Board of Directors
Mary Rose Navarro
Richard Van Buskirk
President: Judith Ramaley
Vice President: Debbie Elliott
Secretary: Merril Keane
Treasurer: Bob Sternberg
Communications and Marketing: Tammy Spencer
Conservation: Lynn Herring
Education: Merril Keane
Executive: Patrick Slabe
Finance: Bob Sternberg
Development and Membership: Mark Greenfield
Sanctuaries and Facilities: Allan Solares
Information regarding how to recommend members for nomination to serve on our board of directors is located at the bottom of this page.
Judith Ramaley, Board President
Dr. Judith A. Ramaley is President Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Public Service at Portland State University in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and President Emerita of Winona State University. From 2005-2012, she served as President of Winona State University (WSU) in Minnesota and Professor of Biology. From 2001-2004, she was Assistant Director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at The National Science Foundation (NSF). During her NSF service, she held a presidential professorship in biomedical sciences at the University of Maine and was a Fellow of the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy. She served as a Visiting Senior Scientist at the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. Dr. Ramaley was President of The University of Vermont (UVM) and Professor of Biology from 1997 to 2001. She was President and Professor of Biology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon for seven years from 1990-1997.
Dr. Ramaley holds an appointment as a Senior Scholar with the Association of American Colleges and Universities and a consultant for the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AASCU). She is also a member of the Board of Second Nature, an organization committed to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society through the transformation of higher education and a member of the Board of Campus Compact of Oregon and Portland Audubon Society. She has worked with preK-12/higher education collaborations for many years and has a special interest in civic and community engagement. She serves as an advisor to several projects that focus on improvements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and a quality education for all students.
Debbie Elliott, Vice President
Debbie Elliott was first introduced to birds and nature while “helping” her grandfather feed Blue Jays in-shell peanuts on his deck railing and calling out for bobwhites in the Spring. Although she grew up in Maryland, she moved West for college and then to the Pacific Northwest for the nature our region has to offer.
Debbie recently retired after nearly 25 years of working in business with renowned consumer goods companies, including 19 years with Nike where she held numerous leadership and strategic planning positions across the company’s global supply chain. Since retiring, she has used her professional skills to consult at Mercy Corps, mentor women in business, and serve in leadership roles for local non-profit organizations focused on the environment and local food. She currently serves as Board President for Portland Farmers Market.
She loves the outdoors and spends time traveling, hiking, kayaking, and birding.
Bob Sternberg, Treasurer
Robert “Bob” Sternberg is a veteran corporate executive with more than 40 years of senior management experience in the telecommunications, software and healthcare industries. He has served as Chairman, CEO, COO, and CFO in various companies throughout his career, during which he has led finance, accounting, human resources, and administrative activities. In addition, Bob has over 20 years of board and advisory service to nonprofit organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest that work in social service, health care and entrepreneurship. Bob is currently an interim member of the ASoP board and also serves on ASoP’s Finance Committee and Investment Committee.
“I have great respect for Portland Audubon’s conservation and education efforts and would like to assist in furthering ASoP’s endeavors in these areas.”
Merril Keane, Secretary
Merril is a business attorney with the law firm of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, whose practice covers general business transactions, international business and trade, and compensation matters. As a lawyer, Merril frequently works with nonprofit organizations and is well acquainted with their unique issues. Merril enjoys birding (especially in her backyard) and Portland’s natural areas. A Portland native, she has benefited from Portland Audubon’s work since childhood.
“Portland Audubon helped shape my appreciation for our birds and wildlife, and I am committed to doing my best to further the organization’s mission and impact within the community.”
Eric Block is a vice president with Metropolitan Group, an international strategic and creative agency based in Portland, Oregon that works solely with social purpose organizations. He is a strategist, facilitator and writer who has consulted with state and federal agencies, nonprofits, foundations and socially responsible businesses. Much of his work is with groups focused on environment and sustainability, with a focus on conservation, as well as the arts, culture and creative expression sector. His work with Metropolitan Group included leading the rebranding efforts for Portland Audubon.
Prior to joining Metropolitan Group in 2008, Eric served as a communication officer for the global relief and development agency Mercy Corps. He was a spokesperson, secured earned media coverage, wrote and edited stories for the website and marketing materials, traveled to emergency response efforts that included post-earthquake Pakistan and New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, coordinated community outreach and engagement, and supported fundraising efforts. Eric received his Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from University of Minnesota.
Amanda Jordan Brainard
Amanda (along with her husband Colin) is a second generation family owner of Backyard Bird Shop. Amanda comes to Portland Audubon with over 15 years of mediation experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Amanda also has a background in working with non-profits as a city Grants Manager and has served on numerous BODs. Combining her past work with nonprofits with her love and passion for birds and our native wildlife is a natural fit for involvement with Portland Audubon.
Amanda enjoys feeding her backyard birds, grounding herself by spending time on our local nature trails, and helping others connect and care about nature. Amanda believes that connecting with nature in their community helps folks make behavioral changes which support and protect our natural spaces and wildlife. Amanda has enthusiastically participated in the Wild Arts Festival and looks forward to Birdathon each year, when her team bonds in their shared love of nature.
“I look forward to helping support Portland Audubon as we work together to spread our wings and remove barriers to allow more people to connect with nature.”
Cynthia Carmina Gómez
Cynthia Carmina Gómez is the Executive Director of the Cultural Resource Centers and faculty in University Studies at Portland State University. She has a Master of Fine Arts in nonfiction creative writing and a Master of Science in education. Previously, Cynthia spent a decade directing leadership development initiatives in the Latino nonprofit sector. She is the recipient of the Governors’ Gold Award in Civic Leadership and a Fishtrap: Writing and the West Fellow. She is also a co-editor for the literary journal Kithe.
Cynthia was born in Camp 52, Arizona, a small migrant community beyond the outskirts of Phoenix, and raised in Yuma on the U.S. Mexico border. A native Spanish speaker, Cynthia is also a dual U.S. Mexican citizen. She moved to Portland in 1993 where she lives with her partner and two children. She enjoys birding on Sauvie Island, cooking, and documenting the stories of ordinary people’s extraordinary lives.
A former Board President, Mark returned to the Board after 24 years bringing historical perspective and his skills as a retired land use lawyer. Creator and co-leader of the Lagerhead Shrikes Birdathon team, Mark has volunteered for the Birdathon and Wild Arts Festival almost annually for about 30 years. He is Chair of the Development Committee and has hosted the Legacy Circle gathering at his home for the last several years. Mark served on the Search Committee that resulted in the hiring of Nick Hardigg as Audubon’s new Executive Director, and he was a co-leader on Audubon’s birding trip to North Carolina in 2016.
“The Portland Audubon community is like family to me. I truly enjoy the company of people who care so much about native birds and other wildlife and their habitats.”
Vicente S. Harrison serves as the Emergency Manager for the City of Portland Parks & Recreation and the bureaus first ever full-time African American Park Ranger. While at Portland Parks Vicente was nominated and received “Everyday Heroes – KATU News” in addition to a Unit Commendation from Portland Police for his emergency management and public safety efforts.
Vicente has also worked as Sales and Operations Manager for Coast Industries doing business as Empire Security and Coast Janitorial established in 1957 was one of Oregon’s oldest African American businesses. Before joining Coast, Vicente served as Case Management Coordinator for the Vancouver, Washington School District #37 Impacting Kids First Program providing comprehensive prevention based services for over 500 youth in SW Washington where he was nominated as a “Hero” of Vancouver Schools 2001. Vicente is a graduate of William Jennings Bryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his bachelor’s degree in the field of IS-Psychology from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.
Inspired by a leadership class and family, Vicente wrote and published a children’s book called “My Nature Exploration,” to encourage all children, but even more children of color to get outdoors. Vicente is also a former student athlete and basketball coach but loves to spend as much free time as possible birding and hiking with his family in tow.
Vicente resides in Portland with his wife, Rachel, son Vicente Harrison II and daughter Harper Adele Grace Harrison.
Roberta brings more than 35 years of professional natural resource planning experience, and related project management and community engagement expertise. During her 25 years with the City of Portland, Roberta’s worked on complex, collaborative, and controversial projects including regional water supply and conservation plans, updating the City’s natural resource inventory, creating a new citywide tree code, strengthening regulatory protections for fish and wildlife habitat and the urban forest, promoting bird-safe building design, and elevating the role of nature and green infrastructure in City policies and plans to address climate change, equity and environmental justice, and community health, livability, and resilience. She has been inspired to continue working on some of these efforts as a volunteer since retiring in 2016.
Roberta also brings first-hand experience with many Portland Audubon programs. She has assisted with Raptor Road Trips, and with husband Karl, enjoyed Portland Audubon trips to Cuba and Baja California. Roberta has served as a Wildlife Care Center “Wildlife Solutions Counselor” since 2017, advising the public, helping with volunteer training, and adorning the WCC white board with colorful drawings of birds cared for there. She also assisted at the Nature Store, co-led a “sing-along” at our Solar Eclipse fundraiser at Oak Haven, and completed her first Birdathon. Roberta was appointed to the Conservation Committee in summer 2019. Roberta loves hiking, rafting, birding, making music and art, cooking, gardening, traveling, and time with family and friends, including their 2 indoor (w/catio) cats!
“As a Portland Audubon board member, I look forward to supporting this extraordinary organization as it takes on the opportunities and challenges of our times, and journeys toward a bright future.”
Colleen has been fascinated with birds and nature since she was a child growing up in Illinois on the Mississippi River. It wasn’t until graduate school at Montana State University though when she really caught the twitch for birding. Her love of birds brought her to Portland Audubon where she began volunteering in 2014 at the Wildlife Care Center for baby bird season. Since then she has volunteered in many different areas, but her annual favorites are Bird-a-thon, Christmas Bird Count, and Swift Watch.
Currently, Colleen is a Biology and Environmental Science Educational Technology Specialist at Vernier Software & Technology. She loves helping teachers find new and exciting ways to use data collection technology to get their students excited about science. Prior to Vernier, Colleen taught Biology and AP Environmental Science in Houston, TX. Educating children about nature and the world around them is something Colleen is very passionate about and is a strong reason she enjoys volunteering with Portland Audubon
Ruth came to appreciate birds after listening to bird song recordings in her 3rd grade classroom. Now an enthusiastic birder, she appreciates the value and importance of Audubon programs that bring people together with nature.
Ruth holds a Ph.D. in Community and Human Resources and recently retired from a career in organizational development and adult learning. During her career she served on several nonprofit and professional boards, and was president of two Portland area boards. In addition to currently serving on the Portland Audubon board, Ruth volunteers as a trip leader for the Sierra Club national outings program. She and her husband, Hal Busch, have participated in numerous Audubon field trips, classes and ecotours, raised funds through Birdathon, and are members of the Portland Audubon Legacy Circle.
“I am committed to support Portland Audubon in engaging people from all walks to enjoy and protect the natural world.”
Mary Rose Navarro
Mary Rose Navarro joined Metro, the regional government, in 2007 to establish the Nature in Neighborhood Capital Grants program after voters approved the Natural Areas bond measure that protects natural areas and safeguards water quality. As the program coordinator, Mary Rose combines her creative thinking and collaborative problem-solving skills with a sincere interest in working with diverse communities to support nature projects that are truly responsive to local needs. Before joining Metro, Mary Rose organized grassroots tree plantings for Friends of Trees and coordinated citizen engagement for Portland Parks & Recreation. Mary Rose holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BS in Landscape Architecture from Purdue University.
Mary Rose and her husband Ron have been active Audubon supporters and volunteers for nearly three decades, participating in the Wild Turkey Birdathon team, Wild Arts Festivals, urban conservation programs and the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. Together with their two children, the family actively explores Oregon’s natural beauty through hiking, biking, surfing, and of course, birding.
Linda Neale’s involvement with Portland Audubon began before she was born. Her uncle, Norbert Leupold, was an early president of Oregon Audubon Society, and her stepfather, David Marshall, was a wildlife biologist and long-time board member. She is interested in strategic planning, and reaching out to groups that may have resisted the environmental perspective to our global issues. Linda has been actively involved with the environment in Oregon for many years. She helped coordinate Portland’s Earth Day activities in the 90s.
She is the founder and former executive director of Earth & Spirit Council, a nonprofit whose mission involves helping people reestablish their spiritual connection to the Earth. She is author of the book The Power of Ceremony: Restoring the Sacred in Our Selves, Our Families, Our Communities. Linda had a 30-year career as a school psychologist and family therapist. She has also been a board member for the Navajo Nation chapter of National Organization for Women, Harney County Arts in Education Foundation, and Earthday Oregon. She is married to Rod McAfee and maintains a home in Portland and a ranch in Harney County, where her ancestors homesteaded.
Lizzy is a staff attorney with Advocates for the West in Portland. She focuses on representing conservation organizations in federal litigation over public lands, wildlife, and natural resource conflicts throughout the America West. Prior to this position, she worked on water pollution, complex land use, endangered species, and open government litigation as an associate attorney for a private law firm in Seattle. Lizzy has served on the board of directors for a local conservation organization for several years and has experience working and volunteering with young students in the outdoors through camps and a non-profit gardening program.
“Audubon’s leadership on conservation issues and its efforts to educate the next generation of conservationists are impressive. I would be honored to help the organization serve natural and human communities across Oregon.”
Prior to retiring in October 2016, Patrick was employed at its inception by New Season’s Market. As Operations Director he has had decades of experience in retail business management, and he has incorporated programs that helped meet that company’s sustainability and safety goals. A long- time supporter of conservation, he is an avid birder. Patrick joined the board in October 2014, and he currently chairs the Sanctuaries Committee.
“There is much more to be done, to protect and to improve our natural environment. I am impressed with Portland Audubon’s accomplishments over the past one hundred years, and I wish to devote more of my service to that cause.”
For six years, Allan has been an active and influential volunteer at Portland Audubon. He has served as the coordinator of the volunteer admissions team at the annual Wild Arts Festival, and has served actively on the board’s Sanctuaries and Facilities Committee, focusing on implementing pedestrian safety initiatives for the Cornell campus, working on the design team for Marmot Cabin, and now serving on the design team for a major renovation of our Wildlife Care Center. Allan has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and worked for the California legislature on budget and policies for environmental programs in the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Upon moving to Portland, he worked in the DEQ Superfund program as a senior policy analyst.
Tammy Spencer served in multiple organizations as a marketing and communications leader. This included her most recent position as Vice President of Marketing and Communications & Chief Marketing Officer at the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette. She also previously held the position of Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at PSU Foundation and Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Pacific University. Tammy brings a wealth of strategic knowledge and expertise in the areas of marketing and communications, brand management, digital strategies and business operations. A long-time supporter who is passionate about the Portland Audubon mission, she is an enthusiastic birder and has a strong interest in protecting our natural habitat. As a board member Tammy continues the legacy of her father, Ronald Leyden Spencer, who was an active, engaged and instrumental member of the board and volunteer for many, many years.
Jasmine Shanelle Streeter, DVM
A nature lover, avid gardener and veterinarian, Dr. Jasmine Shanelle Streeter’s unique background and skill set will be a strong asset for the board. Dr. Streeter is passionate about advancing the mission of Portland Audubon and our Wildlife Care Center, bringing diversity, and encouraging her network and peers to do the same. Dr. Streeter earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University in 2011 and completed a laboratory animal medicine residency at Oregon Health and Science University in 2018.
She now sees small animals and exotic creatures as an Associate Veterinarian for WellHaven Pet Health. Dr. Streeter is passionate about education, empowerment, and wellness, and focuses her time on educating youth and the community through her monthly articles in the Skanner newspaper and various social media platforms.
Rich Van Buskirk
Rich Van Buskirk is Chair of the Environmental Science department at Pacific University in Forest Grove, where he teaches undergraduate courses in conservation, restoration, GIS and natural history. His research includes student surveys of elk foraging, collaborations with the Forest Service on coastal meadow restoration and a long-term exploration of American Kestrels and their relationship with Red-tailed Hawks. Dr. Van Buskirk’s research not only addresses ecological questions, but also serves to introduce the next generation of scientists to the challenges of conservation.
Dr. Van Buskirk is active within the nonprofit world, serving on the Board of the Tualatin River Watershed Council, a stakeholder group of natural resource organizations. Rich is also an officer for the Raptor Research Foundation, a scientific organization founded to disseminate research, and serves on the board of Coastal Raptors, a regional organization that promotes the conservation of Pacific Northwest birds of prey. He is excited to bring his knowledge and experience with conservation to Portland Audubon.
Recommending Board Members
Each year in March, our Board elects its new Directors from a slate of candidates. Directors are limited to serving two consecutive, 3-year terms, with committee chairs allowed to extend service for additional 1-year terms. The Board Affairs Committee welcomes recommendations for candidates by sending an email in care of our Volunteer Manager, Vicky Medley (firstname.lastname@example.org), on or before January 15.
Additionally, members may directly nominate a candidate by submitting a petition signed by 10 or more members to the Board Affairs Committee by no later than January 15th. Candidates nominated by petition will automatically be placed on the election ballot. Please note: qualified candidates must be current Portland Audubon members. Petitions may be sent in care of our Executive Director, Nick Hardigg, by mail or email (email@example.com).
For more background on our elections and bylaws, please see the March 2019 issue of the Warbler. Thank you.