Westwind Stewardship Group

The Westwind Stewardship Group (WSG) was formed in 2004 by camp alumni, long-term Westwind rental clients, and friends of Westwind with the expressed goal of preserving the Westwind site in perpetuity. WSG purchased the Westwind property in 2006 from the YWCA of Greater Portland. The YWCA continued to operate its summer camp program until 2014, when it asked WSG to permanently assume operation of the historic Camp Westwind.

Duncan and Melany Berry were inspired to approach the Executive Director of the Portland YWCA, Adella MacDonald, regarding the idea of site-based management for Westwind and a long-term lease. A meeting was held in late October, and the YWCA management was receptive to the initial ideas.

In July of 2004, the non-profit organization called the Westwind Stewardship Group (WSG) was formed by the Berrys. In its first year, WSG filed Articles of Incorporation and approved initial Bylaws. The initial Board comprised Duncan Berry, Melany Berry, Jane Boyden, Madge Hussey, David Berry, Martha Enson, and Anne Squier. Kevin Joyce from Vashon Island served a brief tenure.

Two appraisals were conducted to identify the value of the site and facility. Terms of the sale were negotiated during dozens of meetings with the YWCA. The agreed-upon purchase price was $3.55 million.

During 2004 WSG approved the Purchase and Sale Agreement with the YWCA and a Licensing Agreement for the name “Westwind.” WSG and the YWCA began work toward an Exclusive Use Agreement  to govern the future of the two organizations’ collaborative relationship, and assure the YWCA of use of the Westwind site for the summer camp program in perpetuity.  WSG targeted September 2006 for closing and assuming management of the site. WSG filed with the IRS for tax exempt status. An initial $500,000 down payment to the YWCA was a donation to WSG from the Berrys.

2005:  WSG’s major focus during 2005 was fundraising toward the agreed-upon acquisition price of $3,550,000. WSG contracted with Geoff Huntington to spearhead grant applications for this purpose.  WSG sought funding from state and federal sources and private foundations. including a 75-page application to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for $1.5 million in exchange for a conservation easement over the entire site. The Berrys committed to cover all legal and fundraising costs. WSG met with a wide range of elected officials including Lincoln County commissioners, mayors of Lincoln City and Newport, and State and Federal officials, securing their unanimous support for the project.

WSG collaborated with the YWCA to define working relationships during the summer camp sessions for 2007 and beyond; commenced developing programs; and solicited reservations for the site for the off season starting at closing in September 2006.  WSG also  completed due diligence on inventory and inspection of the site as well as initial planning for facility maintenance and possible improvements.  

Kaye Jones joined the Board, and Madge Hussey left Board service.

One of the highlights of 2005 was formation of the Westwind Site Conservation Advisory Group (WSCAG), which created a science-based overall Site Conservation Plan. The group included Bob Frenkel (OSU) as an advisory member; Sarah Greene (USFS); Karen Bennett (USFS); Debbie Pickering (TNC); Dan Bottom (NOAA Fisheries); John Spangler (ODFW); Wayne Hoffman (Midcoast Watershed Council). Jane Boyden oversaw for the Board.

The Board made several policy decisions, including a commitment to continue the relationship with other historic users beyond the YWCA (Northwest Outdoor School, Black Mountain Thanksgiving Group, Wysong Group) for the foreseeable future; to not proceed with any proposed private residence on or from the Westwind site; and to not offer an equestrian program of its own (hence the YWCA would need an outside vendor for horses for the summer program). The Board also approved Restated Articles of Incorporation and Restated Bylaws.

Donors in 2005 included members of the Board and a small number of individuals. Duncan and Melany Berry donated $250,000 to provide $50,000 per year for site, facility and program enhancements for which the Board raises 1:1 matching funds.

WSG established working relationships/partnerships with The Nature Conservancy; Sitka Center for Art and Ecology; the US Forest Service, including Hebo Ranger District; the Midcoast and Salmon River/Drift Creek Watershed Councils; Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB); and a number of other state and federal agencies and NGOs. The offices of Senator Wyden and Senator Smith pledged support for the acquisition project, as did Representative Hooley. Senator Wyden’s staff was particularly helpful.

2006:  WSG received support from a number of Oregon officials and legislators, including Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, Senator Joanne Verger, Senator Betsy Johnson, and others. With the help of a broad range of the Westwind community, WSG secured the balance of the purchase price prior to closing on September 1, 2006.  Major donors included the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board ($1.5 million), to which WSG granted a Conservation Easement covering the entire site. Other major donors were  Duncan and Melany Berry (an additional $1 million), the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the United States Forest Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, the Little Family Foundation, Charles Swindells, the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation, Anne Squier, the Autzen Foundation, and David and Lois Eaden.

Saskia Dresler and Kris Olson were elected to the Board; Martha Enson and David Berry left Board service.

WSG approved the Westwind Site Conservation Plan; approved rates for site rental; negotiated many contracts for use of the site in 2006 and 2007. WSG completed negotiation with the YWCA and approved the EUA (Exclusive Use Agreement), a Right of First Refusal giving the YWCA first chance at purchase should WSG decide to sell any part of the property, and a Camp/Roadway Easement. All of these documents, as well as the Conservation Easement, were recorded in the Lincoln County Courthouse at closing.

On September 1, 2006 final papers were signed, transferring ownership of Westwind to the Westwind Stewardship Group. The same day, the Conservation Easement held by OWEB for the people of Oregon became effective.  Due to the extraordinary fundraising and support of a broad swath of people and organizations, WSG started its management of the site debt free.

A community celebration was held at Westwind on September 6th, with the newly refurbished camp bell being rung by adults and children alike to usher in a new chapter in Westwind’s history.

2007 Milestones:

  • Hired Site Manager and Office Manager
  • Obtained grant support to help Outdoor School program, build new barge, and buy new (used) truck and tractor
  • Dave Hatch joined board; Jane Boyden retired
  • Hosted youth groups from both Grand Ronde and Siletz Tribes
  • Successful first summer camp session with the YWCA

2008 Milestones:

  • Hired second site manager and a permanent cook  
  • Peter Samson elected to the Board
  • Began search for full time executive director in July
  • Hired Ann Kohler as experienced interim director in October
  • Selected Dave Martin as ED, to commence in February
  • Continued work toward a Stewardship Plan
  • Grant from OWEB to replace three culverts along the emergency access road, to allow fish passage to the uplands
  • Additional grants for new barges and for drilling a new water source

Comments are closed