A fifth generation Oregonian, Patty Keene grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon where her father worked as a fish biologist for the State. She watched the last stands of old forest fall from the ridges and streamsides. Her father, as a scientist, witnessed and documented the ensuing destruction of critical salmon spawning grounds. Along with the other citizens of Coos Bay, Patty and her family experienced firsthand the results of the unrestricted industrial exploitation of the surrounding forest.
Years later, an eminent OSU professor would document this avoidable tragedy in his book "Hard Times In Paradise".
Patty came to the University of Oregon to study forest and park management, graduating in 1975. She has been an active community volunteer for many years, working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Relay For Life, and currently with the Make A Wish Foundation. Patty balances her volunteer work with her job as a seasoned real estate broker in Eugene, specializing in first time home purchases.
Witnessing the increase in deforestation around Eugene and being fully aware of where it will lead, Patty became an active forest conservationist. In 1991, she helped her husband Roy start the Public Forestry Foundation, PFF. Working first as a volunteer, she spent several years as the full-time office manager on a half-time salary. Patty coordinated the activities of three staff people, six foresters, and twice as many interns.
Patty has traveled extensively through the western forests and has established many connections with rural people and communities. She understands first hand the travesty of private forest liquidation, rampant log exports, and unfair tax subsidies. Patty serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for Our Forests.
Roy Keene, a third generation Westerner, is a public interest forester with 40 years of experience. His public interest work began with challenging herbicide use in federal forests in 1972. In 1983, Roy received the Wilderness Society’s “Environmental Hero” award for his unique leadership in establishing two heavily timbered wilderness areas in Southern Oregon.
In 1991, Roy founded Public Forestry Foundation (PFF), a volunteer group of public interest foresters with a mission to reform public forestry. Under his direction, PFF designed the first federal ecosystem management strategy for the 60,000-acre Ft. Lewis Forest in Washington; the first industrial sustainable forestry certification system for the 100,000-acre Collins Forest in North California; and the first truly low-impact forest restoration operation on the Umatilla Reservation in NE Oregon.
Roy has argued for forestry reform on Bill Moyer's “Listening To America,” Day One's “Timber Theft,” and PBS’s "Critical Habitat”. He co-produced an award winning educational film "Forests For The Future.” A consummate activist , Roy put yew tree wastage on national television as a women's health issue; partnered with the legendary Martin Litton to stop logging in the Sequoia National Forest; exposed fraudulent public forestland exchanges; and raised many other exploitative issues on public lands.
Roy continues to produce provocative opinions, radio talks, and convincing videos. Impatient with mainstream conservation’s lethargy and compromise, he continues to illuminate politically unpopular but vital issues like industrial forest liquidation, rampant log exports, and timber tax subsidies.
David grew up in the corn and soybean monocultures of northern Iowa but from an early age was attracted to trees and forests. Visits to the forests farther north and east in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan revealed that very little of the original native forests were left and almost no larger old trees were left. The timber industry had long ago liquidated them.
Moving out west to Montana in 1975, then to Oregon 10 years later, provided a broader range of forest ages and types. An avid outdoorsman and explorer, it soon became apparent to David when he moved to Oregon with his spouse, Dee Tvedt, that there was something very different going on in Oregon. Continuing to climb mountain peaks, he discovered that there are very few places in the forested regions of the state where you can climb a peak and not have numerous (sometimes over 100) clearcuts in view. Further explorations in the forested areas of Oregon, driving many thousands of miles of backroads, exploring off-trail, and hiking many trails chopped up by clearcuts, clarified the on-going liquidation that is happening to Oregon native forests. Through all these experiences and through further researching Oregon economic and forest issues, David is very committed to the mission of “Our Forests” and is clearly not a fan of the timber industry’s monoculture plantation approach and the ongoing liquidation of native forests.
David has a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry/Resource Conservation and has worked with the Forest Service and BLM along with having also worked in the timber industry in a sawmill and a plywood plant. David has done wilderness preservation work dating back to 1974, and recently has worked with the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Coalition the last several years to help gain protection for this invaluable wild Coast Range native forest remnant. In October of 2012, he guided a group with Oregon U.S. Senator Merkley and his family to the Devil’s Staircase waterfall. David has extensive experience with off-trail exploration of wild areas and has explored this trail-less wild area extensively along with leading many guided off-trail hikes into the area and elsewhere.
David is a professional photographer and his photography has been helpful in promoting protection of the Devil’s Staircase and other areas. Also an RN for the last 21 years, David sees the importance of people’s health, forest health and healthy communities as essential for all our lives here in the forested regions of Oregon and elsewhere.
Dee grew up on a farm in the intense corn and soybean monoculture of northern Iowa. Because the lands are so productive for these valuable crops, other values are neglected. From an early age, Dee loved and connected with trees. Through exposure to the forests in the Mid-West, the Rockies, and the Pacific NW, Dee has expanded her appreciation and understanding of forest issues. She moved with her spouse, David Tvedt, to Oregon in 1985. She has explored thousands of miles of forest back-roads, explored extensively off-trail, and hiked many trails that have helped expose the forest abuses going on in Oregon and elsewhere. Dee has co-led dozens of hikes bringing many groups of people into wild, off-trail, often endangered forests since 2007, including guiding Senator Merkeley into the Devil’s Staircase waterfall in the October of 2012.
Dee sees Western Oregon forest lands as somewhat similar to productive Iowa farmland…so productive for crop production (trees in this case) that other values have been hugely neglected. Narrowly-defined economics have ruled at the expense of other equally important values that make for degraded environments in Iowa and Oregon (and elsewhere).
A Registered Nurse for the past 30+ years, Dee sees analogies with approaching forest health from the same holistic approach that best serves human patients: The forests are not unlike human beings – all parts are necessary and help to keep the entire entity healthy and functioning in top form. Native forests are like diverse human bodies – in no way like corn, soybean and tree monocultures.
Samantha Chirillo, Assistant Director
Samantha is a big picture thinker, scientist, and networker rolled into one. She has substantial cross-disciplinary training, with an M.S. in Biology (2005), M.P.A. degree (2009), and Nonprofit Certificate (2009) from the University of Oregon (UO). Samantha completed her B.S. in Microbiology with a Minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2000) from Pennsylvania State University. She worked at the Mayo Clinic and National Institutes of Health. Her research was published in two peer-reviewed science journals. In Community Planning Workshop at the UO, she facilitated public involvement in rural Tillamook County's 20-year Strategic Vision update process. Samantha completed her Master's thesis on challenges to the implementation of non-herbicidal weed control in city parks.
Samantha has proven her salt as a community organizer and media liaison in Oregon since 2002 with a variety of environmental and social justice causes. She received the "Organizer Award" in 2009 from the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (AFT/AFL-CIO Local #3544). Samantha participated in grassroots lobbying on Capitol Hill regarding Sen. Wyden's Eastside forest legislation (2008) and climate change (2009). She co-organized the Clearcutting the Climate Conference in 2008. In 2010, Samantha attended Oregon Women's Campaign School on a scholarship, learning how to manage and win state ballot initiatives.
Samantha has worked on several major forest issues and campaigns since 2006: "salvage" logging the Biscuit Burn, pesticide poisoning, old growth timber sales in the McKenzie watershed, Elliott State Forest logging increases, privatization of Common School Fund forestlands, industrial biomass energy, the BLM's Western Oregon Plan Revisions, and current O&C forest legislation and export expansions. Samantha co-founded Our Forests and coordinated the "Conversations on the Forest" event series. She is currently Coordinator and Steering Committee member of the nationwide Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign with Energy Justice Network. Samantha enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and herbalism.