Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion Awards

Annually during Earth Week, Gorge Owned awards the Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion Awards. These awards celebrate individuals, businesses and students working on innovative, creative solutions to the environmental, economic and social issues facing the Gorge. This year, winners will be announced at the Gorge March for Science on Saturday, April 22 at Rheingarten Park in White Salmon. The March will begin at 10AM with a procession of the species, followed by a science fair, speakers, and presentation of the Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Award winners beginning at 10:30AM. The March itself will start at noon.

Tod J. LeFevre

Tod J. LeFevre

This award is named after Tod J. LeFevre, a longtime resident of Hood River and a true champion of sustainability. Tod passed away on March 7, 2011 when his long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis ended before donor lungs could be found. Among many other things, Tod was a respected civil engineer, a mountaineer, skier, adventurer, innovator and teacher. He launched a solar engineering and installation firm, Common Energy, which is now owned by his wife Marti and Scott Sorensen. Tod and Marti have two children, Cassell and Sutton Bell. We honor Tod and his humble determination to make our community and this world a better place

Volunteer this Earth Day!

Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network
Columbia Riverkeeper
Friends of the Hood River Waterfront Park
Friends of the Columbia Gorge

2017 Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Champion Nominees

Individual Category

Heith England

Owner, Sustain Interiors

Heith has championed and promoted sustainable building in the Gorge since 2006. With little support and funds he started Sustain Interiors, a kitchen and bath shop dedicated to building green. Heith specializes and is a certified American Clay Earthen Plaster representative and teaches do it yourself classes on mixing and application. Making it more affordable for anyone who would like to put clay, a unique, beautiful and grounding product on their walls.

Travis Hardy

Energy Management Technician at Northern Wasco PUD

Travis works very hard leading the PUD’s Low Income Weatherization Program and the Residential Rebate Programs. He is well respected among the community for his hard work, compassion, and tenacity. He helps low income families reduce their utility bills by using local and federal funds to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes while reducing the energy load requirements for future generations of customers.

Cathy Flick


Cathy has been volunteering to help conserve nature for over two decades. She has been collecting data on birds at her banding station for almost 20 years, she volunteers to lead free bird walks for the Larks, has helped lead bird walks for Hood River hobbies, and eagle talks for Friends of the Gorge and Columbia land trust. She also is a master gardener and has volunteered on many projects for native plants and trees including the City of Hood River Tree Committee, HR Soil and Water Conservation educational tour of sustainable gardening, and many more projects. Thank you, Cathy!

Becky Brun

Hood River City Council Member, Board Chair of Gorge Owned

Becky is a truly amazing individual and in the last year has pushed forward more sustainability policy in the city of Hood River than we’ve ever seen, including curbside composting program, solar programs, sanctuary city status, and much more. She is tireless in her efforts to make this town (and this world) the place it could and should be.

John Nelson


Since retiring as a school teacher, John has dedicated his life to serving on numerous boards and in leadership of advocacy and conservation groups in the Gorge. He serves on the board of Friends of the Gorge, in leadership of Protecting Oregon’s Progress, on the N Wasco County school district, as a planning commissioner for the City of the Dalles, on a forestry commission, and more. He also led the community-driven campaign to prevent Walmart from breaking ground in the Dalles years back, has been a tireless advocate for clean air in The Dalles, and is a water monitor volunteer for Columbia Riverkeeper. He exemplifies a life led in service for community and environmental stewardship.

Marla Harvey

Energy & Sustainability Coordinator for Hood River County

Marla is leading a 16-person steering committee to create an Energy Plan for Hood River. This has never been done before and is a herculean task. Marla has stepped up to the challenge in a very big way – demonstrating leadership, poise, determination and organization skills to support our community. Marla has been working with dozens of stakeholders to further clean energy projects in our community – ranging from a community-owned solar project at the City’s public works building to securing a SunShot Solar grant from the US Department of Energy. We hope Marla stays in our community and keeps up the great work!!!

Judy Dutcher

Founding board member, Hood River Adopt A Dog

Since the original Hood River Adopt A Dog (HRAAD) charter in 2007, Judy Dutcher has served as a volunteer, foster, board member, and HRAAD president for a number of years. Judy has worked tirelessly to help meet the shelter goals of reducing the number of lost and stray dogs in The Gorge by providing them with a healthy and supportive safe haven. In addition, and In more recent years, HRAAD has evolved into a celebrated dog adoption non-profit shelter. For over ten years, Judy Dutcher has been a sustaining member of The Gorge dog rescue community, who has been instrumental in creating a healthy and sustainable sanctuary for dogs.

Business/Non-profit Category

Columbia Gorge Women's Action Network

In a very short time, this organization has grown to over 1,800 members around the Gorge who are getting involved in local, state, and federal policy regarding environmental protection, confronting oppression and inequality, improving public education, and inspiring women to run for office.

Columbia Riverkeeper

This award should go to Brett VandenHuevel and the entire Columbia Riverkeeper staff for their stellar year as watchdogs for our Columbia River – lifeline for all of us. Exploding trains, coal in the river, hot fish, river science. Their tireless work ethic, educates, energizes, and just plain gets it done.

Big Winds / Oregon E-Bikes

Jodie Gates is leading an expansion at Big Winds to include Oregon E-bikes to include sales and rentals of electric bikes. By expanding to offer electric bikes in the Gorge, Big Winds will be helping people get out of their cars, reduce traffic and carbon emissions, and create community connections between friends and neighbors.

The Renewal Workshop

Nicole Bassett and her business partner have launched a full circle clothing company that takes used outdoor apparel and washes and fixes it to be resold. They are using a waterless state-of-the-art washing machine and have hired local seamstresses to renew apparel. It saves thousands of pounds of clothes from the landfill, provides good employment, and used clothing at a more affordable price.

Tiffany Anne Studios

Tiffany is a wildly passionate creative soul that cares about the environmental, social and economic impact of where your products are coming from. Tiffany Anne Studios’ mission is to connect customers to the artists and makers that are helping change the way we look at the products we buy. She believes a human based economy is a crucial part of how we better the world. Tiffany strives for beautiful well made goods that help you feel good while supporting the artist and crafts-persons that are giving back to their communities.

Student Category

There were no student nominations this year.