Jamie Shull, came to Friends from California and still distinctly remembers her first encounter with this iconic place she had never heard of. She came north to visit her mother who lived in Portland and went for a drive in the Gorge to Mary Hill with her Mom and sister. "Jaw dropping!" was the way she describes it. "I could not believe the rugged, beautiful and wild landscape I was seeing. I fell in love with it immediately."
Shortly thereafter, she moved to Portland with her husband to help care for her mother and spent a lot of time camping and hiking in the Gorge as part of her healing process for her struggle and loss. She fondly recalls camping at Viento which even with the train so close by she found fun, beautiful and a great escape. Spending time in Hood River also was and still is a favorite past time. As her "sweet spot" in the Gorge, she finds it to have a great vibe with a balance of outdoorsy, fun places to visit and so much to do.
When reflecting on what brought her to Friends she says it really fit with her values to protect and preserve the Gorge, a place she wants to protect now and for future generations. "My hopes for the future of the Gorge is that more people will have access to it, to know its beauty and wildness, but I am concerned that it could get loved too hard. There has to be a balance to preserve the wildness." Friends work to find that balance is a big part of the reason she remains a devoted supporter.
She also really admires Nancy Russell and finds the idea that this very driven woman saw into the future and had the ability to create a barrier to the destruction that would invariably come with the completion of I-205 very inspiring.
She felt it was her responsibility to be a part of this generation's work to step up to protect the Gorge. She became very concerned when the Mosier oil train derailment occurred in 201x. "I have close friends that live there and I want to do what I can to make sure they are happy, healthy and safe. A man-made disaster is something I fear and feel can be avoided because of the work Friends does."
She decided one of the best ways to be a part of the solution was to make Friends a part of her estate plan. After her husband passed in 2016 she began to think of her own legacy for her son and for future generations. "After attending the legacy planning seminar at the annual meeting at Skamania a few years ago I decided I wanted to do something positive and helpful with our wealth and making Friends a part of my estate was the perfect way to do it."
Thank you Jamie, we are grateful for your commitment and vision!