Gala Recap: an inspiring, fun-filled, and successful evening

Hilliary Giglio
Wed, 03/29/2017 - 3:10pm

The 2017 McCall Gala was a huge success. We are so grateful for the amazing community of 300 supporters who come together to celebrate the urban growth boundary and giving Oregonians the best of both worlds! We hope everyone had a fantastic time.

The evening was a-buzz of excitement. Governor Kate Brown graced the event for the early part of the evening, proud to speak about the value of Oregon’s conservation efforts, and to recognize her friend, predecessor, and mentor, the Honorable Barbara Roberts. Governor Brown welcomed our guests and shared some special words in recognition of the Honorable Barbara Roberts, who received the 2017 Tom McCall Legacy Award later in the evening. Her devotion to Oregon and her enthusiastic energy set the stage for an inspiring evening to come.

Lynn Peterson, Acting Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, kicked-off the program sharing thanks for all who made the event possible and building the vision for our featured speaker of the evening. We celebrated Oregon’s amazing results of having urban growth boundaries and how the Oregon land use-planning program has become a way of life to make sure all of our community members are heard.

1000 Friends of Oregon’s successes this year were highlighted, from organizing efforts on affordable housing in Portland, to reinvigorating our Farmers Advisory Committee, to pushing for a comprehensive transit investment in the 2017 transportation package moving forward in the legislature.

Lynn rounded out her opening remarks with a beautiful reminder from our co-founder, Tom McCall. “Quality of life is the sum total of the fairness of our tax structure; the caliber of our homes; the cleanliness of our air and water; and the provision of affirmative assistance to those who cannot assist themselves. True quality is absent if we allow social suffering to abide in an otherwise pristine environment.”

Then, Lane County farmer, George Grier, took the spotlight to share his personal story of farming on the urban growth boundary of Springfield for the last 45 years. He’s a passionate farmer that has been actively involved in his community and protecting the land he calls home and has built his life from. What was once an abundance of row crops for the canneries is now a swimming center and a dog park. The filbert orchard he once managed is now gone – a victim of blight from untended filbert trees remaining in the yards of subdivisions. George spoke of the difficulties to plan a future for your farm as your land is slowly encroached upon. He shared personal stories that illustrated the experiences he has had. The pinnacle of George’s story highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between urban and rural and reminding the crowd that the UGB is a concept - a concept that doesn’t work without people who invest in the idea, who can talk about it and make it function. He recognized 1000 Friends of Oregon for their ability to be this bridge and facilitate the conversations, sometimes difficult, that need to happen. He asked the crowd to invest in the future of this work.

Christine DeCastro, auctioneer from Marquam Auction Agency, led the fun-spirited raffle and special appeal fundraising of the evening. Her upbeat and enthusiastic personality kept the buzz of inspiration George created going throughout the night.

We are humbled, excited, and proud to share that we raised over $135,000 in support of the McCall Gala, with over $76,000 being donated in the room that evening. A record year for the McCall Gala! Thank you to our incredible donors. You make our work possible.

To close out an exciting, inspirational and successful evening, we couldn’t be more proud to have awarded the Honorable Barbara Roberts with the Tom McCall Legacy Award. This award recognizes one’s dedication to the land use planning program and commitment to the State of Oregon. The beautiful tribute to Barbara’s service to the State of Oregon and its people that was shared that evening can be read here.

The McCall Gala is a reminder of just how big, how loved, and how respected this work and our community is. It’s a reminder that we are in this together and that we are a strong community.  A community that will work to facilitate the conversations needed, create and build bridges across our state, and keep Oregon the beautiful, lovable, livable place we all fell in love with.

Check out the photos from the evening here!