Who We Are

Gorge Owned endeavors to bridge Gorge communities across five counties and two states, fostering meaningful connections to place and one another. We envision an active and engaged local citizenry, where community members understand the impact of daily choices.

Mission

Rooted in the ethic of sustainability (people + profit + planet), Gorge Owned seeks to nurture and promote the area’s local, sustainable business community, while educating residents about personal impact, and fostering meaningful connections among people and place.

Gorge Owned Staff

Courtney Christenson

Courtney Christenson

Executive Director


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Amanda Lawrence

Amanda Lawrence

Sense of Place, Program Director


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Read Amanda's Bio

Amanda served on the board of Gorge Owned for 8 years before becoming staff at GO in 2014. Amanda is the Sense of Place curator at Gorge Owned. She has lived in the Columbia River Gorge since 2004. She spent many years working for the Northwest Service Academy-Mt. Adams Center as the Environmental Internship Program Coordinator, and and also served as the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the City of White Salmon. 

Amanda is currently the Executive Director of the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. She lives in White Salmon and enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughter and son and working with organizations that are building community within the Gorge.

Program Partners

Kristin Reese

Kristin Reese

Leaders for Tomorrow, Program Director

Read Kristin's Bio

From a small town in Ohio, Kristin moved to Oregon in 1990 to pursue work in environmental education. She has always followed her passions: environmental conservation, human rights, health issues, youth development. She’s worked with various non-profits and political campaigns as a community organizer, fundraiser, event coordinator, etc.

In 1998, Kristin and her husband, Stan Loop, moved to the Columbia Gorge to be closer to family. They lived “off the grid” for six years, before they bought a home in Parkdale, where they and their three cats (Lucy, Gus and Oliver) are currently living happily ever after.

Kristin is an advisor for the Hood River Valley Leos club and serves as vice-president of the Hood River Lions Club. She is also the manager of the Mt Hood Town Hall (community center). She is an emerita Ford Community Fellow (2013-2016) and has been building community with the Ford Family Foundation’s Institute for Community Building since 2005.

For more than 17 years, she has directed all aspects of a unique Leadership program for high school students, Leaders for Tomorrow, teaching students about the value of an engaged community. She believes that empowering young people to create the brightest possible future is the whole point!

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Hear in the Gorge, Producer & Host

Read Sarah's Bio

Sarah Fox is producer and host of the podcast Hear in the Gorge. Her work has appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) and she’s built her career on a desire to discover, understand, and amplify the stories of others. Sarah has produced film and audio stories for businesses, non-profits, governmental agencies, and individuals. And she’s explored wide-ranging topics like tea-farming, wolverines, avant-garde glasswork, and river restoration.

For each episode of Hear in the Gorge Sarah seeks out and interviews an individual(s) with relevant firsthand experience. The personal insights shared in these recordings are the backbone of the podcast. Sarah then combines portions of the interviews with archival audio, music, narration, and on-location sound to create each episode.

The Hear in the Gorge podcast started as a way to share untold or overlooked stories of the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood region. But as Sarah (and podcast listeners) quickly discovered, each episode reminds us that the stories of this place are the stories of us all – no matter where we are.

Listen here!

Board of Directors

Becky Brun

Becky Brun

Board President

Read Becky's Bio

In 2010, Becky launched Gorge Owned Business Network as a program under the Columbia Gorge Earth Center. First as a staff member and now as a board member, she spearheads the GO! Local campaign and Green Drinks networking events and assists with outreach and marketing efforts.

Becky is a professional writer, editor and public relations consultant. She is the owner of Pitchfork Communications, a public relations firm helping small and large businesses tell their compelling stories. Driven by her interest in smart-growth planning and local economic development, she also serves on the Hood River City Council. An avid cyclist, runner, skier and gardener, she lives in Hood River with her husband Jonathan and Dufur the Wonder Dog.

Laura Linn

Laura Linn

Vice President

Read Laura's Bio

A native Oregonian, Laura Linn currently works as the Senior Program Coordinator for VetsWork Environment, an AmeriCorps program of the Mt. Adams Institute in Trout Lake, Washington. Previously, Laura worked as a Senior Education Specialist for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, where she ran school outreach programs to more than 8,000 students.

Before joining FONZ she spent two years working in Namibia for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Her previous board experience includes the Virginia Master Naturalist program and Samuels Public Library.

Laura holds a BS in Zoology from Oregon State University and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Biology through Miami University’s Global Field Program.  She enjoys hiking and backpacking, collecting vintage dresses and hanging out with her nieces and nephews.

Kelsey Alsheimer

Kelsey Alsheimer

Secretary

Read Kelsey's Bio

A writer-organizer-creative type, Kelsey joined the Gorge Owned board to participate in community outreach. Kelsey currently works in administration and marketing for Inter-Fluve at the Hood River waterfront and resides in The Dalles, OR.

Prior to gorge living, Kelsey attended Washington State University where she graduated with a degree in Communication and enjoyed her time as an NCAA athlete, long nights in the broadcast editing lounge and backstage during theatre productions at the audio board. Since then, she has participated as a writer for Envirogorge.com, audio volunteer for CGAC, and hopes to one day finish her children’s book.

Karalee Chabotte
Karalee Chabotte

Treasurer

Read Karalee's Bio

Karalee is Vice President and Branch Manager of Inland Northwest Bank (INB) in the Hood River and Bingen office, and has 25 years of banking experience.

Prior to joining the INB team in September of 2010, Ms. Chabotte was the Branch Manager of the First Independent Bank branches first in Vancouver then the Bingen office.  Prior to the Branch Manager position at First Independent Bank, Ms. Chabotte was Assistant Manager for Bank of America, starting In Mesa, AZ then transferred to Portland, then Vancouver.

Ms. Chabotte worked for Bank of America for 9 years.  Before Bank of America, Ms. Chabotte worked for Key Bank of Oregon.

Currently, Ms. Chabotte resides in White Salmon, WA where she has lived for 8 years.  Ms. Chabotte is a Past President for the Rotary Club of White Salmon/Bingen and a current member of the club, current board member (Secretary) of the Skyline Hospital Foundation, and Volunteer Firefighter for White Salmon.

Cassie Courtney
Cassie Courtney

Board Member

Laura Klement
Laura Klement

Board Member