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Nancy Neighbor Russell

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Nancy Neighbor Russell (1932–2008) was a co-founder of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a conservationist, a negotiator, a fundraiser, and a mentor to young leaders.

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of Robert W. and Mary Ann Bishop Neighbor, Nancy Neighbor was born on Jan. 11, 1932, in Portland, Oregon. She attended Miss Catlin's (later Catlin Gabel) School and Scripps College in Claremont, California.[1] She was an amateur tennis champion.[2] She married Bruce H. Russell in 1957, and the had four children.[1]


Russell was one of the principal figures responsible for passage of federal legislation protecting the Columbia River Gorge as a National Scenic Area in 1986.[1] She was "a backpacking and wildflower enthusiast who loved the Columbia Gorge and other Northwest landscapes," and in 1979, architect John Yeon sought her help "taking the lead to protect the Gorge".[2]

In November 1980, at a Portland Garden Club meeting, four people were named, including Nancy Russell, to build an organization to establish the Columbia River Gorge as a national scenic area. According to The Trust for Public Land, "the gorge was at risk of being transformed by development from fast-growing Portland and nearby Vancouver, Washington".[3] By the following Spring, 31 members of "Friends of the Columbia Gorge" began to to lobby local and national decision-makers to protect the Gorge.[2]

Russell asked Senator Mark Hatfield for help. He said he would advocate for special federal status if they organized people "from both sides of the river and both ends of the gorge" to support his stance.[3] Six years later, in November 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act.[2]

Russell died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in September 2008.[4] [5]


  • "Nancy Russell Overlook - Hiking in Portland, Oregon and Washington".
  • "She has peers...They're people like John Muir." —Jim Desmond, Metro's director of regional parks and greenspaces[5]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Nancy Russell Obituary (2008) - Portland, OR - The Oregonian". obits.oregonlive.com. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "History of Friends of the Columbia Gorge | Friends of the Columbia Gorge". gorgefriends.org. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Remembering the one-woman force of nature behind the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area". The Trust for Public Land. Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  4. Muldoon, Katy (2008-09-20). "Guardian of the gorge". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2021-03-26. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Muldoon, Katy (2008-09-21). "Gorge and hikers lose a fierce, fearless friend". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2021-03-26. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

Others articles of the Topics Biography AND Oregon : Allison Cook, Gretchen Schuette

Others articles of the Topic Biography : Cecil C. Lowe, Foxhall A. Parker Sr., Brandon October, Anjan Contractor, Sava Ipić, Matthew C Martino, Albert Mampre

Others articles of the Topic Oregon : Miss Anthology, Pastini Pastaria, Allison Cook, Monroe Schwarzlose, Gretchen Schuette, Casey's (Portland, Oregon), 3rd Avenue (Portland, Oregon)

Category:1932 births Category:Women conservationists

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