Our Board has extensive experience in the fields of forest management, watershed conservation and viable timber economies. We have been meeting since 2015 and collectively have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to our shared mission.

Our Board

Denise Barrett, Executive Director

Denise Ann Barrett is a visionary, strategic, collaborative, and mission-driven executive. She brings more than 25 years of experience developing, leading, and managing more than a dozen complex organizations and programs in the public, private, and non-profit spheres in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the U.S., including at local, regional, and national levels. Her creative efforts have helped strengthen local food and forest system value chains, increased sustainability, enhanced community resilience, and improved conditions for populations under emergency duress and displacement, oppressed by unjust systems and structures, struggling with high-risk environments, or recovering from civil war and natural disasters.

Denise comes to Forest Bridges following a ten-year stint at the City of Portland building and managing the collaborative, consensus-driven Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (rdpo.net) in the five-county Portland metropolitan region. There, Denise managed a complex, dynamic and inclusive structure and strategic process supporting dozens of local and regional governments, special districts, businesses, and local organizations, to agree on and advance a unified mission, vision, and program of investments to enhance disaster preparedness and resilience for a region of 2.4 million people.

From 2020-2021, Denise was part of the regional multi-agency coordinated response to COVID-19 and the Labor Day wildfires. During that time, she also helped the region’s fire agencies advance their urban-rural interface wildfire mitigation planning work and the RDPO to deepen its equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts, including building partnerships with community-based organizations to improve disaster preparedness and resilience for BIPOC and other COVID-19 disproportionately impacted communities.

Prior to the RDPO, Denise served as executive director of the Southwest Virginia-Northeast Tennessee-based Appalachian Sustainable Development, whose mission focuses on advancing sustainable forestry and local food systems development. She helped the organization through a critical strategic change process to set them on a more solid organizational footing.

Throughout her career, Denise has applied and honed skills as a creative and nimble change leader/process facilitator, systems planner, cross-cultural communicator, and integrator across multi-sectors, including community-driven development, local governance/leadership development, public health, water and sanitation, education, sustainable/regenerative agriculture and agroforestry, disaster resilience/preparedness, emergency management, and humanitarian protection/human rights.

Denise holds a Master’s in International Administration from the School for International Training in Vermont, with an emphasis on community development, and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. She has also studied healing science/energetic healing at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in Florida, and water science and healing with water at the Masaru Emoto Organization in Japan. Denise started career in screenwriting in 2021, drafting two full-length movie scripts. She has moved to Roseburg with her Nepali dog, Tiki.

Rick Sohn, Secretary

Rick Sohn holds a BA in Biology, an MS in Tree Physiology, and a PhD in Forest Pathology and Mycorrhizae, with a minor in soils. Rick is a Roseburg native, with a strong passion for the forests of the northwestern United States, and he trained and worked in the fields of reforestation, silviculture and forest biology for over five decades. He retired as CEO of Lone Rock Resources Company in 2008.

He has served and often chaired the boards of various organizations including Oregonians for Food and Shelter, the Watershed Council of the Umpqua Basin, Oregon Forest and Industry Council, Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Resources Legal Center and the Douglas County Museum Foundation.

Rick initiated the Forest Bridges concept by inviting the collaborators together in 2015. He envisions that through this process, O&C and other BLM forests can be managed in a more holistic, viable manner, ensuring that they will continue to thrive for generations to come. Rick and his wife Jacky live in Roseburg, raised three children, and now have four grandchildren.

Thomas McGregor has 14 years of experience in education as a teacher, youth corps crew leader, career and technical education coordinator, and is currently serving as Executive Director at Phoenix School of Roseburg. Thomas earned a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from the University of Oregon in 2018. He is also a graduate of the Ford Family Foundation Leadership Institute and earned his Bachelor of Science from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Northern Arizona University. Prior to moving to Roseburg, Thomas lived for one year in rural Japan teaching in primary and secondary schools after being selected by the Japanese government to serve in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program as an Assistant Language Teacher.

Thomas McGregor’s views were shaped by growing up in Phoenix, which grew from 300,000 in his childhood to 6.5 million people today. He graduated in the High School Class of 2000.  Thomas came to work at Phoenix School to run the Youth Corps crew. The conservation nonprofit Yew Creek Land Alliance bordered on 3 sides by BLM, and where he chairs the board, influences Thomas’ work. Thomas brings a wealth of experience with work crews and monitoring crews.

Thomas currently is the Secretary of the Creating Community Resilience Core Team, a community collective of agencies working to help Douglas County be more trauma informed. He has a strong history of community involvement and volunteerism including serving on the boards of Oregon Youth Corps Trust, Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers, Roseburg Sister Cities, Umpqua Watersheds, and Yew Creek Land Alliance. He also currently serves on Music on the Half Shell Committee and acts as the event’s Master of Ceremonies. Each summer he enjoys a week as a member of the Oregon Country Fair Vaudeville Crew at the WC Fields Memorial Stage volunteering his audio engineering skills. He is also a proud member of the Roseburg Noon Rotary Club.

He enjoys living in downtown Roseburg with his wife, Sarah, and daughter Ginger. They all can often be seen together wandering the Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market. Thomas finds a good day in the Umpqua is running chainsaw to tend to their small woodlot at their family’s cabin atop the Oregon Coast Range and bordering the tall old growth trees of Roseburg District BLM lands near Dillard, Oregon.

Thomas McGregor, Chair

Elin D. Miller is principal of Elin Miller Consulting, LLC and works with her husband, Bill, farming hazelnuts in Oregon. Recently, they also launched a wine grape venture. In October 2017, Elin was elected Chair of the CNFA Board and continues to serve in this capacity. She was also
elected to the Board of Fall Creek Farm and Nursery in 2017 and is now its Compensation Committee Chair. Elin was elected to the Oregon State FFA Foundation Board in 2017 and became President in 2021. In 2020 she was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to serve on the Oregon Board of Agriculture.

She is currently serving as Chair of Oregon Wine Council. Elin served as Vice Chair of the Vestaron Board, a crop protection corporation in Michigan, up until June of 2019. Locally, she has chaired the Board of NeighborWorks® Umpqua 2014-2016, a not-for-profit corporation. She also serves on Umpqua Bank’s Divisional Board. In May of 2011, she won her first race for public office, elected to the Umpqua Community College Board of Education and served four years including Chair and Vice Chair. Elin was elected to the Marrone Bio Innovations Corporation Board in 2011 and served as its Chair from 2013-2015. The National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Foundation Board elected Elin to serve as Chair in 2015.

Before moving full time to Umpqua, OR, Elin served as Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, a Presidential Appointment, with jurisdiction over Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Oregon leading over 600 employees and dealing with some of the most challenging water quality issues nationally. Previously, Elin served as President and CEO of Arysta Life Science North America/Australasia 2004-2006, a spin-off of Chevron. From 1996 to 2004 she held various positions at the Dow Chemical Company including Global Vice President of Public Affairs, VP of Global Pest Management and VP of Asia Pacific.

Elin’s earlier government service occurred in the 90’s as Director of the Department of Conservation (Senate Confirmed) and Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, CalEPA. Elin’s background also includes National Vice President of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Executive Director for the Western Agricultural Chemicals Association. While in California, she was honored to receive the Outstanding Regulator and Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture Awards. She has been honored with various state and national awards including the Lea S. Hitchner Award, the highest award given by CropLife America. Elin was also named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in PR” by PR WEEK. In 2016, she received the VIP Citation, the highest award given by FFA.  She was named to the Oregon Board of Agriculture in November 2020.

Elin was a Rhodes scholarship finalist, Outstanding Woman Graduate and Student Body VP when she received her bachelor’s degree in agronomy and plant protection from the University of Arizona in 1982. Elin graduated from INSEAD’s Advanced Management Program in France in 2000. Recently she attended Stanford Rock Center in Board Governance and completed an 18-month course in Excellence in Board Governance in 2016.

Elin Miller, Treasurer

Robin Hartmann, Board of Directors

Robin Hartmann is a nonprofit leader with decades of experience in conservation and community outreach. She holds a master’s degree in wildland recreation management and a B.S. in forestry. Robin is currently the Executive Director of the Umpqua Valley Habitat for Humanity.

She serves on the Boards of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Oregon, and also was on the board of Oregon Wave Energy Trust, and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. In 2011, she was awarded the title of Conservationist of the Year by Umpqua Watersheds. Robin has had a career of consulting for various nonprofit organizations, including the Audubon Society of Portland, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, Pew Charitable Trusts, Umpqua Valley Audubon Society, the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club, The North Umpqua Foundation, the Umpqua Land Exchange Project, The Friendly Kitchen/Meals on Wheels Roseburg and others. Robin was the Executive Director for the Siskiyou Field Institute, a 700-acre adult and youth natural history education organization. She served as the Natural Resources Legislative Assistant for the Office of Congressman Larry LaRocco from 1991-1994.

In 1980, Robin hiked the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Her deep love for the Pacific Northwest forests has stayed with her through her decades of environmental outreach,and compelled her to join the Forest Bridges board to help it achieve its mission.

Dana Kjos, Board of Directors

Dana Kjos holds a BS in Forest Management from Oregon State University. He was born and raised in western Oregon. He has worked professionally in SW Oregon for over 30 years. Dana started his career as a technician and has held many positions including his current position of Oregon Logging & Contract Timber Manager for Roseburg Forest Products Co.  He has been a member of the Southwest Oregon Regional Forest Practices Committee since 2005, and has served as Chair since 2016.  He is also on the board of Public Timber Purchasers Group, a Pacific Northwest trade association representing large business operations that generally operate lumber mills and rely on the purchase of timber sales from the US Forest Service and BLM lands. 

Dana has a deep passion to modify the current management of BLM lands. He believes that through this collaboration, active management can be enhanced to sustain these lands in a healthy and productive condition consistent with the intent of the O & C Act in perpetuity. 

Dana and his wife, Shelly have been married and lived in Douglas County for 24 years.  They have three children, the youngest of whom is following his fathers footsteps into the forest industry. Dana’s extended family has lived in the Roseburg area and been in the forest industry for many years. 

Dana enjoys hunting and fishing from Alaska to Colorado with his son and friends.  He enjoys being in the outdoors and meeting new people.

The Council of Advisors

Forest Bridges has created the Council of Advisors to deepen our process of development for the Forest Bridges Principles, our Agreements and the Forest Policy Papers. They are informed by current scientific literature and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. The insight and experience of our advisors strengthens our strategic proposals and informs our strategies for systems transformation in the management of Oregon’s public forest lands.

This group of advisors, serving Forest Bridges in a voluntary capacity, draws from diverse fields of lived experience and professional backgrounds. Our advisors will be drawn from the membership of a number of Native American Tribes, from career professionals across timber industry businesses, members of notable conservation organizations and practitioners of law, as well as from retired public officials. This list continues to grow.

Initial Members Include:

Russ Hoeflich, Retired, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Portland OR

Greg Block, President, Sustainable Northwest, Portland, OR

Kaola Swanson, Columbia Gorge Program Manager, The Conservation Fund, Portland

Travis Joseph, President, American Forest Resource Council, Springfield, OR

Matt Hill, Executive Director, Douglas Timber Operators, Roseburg, OR

George Smith, Native American Natural Resources Management, North Bend, OR

Dan Newton, Silviculturist, Yoncalla, OR

Ed Shepard, former Washington/Oregon State Bureau of Land Management Director, Portland

Forest Bridges Staff

The Forest Bridges Staff is a dedicated group of qualified professionals who are dedicated to the vision of 21st century sustainable forest management.

Ahavah Oblak moved to southern Oregon for a teaching job in 1991, and fell in love with the Siskiyou Mountains.  Since then, she has lived rurally in Josephine County, attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland and settled in Eugene to start a graduate program in 2010.

Ahavah holds two master’s degrees, both with a focus on participatory, place-based education and Native American studies. After graduating from the U of O in 2012, she began working in the nonprofit world as a grant writer, event planner and executive director and development director for several Lane County organizations.  Ahavah also became involved in writing federal grants for tribes in OR, CA, NM and AK, and started reviewing federal grant applications for the DOE, ANA and NEA.

Through her business, Four Winds Educational Consulting, she provides nonprofit consulting, grant writing, curriculum/program development, fundraising support, event planning, community documentation and research. Ms. Oblak brings a familiarity with area nonprofits, a strong background in successful grant writing and development work in Oregon and a love of the outdoors to her position at Forest Bridges.

Ahavah Oblak, Development

Sam Freedman, Forest Policy

Sam Freedman holds a Master’s of Forestry in Sustainable Forest Management from Oregon State University, which focused on silviculture, fire and forest health to manage forest vegetation dynamics and ecosystem processes for restoration, sustainable timber production and wildlife habitats. His thesis centered around designing a multiple-yield, timber and food crop agroforestry system (silvopasture) in southern Vermont.

He also holds a Master’s of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School of Landscape of Design, where he focused on sustainable land-use planning on the homestead, Town, and regional scales. He received a in BS in Cultural Anthropology from Northeastern University, with a minor in Portuguese. Sam is certified in Permaculture Design and has studied regenerative ecological practices in a variety of settings.

Sam has extensive hands-on experience putting design theories into real-world practice. He has conducted site analysis in various conservation areas and created design alternatives to better preserve and utilize natural landscapes and resources. He completed a comprehensive guidebook for city planners, policy makers, farmers and conservationists detailing the role of trees as “living infrastructure” in achieving ecological resilience in Deerfield, Massachusetts. He also has experience in installing and maintaining ecological and edible landscapes, in installing and maintaining living green roofs, and has worked closely with farm managers to seed, transplant, cultivate and harvest organic fruits and vegetables.

Sam is multilingual and is a certified wildland firefighter. He believes in the importance of intelligent, progressive environmental stewardship and forestry practices that sustain healthy, thriving ecosystems into the future.

Zachary Dolan, Strategy and Administration

Zachary Dolan is pursuing concurrent master’s degrees at the University of Oregon, one in Nonprofit Management with a field of interest in Social Enterprise and the other in Business Administration with a specialization in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has been working with startups and early-stage organizations, as well as consulting and designing for purpose-driven and/or cooperatively owned businesses since 2017. Zachary’s professional interests lie in realizing a more just world through the development and empowerment of organizations that integrate the wellbeing of people and planet into their bottom lines.

Born in Portland, Oregon, and raised on Orcas Island in the Salish Sea of Washington State, Zachary holds a deep love and appreciation for the natural beauty of the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. He received his BA from The Evergreen State College, where he focused on filmmaking and community development, design, and the crafts of woodworking and metalworking. Since developing a strategic plan for Forest Bridges in collaboration with the University of Oregon in the spring of 2021, Zachary has served to support Forest Bridges’ strategic, administrative and fundraising needs in order to bring the organization into its next operational phase.

Jennifer Grafiada has over 10 years of experience in marketing and communications. She holds a BA in English from Brigham Young University with minors in editing and Spanish. After living in Las Vegas and Miami, she moved to Roseburg, Oregon, in 2014 and quickly put down deep roots. She loves the verdant landscape, fresh air and dynamic topography of southern Oregon and the passionate people who are helping our forests and communities thrive. She is proud to be a part of the Forest Bridges project as a website, grants and communications consultant. She is also builds websites through her company Timbertown Media, LLC, where she helps other non-profits and small businesses in Douglas County and beyond.

Jennifer Grafiada, Communications