Janelle Hammerstrom joined the Opal Creek team at the beginning of 2015 and we’re so excited to have her on the Portland staff. A recent arrival to Portland, she comes to us from Tri-Cities, Washington, where she grew up camping and hanging out at the river.
Gabrielle: What brought you to Portland?
Janelle: I went to school in Salem and really enjoyed Oregon. Having grown up in the desert, I decided I wanted to live somewhere with more trees! It was time for a change—climate, culture, everything.
G: And what led you to us at Opal Creek?
J: I love the outdoors, and I wanted to move into the nonprofit sector. I wanted a job that I really cared about, doing something to promote conservation and the outdoors, and I wanted to work with people I liked.
G: Obviously we fit the bill! Just a couple weeks ago you had the chance to go down to Opal Creek for the first time—what did you think?
J: It felt like I was going back in time! So quiet, which I loved. I love seeing all the mining history in the area, alongside the more recent touches—like strings of pinecones and the sense that people have experienced and loved Opal Creek for a long time. Having worked in the energy sector, it was also fascinating for me to see the Pelton wheel and all the renewable energy used off-the-grid.
G: Which workshops are you planning to drop in on this year?
J: Definitely the mushroom workshop! When I visited Opal Creek a couple weeks ago I spent most of my time taking pictures of mushrooms so I could identify them later. I’m interested in the yoga workshop, too.
G: Besides working for Opal Creek (obviously), what are you most excited about for this coming year?
J: I’m excited to be working on my illustrations, trying to get my name and work out there. It’s still in the beginning stages but I have a lot of work and ideas, and I’m really excited about the possibilities that are out there in Portland right now.
G: What else do you love to do outside?
J: I hike and bike, run and walk. I ran my first marathon last October. I’d like to get into trail-running this year.