In early July, Friends of the Columbia Gorge lost a special member of our community with the passing of Kris Beam. Losses like these are among the bittersweet realities of my position. It is such a joy to get to know people and so hard to say goodbye.
Kris was a true conservationist with a deep love for the Columbia Gorge. It’s hard to think of a single aspect of our Gorge protection work that doesn’t have her fingerprints on it.
She enjoyed volunteering through our land stewardship program, joined us on many of our guided hikes and outings, and was an active participant in our advocacy work. Kris could always be counted on to send emails to the Gorge Commission or elected officials, sign petitions, and share action alerts, in pursuit of a more protected Columbia Gorge.
Kris was also a generous donor and supporter of our cause. To honor and carry forward her legacy, her family has suggested that memorial contributions go toward Gorge protection work.
After being a part of her (virtual) birthday celebration a few weeks ago, I learned more about how she loved to party and play jokes on people. She was the heart of her friends, family and neighborhood.
Kris was filled with so much joy and playfulness that it was contagious. At the same time, she was intimately familiar with the exquisite contradictions that make us all human: beauty, pain, courage, connection, and, running through it all, the desire to make a mark on the world and change lives for the better.
It's easy to lose track of what really matters and get bogged down by the day-to-day, but Kris prioritized people and knew how much meaning lies in the simple act of allowing yourself to be authentic and present.
I will never forget Kris and the invaluable lessons she taught me!