesity, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, oral health and many other health concerns. “Don Joel” instills a sense of empowerment, peace and compassion with his co-workers and community members.
MARCH 9, 2022: Rajneeshees in Oregon
An extraordinary time in Oregon history occurred in central Oregon, when a religious sect from India set up an experiment on a cattle ranch outside Madras. In the 1980s, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh presided over a sect that professed self-sufficiency and love that morphed into a tightly-controlled organization that engaged in assassination attempts and plots, orchestrated the largest illegal wiretapping operation in U.S. history, and poisoned hundreds of innocent diners as a way to suppress voter turnout. Les Zaitz was an investigative reporter at the time and he co-wrote a 20-part series about the Rajneeshees that was published in the Oregonian. More recently, he was included in the Netflix film Wild Wild Country, which looks at some of the history behind Rajneeshpuram in Oregon. Les is now the editor and CEO of the Salem Reporter, but continues to speak on the topic of the Rajneeshees and what lessons can be learned today from this long-ago event.
Les Zaitz is a two-time Pulitzer finalist who started his professional journalism career right out of high school. He was hired in 1973 as a general assignment reporter for the Salem Statesman Journal and continued writing as a staff reporter and correspondent while attending the University of Oregon, working for the Springfield News, the Oregon Journal, UPI, and the New York Times. He is a five-time solo winner of Oregon’s Bruce Baer Award, the state’s top honor for investigative reporting and in 2016, Zaitz was awarded the highest honor for career achievement from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2018 he co-founded a digital news service based in Oregon’s capitol, the Salem Reporter, where he is now CEO and editor. Born and raised in Oregon, Zaitz lives on a remote ranch in Grant County, where he and his wife, Scotta Callister, run a small horse/cow operation.
Want to read more? Check out Les’s 20 part series he wrote for The Oregonian.
APRIL 13, 2022: Forests, Wildfire, Timber Wars and Finding Common Ground: A Panel Discussion
Economics or environmentalism? Trees or timber? Spotted owls or mill towns? 30 years ago our public forests became a battleground – where do we stand today and can these public lands overcome their divided history?
One of the most diverse forest landscapes in the Pacific Northwest is encompassed within the Columbia River Gorge. Temperate rainforests in the west transition to arid pine-oak woodlands in the east. These varied forests are all part of a complex ecosystem with an increasingly complex set of challenges. From Spotted Owls and Timber Wars to an unprecedented risk of wildfire – forests have played an undeniable and often contentious role throughout the west.
So how did we get here and what might the future hold for our public forestland in the Gorge? Join us for this special Sense of Place Conversation featuring Jay McLaughlin, Susan Jane Brown, Les Perkins, Erin Black, and moderated by Sense of Place host/curator, Sarah Fox.
Susan Jane Brown is a staff attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC). Her primary focus of litigation is federal public lands forest management, but her practice includes cases involving the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, and other land management statutes. She is a former Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule and is also heavily engaged in collaborative forest restoration in the Upper John Day Basin in eastern Oregon.
Jay McLaughlin is the founding executive director of Mt. Adams Resource Stewards, a community-based forestry organization focused on land stewardship and sustainable forestry in the Mt. Adams region of southern Washington. Much of this work strives to connect local people to efforts to manage our working forest landscape in a way that promotes the well-being of both our rural communities and the forests that contribute so much to quality of life in the region. Prior to that, Jay was a forester for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Yakama Reservation, a high school teacher and volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama. Jay has a master in forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BA in Biology from Whitman College. He lives with his family in Glenwood, Washington.
Les Perkins grew up in the Hood River Valley and graduated from Hood River Valley High School then went on to earn a BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College. Les has owned his own business and worked for a local laboratory as a microbiologist, helped start Farmers Conservation Alliance, a local non-profit organization focusing on energy and water issues, and has been the manager at Farmers Irrigation District since 2015. Les has been a Hood River County Commissioner since 2001 where he focuses on forestry, energy and water issues. Les has been particularly focused on Hood River County’s forestry operations and the intersection with recreation, a local resource economy, and funding of local government services.
Erin Black works on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest where she serves as district ranger for the Mt. Adams Ranger District in Trout Lake, WA. Erin started with the Forest Service in 2002 and has spent her career in various ecosystem planning and management positions on the Mt. Hood National Forest, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the PNW Regional Office. Erin is a native of the Pacific Northwest (with most of her adult life in the Gorge) and appreciates the tension that exists around land management. A good day is when she can get two people who disagree to see the others’ perspective. She is the mom of two school-aged children, who create their own healthy conflict on occasion.
Listen to the Timber Wars podcast to learn more about the history and consequences of this conflict and then join us at Sense of Place on April 13th, 2022 for a panel conversation about our local forests.
*additional speakers may be added.
SEASON 11 EXTRAS
In honor of Season 11, the Sense of Place Team presents a special short film “How to Hunt With a Vegan” featuring Seth Tibbott, founder of Tofurky and November’s guest speaker.
Interested in learning more about Pikas after Season 11 of Sense of Place? Check out this OPB Documentary!
This archive was made possible by the support of
April 14, 2021 - Pikas Under Fire: American Pika Ecology and Behavior in a time of Global Change
Climate change is forcing many alpine species to higher elevations, including American pikas (Ochotona princeps), small rabbit-relatives that typically inhabit high-elevation mountain ranges of western North America. However, despite dramatic elevational shifts and local extinctions in some parts of their range, these animals persist in several surprising habitats in the Pacific Northwest, including the low-elevation rainforests of the Columbia River Gorge and areas severely burned by wildfire. In this talk, Dr. Johanna Varner will describe some of her research on the distribution and behaviors of pikas living in the Gorge and on Mt. Hood, including how the populations have rebounded after recent wildfires. This research helps to advance our knowledge of the true habitat requirements and climate sensitivity of pikas and may inform their conservation and management.
Biologist Johanna Varner studies mountain mammals called pikas, a potato-sized rabbit relative that lives in alpine rockslides. These adorable animals were the inspiration for Pikachu, but their habitat may be threatened by climate change. Dr. Varner studies how some pikas are able to persist in unusual places like the Columbia River Gorge – research she hopes will inform their conservation. Although she is currently located in Grand Junction, CO, Dr. Varner has been working with pikas in the Gorge for over ten years. Dr. Varner holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from MIT and a PhD from University of Utah. In her spare time, she loves to ski and run on trails with her dogs
March 10, 2021 - The Legacy and Promise of Land Grant Universities and Oregon State University Extension in the Gorge
After more than a century in existence, what have we learned from local Extension Services? When Ann Harris interviewed for her position at OSU Extension, she had no idea what a “land grant” university was. She also didn’t know how the Extension service connected to the university, but that’s no longer the case. From the complex history that established land-grant universities to the present day programs that provide research-based support for our economy, what impact have Extension services had on local communities like the Gorge and how have they affected our region as a whole? Join Ann Harris from OSU Extension, as she shares pictures and stories of the local Gorge Extension. From Master Gardener classes to 4-H and food preservation.
Ann Harris is the Open Campus Education Coordinator for OSU Extension in the Gorge. She grew up in Southern California and moved with her family here 23 years ago. “My husband Mike and I came to the Gorge because we were looking for a home where we could envision raising our kids with a true sense of place and belonging in nature and in the community”. Ann has worked in social services and in education and is an active community and church volunteer.
February 17, 2021 - Black Pioneers on the Oregon Trail
If you are interested in learning more, check out these additional resources:
Written records, journals, and oral histories have given us an incredibly detailed understanding of the individuals and families who headed west on the Oregon Trail; what they ate, how they survived, even what they did to make butter while on the trail! But there is one group of pioneers who we still know very little about – the African Americans who traveled the trail. What might it have been like to come to Oregon, the only state in the union to paradoxically declare itself a free state, while also having black exclusion laws on the books? And who are some of the black pioneers that came to the Pacific Northwest and forever changed this place, its people, and history? Join Zachary Stocks as he shares stories of African Americans on the trail and in the Gorge, and find out why there’s still so much of this history yet to be uncovered.
Oregon Black Pioneers is Oregon’s only historical society dedicated to preserving and presenting the experiences of African Americans statewide. Since 1993, the organization has illuminated the seldom-told history of people of African descent in Oregon – inspired by the tenacity of Black Oregonians who have faced discrimination and hardship to make a life for themselves here over the past 400 years. In order to honor the sacrifices made by those individuals, Oregon Black Pioneers seeks to remember their stories and share them with the public.
Zachary Stocks is a public historian, educator, and museum professional from Astoria. Zachary has interpreted the experiences of people of African descent in the Pacific Northwest for over 5 years. He is a former staff member of the Northwest African American Museum and Historical Seaport, a volunteer interpretive ranger at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, and is the new Executive Director of Oregon Black Pioneers, the state’s African American Historical Society.
January 13, 2021 - Magical, Menacing, and Magnificent Wildlife: How to Ensure Their Future in the Gorge
Update! The following resources were shared during the lecture by Bill Weiler:
The Columbia River is home to some incredible wildlife species; some are unknown to many, while others may be common species, with surprisingly fascinating stories. Who are these creatures that share our home? Why are some considered magnificent, and others are feared or even misunderstood? Wildlife biologist and longtime Gorge resident, Bill Weiler, will highlight some of our local fauna and share some hopeful scenarios about how we can keep wildlife thriving throughout the Gorge, especially if we all contribute.
Bill Weiler has lived on 20 acres northeast of Lyle, WA for 30 years. He worked as a wildlife biologist with both the Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish & Wildlife. Bill created the environmental education non-profit Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute in Hood River 25 years ago, and he currently works as the Education Coordinator for the Sandy River Watershed Council. As a wildlife enthusiast, Bill regularly serves as a consultant for Gorge residents needing wildlife surveys or advice regarding animals showing up – sometimes unexpectedly.
This presentation includes a brief memorial for Darvel Lloyd, avid outdoorsmen and lifelong steward of Mt. Adams. For more on Darvel, and his brother Darryl’s commitment to wild places, check out this episode of Field Guide – The Lloyd Brothers of Mt. Adams.
December 16, 2020 - Meet Your Neighbor: A Conversation with Gladys Rivera
Below is a link to a community resource that Gladys shared during the lecture:
What’s it like to grow up in the Gorge? Gladys Rivera considers herself fortunate to have been born and raised in Hood River and over the course of her life here, she’s experienced firsthand the region’s growth and changes. As a bi-racial, bi-cultural, and bi-lingual member of the Gorge, Gladys brings a unique perspective on this place we call home and will share some of her history and experiences in a conversation with Sense of Place host, Sarah Fox. Join us for the conversation and Q & A that follows.
Cómo es crecer en el Gorge? Gladys Rivera se considera afortunada de nacer y ser criada en Hood River y durante el transcurso de su vida aquí, ha experimentado de primera mano el crecimiento y los cambios de la región. Como miembro bi-racial, bicultural y bilingüe del Gorge, Gladys trae una perspectiva única sobre este lugar que llamamos nuestro hogar y compartirá algunas de sus historias y experiencias en una conversación con la Presentadora, Sarah Fox de Sentido de Lugar . Acompáñenos para la conversación siguiendo con preguntas y respuestas.
Gladys Rivera was born and raised in Hood River and was appointed to the Hood River City council in 2019. She has served as a board member for Gorge Grown, a council member for United Way, is a member of Latinos en Acción, and works locally as a preventative health manager focused on underserved communities. Gladys brings a unique perspective on this region and the changes she’s experienced firsthand while serving this community.
Gladys Rivera nació y creció en Hood River y fue nombrada miembro del Consejo Municipal de la ciudad de Hood River en 2019. Ha servido como miembro de la mesa directiva de Gorge Grown, miembro del consejo de United Way, miembro de Latinos en Acción, y trabaja localmente como administradora de salud preventiva centrada en comunidades subatendidas. Gladys trae una perspectiva única sobre esta región y los cambios que ha experimentado de primera mano mientras que sirve esta comunidad.
November 18, 2020 - Klickitat County: The Cradle of Plant-Based Diets
In 1980, Seth Tibbott founded Turtle Island Foods, now the “Tofurky Company”, on $2,500 savings from his 8-year career as a teacher/naturalist. The company’s first product was a tasty fermented Indonesian soy product called Tempeh. Many people, including his midwestern Aunt and fellow elementary school teachers, thought selling moldy soybeans to the meat-centric American public was a very bad idea. For 15 years it appeared the naysayers were right as Seth pursued his dream while losing his shirt as a pioneer of the early plant-based foods movement. With an income of only $300/month, Seth built a 3-story treehouse that he called home for 7 years.
In 1995, also against the advice of his partners, Seth introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named “Tofurky”. The Tofurky brand now includes 43 different vegan products which are sold in 27,000 stores worldwide. Seth has chronicled his “40-year overnight success story” in a new book, In Search of the Wild Tofurky-How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool.
October 21, 2020 -Responding to a Pandemic: An Indigenous Perspective
Below are the COVID resource links that speakers Emily & Chuck shared during the lecture:
News sources have reported on the disproportionate ways that COVID-19 has affected populations of Indigenous descent. Join Emily Washines and Chuck Sams to hear first-hand stories of the different ways local Tribes have responded to the pandemic. Emily and Chuck will also discuss the unique Tribal history of pandemic response and how culture has driven grass-roots action. This conversation will go beyond statistics and headlines to consider the daily lives of Native people as they confront this most recent pandemic.
Emily Washines is an enrolled Yakama Nation tribal member with Cree and Skokomish lineage. She speaks Ichiskiin (Yakama language) and other Native languages. A scholar, with a Master’s in Public Administration, her research and work in film, writing, speaking, and exhibits focuses on the Yakama War, Native women, traditional knowledge, resource management, fishing rights, and food sovereignty. Yakima Herald-Republic lists her as Top 39 under 39. She is a board member of the Museum of Culture and Environment, Artist Trust, and Columbia Riverkeeper. Emily lives on the Yakama reservation with her husband and three children.
Chuck Sams is Cayuse, Walla Walla, Cocopah, and Yankton Sioux. He grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He is the Deputy Executive Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). Prior positions include Environmental Health and Safety Officer/Planner in the Tribal Planning Office for the CTUIR, Executive Director for the Umatilla Tribal Community Foundation, and National Director of the Tribal & Native Lands Program for the Trust for Public Land. He serves as Chairman to the Oregon Cultural Trust, Gray Family Foundation, and Columbia Land Trust. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served as an intelligence specialist.
Sense of Place is partnering with the Confluence Project for this special presentation. Confluence is a non-profit that seeks to connect people to the history, living culture, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices.
April 2020: Rajneeshees in Oregon - Postponed
An extraordinary time in Oregon history occurred in central Oregon when a religious sect from India set up an experiment on an abused cattle ranch outside Madras. In the 1980s, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh presided over a sect that professed self-sufficiency and love that morphed into a tightly-controlled organization that engaged in assassination attempts and plots, orchestrated the largest illegal wiretapping operation in U.S. history, and poisoned hundreds of innocent diners as a way to suppress voter turnout. Why did they come to Oregon and how did they descend into criminal conduct? Local, state and federal officials all were put under enormous pressure to confront the group, and they responded with varying measures of success. What are the lessons even today from those long-ago events? Two-time Pulitzer finalist Les Zaitz is an Oregon native. He started his professional journalism career right out of high school, hired in 1973 as a general assignment reporter for the Salem Statesman Journal. He continued writing as a staff reporter and correspondent while attending the University of Oregon, working for the Springfield News, the Oregon Journal, UPI, and the New York Times. From 1976-1987, he was a reporter for The Oregonian, handling various beats before taking an assignment in 1982 to the investigative team where he co-wrote a 20-part series about the Rajneeshees that was published in the Oregonian. More recently, he was included in the Netflix series Wild Wild Country, which looks at some of the history behind Rajneeshpuram in Oregon. Les is the editor and publisher of the weekly Malheur Enterprise newspaper, an award-winning newspaper based in Vale, Oregon. In 2018, he and a partner founded the Salem Reporter, a digital news service based in Oregon’s capital. He is the CEO and editor. Soon after its launch, Salem Reporter formed a collaboration with two other Oregon news organizations to create the Oregon Capital Bureau, focusing on state government reports. Les leads the team of three reporters as its editor. Les has won state, regional and national journalism awards for 40 years. In 2007, he was part of a team that won the prestigious George Polk Award. He is a five-time solo winner of Oregon’s Bruce Baer Award, the state’s top award for investigative reporting. The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association in 2016 awarded him its highest honor for career achievement – an award not given since 2010. Les lives on a remote ranch in Grant County, where he and his wife, Scotta Callister, run a small horse/cow operation.
March 2020: Salmon People: A Confluence Story Gathering of Native Voices - Postponed
First-person storytelling has a unique power to deepen our understanding of the histories, cultures, and environment that surrounds us. Confluence Story Gatherings are welcoming forums that feature the stories of Native elders, leaders and thinkers, told in their own voices, as a way to explore the interconnectedness of the people and places of the Columbia River system. These events feature video selections of first-person narratives and mini-documentaries, followed by discussions led by a panel of Native representatives. At this Story Gathering, speakers will share personal stories on Native fishing, resource management, and the Columbia River Indigenous cultures that have equally evolved from these practices and also continue to sustain them. Themes will include principles and practice, climate change and restoration. Carol Craig is an enrolled Yakama tribal member, Carol has 30 years of outreach experience related to tribal treaty rights, salmon recovery, tradition and culture. She has been nominated twice for the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership award. Currently, Carol is a reporter/photographer for the Yakama Nation Review and has received a number of journalism awards for her work. Wilbur Slockish is a hereditary Klickitat Chief, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. He serves as a commissioner on the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Wilbur was one of several men who were arrested along with David Sohappy for “illegally” fishing and selling their fish in a case known as “Salmon Scam”. He concentrates his efforts on water quality and health issues related to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. Buck Jones is an enrolled Cayuse member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). He was raised practicing sovereign rights including hunting, fishing, and gathering First Foods. Buck works for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) as a Field Marketing Specialist in the Salmon Marketing Program. This position allows Buck to work on markets, provide training for approximately 600 Tribal Fishermen, and be involved in national and regional Tribal Food Sovereignty Groups.
February 19, 2020: Debris Flows, Dam Removals, and Restoring Degraded Habitat: Shaping the Hood River Watershed Over the Past 30 Years
The Hood River Watershed sustains the Hood River Valley in countless ways – we depend on the river for agriculture, drinking water, recreation, industry, supporting native fish populations, and much more. Natural and human events have greatly impacted the watershed over time and shaped the way we connect with the river and each other. This lecture explored the pivotal events and actions over the past 30 years that have shaped the watershed as we know it today. Cindy Thieman has been the Coordinator of the Hood River Watershed Group since 2012, where she focuses on projects ranging from in-stream habitat restoration, irrigation district upgrades, and fish passage. Before coming to the Watershed Group, Cindy was the Restoration Program Director for the Long Tom Watershed Council in Eugene, where she worked with farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners in the Long Tom to develop restoration projects that improved water quality and habitat. Cindy received a MS in Biology and also in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. Les Perkins grew up in the Hood River Valley and graduated from Hood River Valley High School. He earned a BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College. Les has owned his own business and worked for a local laboratory as a microbiologist. In 2001, Les became the youngest person to be elected to the Hood River County Board of Commissioners, and he is now the longest serving Commissioner. Perkins also helped start Farmers Conservation Alliance, a local non-profit organization focusing on energy and water issues, where he worked for 10 years. In 2015 he became the manager for Farmers Irrigation District.
February 5, 2020: Finnish in the Gorge
In the early 1900s a Finnish community settled in the Hood River Valley. In particular the Annala, Hukari, and Jakku families. Why did they journey to the United States from Finland and then to the mines of Minnesota, plains of North Dakota, and finally to the West coast and the Columbia River Gorge? How did their migration change them as well as the community in which they settled? And what similarities and differences were there between the Finnish experience settling in the Gorge and that of another group, the Japanese? Maija Annala Yasui was born in Hood River in 1950 into an extended family of Finns. She enjoyed the traditions throughout her childhood without knowing that the culture in which she was growing up was different from others around her. The neighborhood of Oak Grove, where her father and extended family raised apples and pears, provided a sense of security and service. You couldn’t ride your bike around the block, Kenwood Drive, Reed Road, and Country Club without encountering an Annala, Hukari or Jakku home. Maija left Hood River to attend college, getting a bachelor of science degree in sociology and criminology from Portland State University. She returned when she married Flip Yasui and began farming and raising a family in the Odell area. She continues to live on Willow Flat Ranch with her husband of almost 50 years, a third-generation farmer, surrounded by her three children and seven grandchildren who continue to work on the farm as well. Maija worked in prevention research and practice for over twenty-five years, in the county as well as at the state and national level. She has written a monthly column for the Hood River News since 1992 recounting many of the stories of her youth, the Annala and Yasui families. She has also worked with author Lauren Kessler, The Stubborn Twig, with Lise Yasui on the documentary A Family Gathering, and her first writing adventure was in a writers’ workshop which resulted in several short stories Aakki Daakki to Zoomorphic, authored by Pat Krussow. Maija’s passion is social justice, working to right the wrong and to create a positive future for those suffering from discrimination and inequality.
November 20, 2019: Forgotten Toxic Waste Dump on the Columbia: The Bradford Island Story
Why are the fish at one of the most popular recreational fishing areas in the Mid-Columbia considered too toxic to eat? For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia’s shorelines at Bradford Island, located near Bonneville Dam. But cleanup has languished and the area around the island is now one of the most toxic sites on the Columbia River. Cancer-causing PCB concentrations in resident fish remain extremely high and the area is also contaminated with lead, mercury, pesticides, and petroleum chemicals. The cleanup story involves many players and perspectives. A panel of speakers will describe the history of Bradford Island’s past, planned cleanup actions, current fish advisories in the area, and what the future may hold if proposed budget cuts for this cleanup are approved. Rebeccah Winnier is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and owns Northwest Fish Hogs, a Columbia Gorge-based fishing business. Ms. Winnier fishes in the Columbia River upstream of Bradford Island and sells salmon and steelhead to local restaurants and the public. Rebeccah lives in White Salmon, WA. Lauren Goldberg is the Legal and Program Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. Lauren’s practice areas focus on reducing toxic pollution and protecting salmon habitat and river communities from energy projects, including oil-by-rail, natural gas, and coal export projects. Lauren lives in Hood River, OR. Laura Klasner Shira joined the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program in 2015 to assist in their efforts to honor, protect, and restore the Columbia River basin. Her work focuses on cleanup of contaminated industrial sites and other environmental issues that impact the Columbia River water quality and aquatic resources. Prior to joining the Yakama team, Laura worked on similar issues as a regulator for the State of Washington and an environmental engineering consultant in Minnesota. In a past life, Laura also taught high school math and science.
October 16, 2019: Traditional First Foods & The Creation Story
Each year, tribes in the Columbia River Basin celebrate the return of the salmon. It is part of an annual First Foods ceremony that honors the tribes’ Creation Story and their unique connection to the Pacific Northwest. This relationship has spanned thousands of years and hundreds of generations and their traditional First Foods give insight into how this coexistence between people and place has endured. Join “Smunitee” Mary Lee Jones as she shares her first-hand experience with Traditional First Foods and her tribe’s Creation Story. Mary Lee is a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. She has coordinated Traditional Food Seminars throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is a traditional gatherer herself. In her professional life, she works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Social Services Representative to those living and working along the Columbia River.