Schemes, Dreams & Teams: A Century of Gorge Protection Efforts


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

6:30 p.m.

Blackberry Hall, McMenamins Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, OR
(view map)
Free. First come, first served. Arrive early! (Doors open at 5 p.m.)
All ages welcome.


The visionaries of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area couldn’t have foreseen the population increases of the Portland area or the explosive growth of outdoor recreation, let alone climate change and wildfire threats. Join us for a dive into the scenic area’s history, conflict and how technology might help all of us keep the Columbia Gorge wild and beautiful for generations to come.

Over a century ago, new roadways into the Columbia Gorge led to audacious schemes to “improve the scenic holdings of the Columbia Gorge” by building the world’s tallest elevator at Mist Falls and polo grounds atop Devil’s Rest. Development proposals like these and others eventually led to the creation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. However, the visionaries of the National Scenic Area couldn’t have foreseen the population increases of the Portland area or the explosive growth of outdoor recreation, let alone climate change and wildfire threats.

As we cannot close the door to the Gorge, Friends of the Columbia Gorge Executive Director Kevin Gorman explores steps to protect the beautiful areas we are all drawn to, and think through our impacts as explorers, travelers and stewards. Can we develop practices to replenish ourselves and the Gorge at the same time? Join Kevin for a dive into the scenic area’s history, conflict and how technology might help all of us keep the Columbia Gorge wild and beautiful for generations to come.

About the Speaker:
Kevin Gorman is the executive director of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and oversees all the activities of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, as well as its land trust, which currently owns 1,400 acres of land. Kevin joined the organization twenty years ago and during his tenure Friends has grown from eight staff and one office to 22 staff and three offices. Kevin helped lead the $5.5 million Preserve the Wonder campaign to protect nearly 500 acres of land and assisted in creating two nonprofits in the Gorge: the Klickitat Trail Conservancy and the Cape Horn Conservancy. Kevin was previously the associate director of Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild) and has served as board president for both the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts and EarthShare Oregon, a workplace giving organization. Prior to his non-profit adventures, Kevin was the creative director of an advertising agency in Detroit, MI.

View McMenamins' webpage for this event.