Staff & Writers 2018-02-08T18:57:50+00:00

EnviroGorge, LLC strives to inspire, educate, and encourage dialogue about environmental and conservation issues affecting the Columbia River Basin and the Pacific Northwest. We publish original in-depth journalism to tell the untold stories of the region, and engage the public through outreach and multi-media. See below to learn about our staff, writers and Advisory Council.

EnviroGorge LLC  .  PO Box 163   .  Hood River, OR 97031 

Susan Hess, Publisher. I grew up living throughout the Western United States. A land of mountains, high desert plateaus, rivers, canyons, oak savannas, lush valleys. The Columbia River Gorge encompasses almost every one of those ecosystems. I started Envirogorge to talk about those places. Member: Society of Environmental Journalists.   B.S. in city planning and Master’s Degree in business.  Jurgen and I won the 2015 Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Award for environmental work.   susanh(at)  541-399-3442




Jurgen Hess, Photographer. Based in Hood River, Oregon, Jurgen has won awards for his photography and been in juried exhibits and teaches photography.  He shoot photos for magazines, newspapers, online outlets, and environmental organizations–specializing in  wildfires, landscapes, journalism and environmental portraits. Jurgen Hess Photography hess(at),  541-645-0720



Alison Church, Communication & Development Director. Born and raised in the Columbia Gorge, Ali returned with her family to the area in 2012. Combining her experience in the Corporate Communications/Public Relations field followed by ten years of managing nonprofits, Ali is passionate about supporting individuals and teams in creating new possibilities and authentically working for the greater good. 





Valerie Brown, Senior Correspondent, lives in Eugene, Oregon. She specializes in science and environment writing, particularly environmental health and climate change, including the health effects of chemical and radiation exposures, carbon sequestration, and climate change’s effects on forests and oceans. Her work has been published in Scientific American, Climate News Network, Pacific Standard, Environmental Health Perspectives, High Country News, Science Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2009 she was awarded first place in the Society of Environmental Journalists’ competition for explanatory print writing. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.    



SusannSusanneWrighte Wright is a freelance writer living in Mosier, Oregon. She grew up on an orchard in Parkdale, Oregon, and spent her youth outside, appreciating all the gorge has to offer. She is the author of Rescue Flight!, a children’s adventure novel. She graduated Oregon State University with Bachelor of Arts degree and privately tutors reading and writing to students of all ages. When she isn’t hunched over her keyboard she can be found reading, riding her bike, skiing, or playing with her four dogs.


Dac Collins is a freelance journalist, wilderness advocate and steelhead junkie based in Hood River, OR. His stories on the environment and outdoor pursuits have been seen in periodicals throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Source Weekly in Bend, the Rogue Valley Messenger in Ashland and the Bonners Ferry Herald in North Idaho. An avid fly fisherman, boater and snowboarder, he also likes good beer, country music and hiking around the Gorge with his girlfriend, Emily, and their dog, Willow.



Miko Ruhlen, Technical Advisor. Miko graduated from U.C. Berkeley and worked in California and the Columbia Gorge for well over a decade as an avian field biologist with non-profits, government agencies, and private consulting firms. She and her husband and sons live in Hood River, Oregon. They own Hood River Hobbies and volunteer in local citizen science bird counts and leading bird walks in their spare time. miko(at)



Kathy Watson is a writer and chef in Hood River, Oregon. Her blog Kathy is Hungry explores her interest in the origins of her favorite cuisines. She owned two Gorge restaurants, Viento in Bingen and Nora’s Table in Hood River. She currently chairs Fresh Start Culinary Arts Program, a Hood River non-profit that trains unemployed youth and adults for entry level food service jobs. She is currently at work on a memoir, “No Bun for Corky: My Life as a Small Town Chef.”



Lynne Davidson grew up in a military family, traveling to cities in Africa, Europe, Central America, and the Middle East. When she arrived to the Gorge 20 years ago, she knew this was home, and elected to settle in Hood River, where she raised her children. An enthusiastic adventurer, Lynne solo-hiked 1,200 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). As soon as her workweek ends, she is typically seen shedding her office wardrobe in favor of a backpack and hiking shoes in order to hit a trail.

Azor Cole was born in Seattle, where he spent 18 years in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. He’s interested in the link between money in politics and environmental policy. The only thing he likes more that a well-earned view of the  Cascades is knowing there will be another one, and the only thing he hates more than snowballs being used to contest climate change is bottled water. He’s aSyracuse University graduate, where he studied geography and public relations.

Desmond Campbell started his writing career writing for Metropolis, Japan’s number one English magazine. He grew up in White Salmon, Washington, but spent many  years wandering the world and writing travel stories for magazines. He settled in Japan for eight years and taught English for native speakers at an international high school. Des, his wife and sons live in White Salmon, WA.

Sunnie Brown  grew up in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon with a  double major in magazine journalism and environmental geography. She then traveled globally several years before completing a Master’s Degree in Education at Oregon State University. She now teaches English language arts. She and her husband live in Hood River, OR.

Emily Long grew up in Virginia. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in English and minor in Environmental Studies. Currently living in Alaska, she enjoys coming to the the Columbia Gorge and all it has to offer from epic views to local coffee.

Emily Kao. Graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Environmental Studies. She is currently working on a master’s degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison.