Meet the Team

Hello!  We’d like to give you a chance to get to know your Oregon State Parks team for the Columbia River Gorge.  Below you’ll find:

  • Who we are & what we do
  • How we got here
  • Our favorite part of the job
  • Our favorite places in the Gorge
  • One thing we think YOU should check out
  • A little-known fact about us

Want to talk to one of us?  Just call our main offices:

  • West Gorge:  503-695-2261    (Portland to Cascade Locks)
  • East Gorge:   541-374-8811    (Cascade Locks to the Deschutes River)

Enjoy!

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MarkMark Stevenson.  Portland/Gorge District Manager.

Area of Focus:  Overseeing the the District.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I started with Oregon Parks and Recreation at Silver Falls State Park. It was a beautiful Park. After 15 years at Silver Falls, I moved to the Gorge the Park Manager in 2005.

Favorite Part of the Job:  Like many of the staff, my favorite part of this position is the interaction with customers, staff, and volunteers. No two days are ever the same for me, and that’s amazing.

Favorite Spot In the Gorge:  Any view from the Columbia River.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Portland Women’s forum on a sunny day. (Or) The sturgeon tank at Bonneville Dam.

Little-Known Fact about Mark: I was a Camp Manager/Pack Guide and Horseshoer (Farrier) in my younger days. (Marble Mountain Wilderness Area)

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Clay Courtright.  Park Manager, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  Overseeing the Western Columbia River Gorge Management Unit.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I arrived in the Gorge in a roundabout way, by leaving the Gorge January 1998. After living in several Western States I longed to come back to Oregon and work for Oregon State Parks. So after a time working for parks on the coast, valley and mountains , I arrived in the Gorge.

Favorite Part of the Job:  People are my favorite part of the job. It always warms the heart to see people out enjoying nature.

Favorite Spot In the Gorge: Latourell Falls

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Hike Angel’s Rest

Little-Known Fact about You: Hawaii is my second home.

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Glenn_SquareGlenn Littrell.  Park Ranger Supervisor, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  I play a key role on our team of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the west Columbia River Gorge State Park system.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I have lived in five countries and seven states and was presented the opportunity to work for the best state park system in the country and in the best management unit in the state — How could I not accept the challenge?

Favorite Part of the Job:  Looking for ways in everything we do or do not do to improve our facilities, our staff, and the park visitors’ access and experience.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  The view from the cliff face on the upper John B. Yeon trail looking north east in the late fall when the leaves on the trees are thin and turning colors.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Experience the summer sun rise from the north side of Sand Island at Rooster Rock State Park on the Columbia River.

Little-Known Fact about Glenn:  I was born in Montreal, Canada.  Go Maple Leafs, Eh!

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Position Vacant  Park Manager, East Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:

How I Arrived at the Gorge: 

Favorite Part of the Job: 

Favorite Spot In the Gorge:

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors: 

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??????????Lavern Watson. Office Coordinator, East & West Gorge MUs.

Area of Focus:  I run all things office-related.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I had a job transfer opportunity when Reservations Northwest (our reservation system host) lost their contract with Washington State Parks.

Favorite Part of the Job:  My favorite thing has to be the variety of jobs I do and the variety of people that I get to interact with.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  My favorite spot in the Gorge is probably Vista House.  Greatest views ever.  I’d never actually been there UNTIL I came to work here, and I’ve lived in Portland all my life.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  A must-do is a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway for sure, on a nice summer’s day.

Little-Known Fact about Me:  I don’t really consider myself much of a people person, but my job forces me out of my shell because I’m required to interact with people all day everyday 🙂

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Position Vacant  Park Ranger 3, West Gorge MU. 

Area of Focus: 

How I Arrived at the Gorge:

Favorite Part of the Job:

Favorite Spot in the Gorge: 

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:

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???????????????????????????????David Bjorge, Park Ranger 2, West Gorge MU

Area of Focus:  Overseeing the maintenance/repairof all park infrastructure, managing the employee communication system, purchasing the majority of supplies for the unit, and assisting other rangers with their shift leader duties.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I actually grew up in the Gorge.  My mother was part of the Friends of Vista House, and suggested that my brother and I apply to the parks for a summer job while we were going to college.  That was in 1992.

Favorite Part of the Job:  I enjoy the variety that working for parks allows me.  You do something different every day.  That variety also allows me to learn about many different things, expanding my knowledge base.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  Looking out over the Columbia River from Rooster Rock during a summer evening when the sun has just gone down and the river, along with the park, is calm.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  You must see some of the geological features that are present in the gorge.  Weird rock formations like columnar basalt formed millions of years ago, uncovered by the Missoula flood.

Little-Known Fact about David:  I don’t look like a person of culture (I look more like some kind of mountain man) but I am a member of the Portland Japanese Garden, the Portland Lan Su Chinese Garden, and KPBS classical music radio.

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???????????????????????????????John Cowan.  Park Ranger 2, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  I am the ranger in charge of Government Island Recreation Area, Regional Arborist, West Gorge vegetation management specialist and Chair of the Columbia Gorge Weed Management Area.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I needed work back in 1993 as I was doing post-baccalaureate work at Portland State University; I got hired to work the closing Ranger Aid shift at Dabney State Park.

Favorite Part of the Job:  I enjoy the variety of work that parks require. I have my specialties and run a boat and use my training as an Emergency First Responder; but plumbing, electrical, and infrastructure maintenance projects crop up.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  I especially enjoy the upper McCord Creek Falls trail that is cut into a high cliff where there are wildflowers that only occur in the Gorge. It’s not a long walk and the geology, botany, and scenic values in the Gorge are all there.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Must-sees are the Vista House and its view and Sheppard’s Dell Falls.

Little-Known Fact about John:  I like classical music, especially Vivaldi, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

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Mo & JRMelissa “Mo” Czinger.  Park Ranger 1, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  Day shift crew leader, visitor services, safety coach.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I was going to school to be a librarian and was working with developmentally disabled students and took park as a ‘fun’ summer job.  It was so ‘fun’ I decided to stay!

Favorite Part of the Job:  Interesting people, amazing place, variety in job duties, helping the public to experience, and enjoy the Columbia River Gorge (and all State Parks & Oregon for that matter.)

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  On I-84 east bound, the turn at mile post 23 (by rail road tunnel).  This is the spot where you can see the Vista House and Rooster Rock and the expanse & scenery of the gorge in all its glory!

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Walk to the viewpoint at Sheppard’s Dell.  From there you can sit still and listen to the rushing water, feel the spray of the water, smell the wet soil, and look under the amazing bridge to see a beautiful view of the gorge!  Almost all 5 senses can have an experience at this stop!

Little-Known Fact about Mo:  I collect mushed pennies (souvenir pennies).

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??????????Scott Geren.  Park Ranger 1, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  My main duties include fleet and equipment maintenance and repair, making sure the parks’ water systems and playgrounds are safe, and a little of most everything else.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  Out of high school, I began working in manufacturing but found being indoors and doing the same thing every day just wasn’t my thing.  Since I was about 5 years-old I had toyed with the idea of being a park ranger for Oregon State Parks, so once I heard about a summer job at Ft. Stevens, I jumped at the chance.  Two years later I transferred to the Gorge where I continued to build upon my skills, and eventually got hired as a permanent ranger.

Favorite Part of the Job:  I love that most days I wake up and head to work with no idea what new challenges the day will bring.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  Angel’s Rest, on a nice quiet weekday.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Everyone who comes to the Gorge should drive the Historic Highway, and stop often to enjoy the view.

Little-Known Fact about Scott:  Most people don’t know that my favorite dog breed is the Standard Poodle.

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???????????????????????????????Andy Mombourquette.  Park Ranger 1, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  Vista House maintenance, special projects, woodworking, viewshed, hazard trees, night ranger.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  When I first moved here, I worked at a supermarket.  A young lady named Lynn worked in the deli, and we became friends.  Lynn also worked as for Parks in the Gorge and told me about the job opening.  I applied, was hired immediately as a Conservation Aide, was promoted, and am still here.

Favorite Part of the Job:  Working with inmates – leading by example to share with them a different way to approach their work (and, perhaps, more.)

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  Oneonta Gorge.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors: Drive the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway.

A Little-Known Fact about Andy:  I have one of the largest music collections that most people have seen – much of it still on cassette tape.

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???????????????????????????????Monica Wilcox.  Park Ranger 1, West Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  I work at all the parks that need me, but I tend to spend a lot of time on the Historic Highway between Women’s Forum and Angels Rest Trailhead.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I was getting my associates degree at Mount Hood Community College for natural resources and one of the requirements was an internship in a natural resources setting.  A park ranger from State Parks named John Cowan came in and spoke about the park, and, well, I was sold after that.  I completed my internship, got my degree, and I am still at State Parks 5 years later; so, thanks John Cowan!

Favorite Part of the Job:  Look at where we work!  It’s amazing, and I feel like I am making a difference is this world.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  The interpretive trail at Bridal Veil Falls during the spring when the camas is blooming. The whole ground turns purple.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Vista House!

Little-Known Fact about Monica:  I am less than 5 feet tall!

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Jami StarrJami Starr.  Park Ranger 1, West Gorge MU

Area of Focus:
My main focuses are the West Gorge Trail system and Ainsworth campground, but like my coworkers, I’m a jack-of-all trades; I go where I am needed.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I grew up hiking, rafting, and fishing in the  Columbia River Gorge, so it felt natural for me to build my career here too. In high school, I attended the Natural Resource Academy, a branch-off of Reynolds High School that specialized in Environmental Science. One of our field trips was to Ainsworth State Park, where then District manager Kevin Price talked to us about jobs with OPRD. As soon as I was 18, I applied, and have worked for the department ever since.

Favorite Part of the Job:  When I go home at the end of the day, I take pride in the fact that I served my community and facilitated positive experiences that can turn into fond memories for families, friends, and individuals.

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  I love floating the Sandy River from Dabney State Recreation Area to Lewis and Clark State Park. On a sunny day in the spring, there are barely any people around and it’s so serene.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Drive the Historic Columbia River Highway from Troutdale to Dodson and stop everywhere you can!

Little-Known Fact about Jami:   I consume audio books and podcasts at an alarming rate. If you see me and have any recommendations, I’m probably running low and would love new material!

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Deb and Rob_CroppedDebra Mazzrillo.  Park Ranger 1, East Gorge MU.

Area of Focus:  Overseeing maintenance and operations of Viento State Park.

How I Arrived at the Gorge:  I have lived in the Gorge since 1982.  I worked retail for 25 years and thought I needed a change in my career; thankfully, I saw the posting for a Ranger Aide on the internet, and here I am.

Favorite Part of the Job:  Meeting visitors and using my weed eater!

Favorite Spot in the Gorge:  I can’t say that I have a favorite spot in the Gorge; there are so many.

Must-Do for Gorge Visitors:  Visit Viento – I would like to make this park one of the most enjoyable hidden secrets of the Gorge.

A Little-Known Fact about Debra:  My hobbies are hunting and fishing – most of the sportsmen in The Dalles consider me to be one of the top walleye fishermen in our area.

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