Keeping Pace

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

March 2022

Volume 1, Issue 3

Oregon Co-op Leaders Attend NRECA PowerXchange

Several Oregon electric co-op leaders attended NRECA’s PowerXchange in Nashville this month, where NRECA CEO Jim Matheson lauded the 5,000 attendees for their reputation and accomplishments. “That’s what I respect most about the work you do,” Matheson said at the March 7 general session. “And it’s my motivation to keep improving – to keep searching for ways we can be better.”

Co-op leaders participated in the resolutions process and listened to a variety of sessions, including cybersecurity, infrastructure, and engaging with policymakers. Coos-Curry Electric Co-op CEO Brent Bischoff served on a breakout panel on resilience, discussing recent wildfires that have devastated parts of Oregon. “Nearly half of the state’s power outages last year were caused by vegetation,” Bischoff told attendees.

From left: Roman Gillen (CPI), Lane Electric Director Paula Brown, and James Ramseyer (CPI).

Directors Gerry Arnson (Columbia Basin) and Vic Russell (Midstate).

Midstate Director Dick Luebke and General Manager Jim Anderson.

ORECA Meets with Oregon NW

Power Council Members

ORECA recently met with the Oregon members on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council about the Council's proposed study on the Lower Snake River Dams (LSRDs). ORECA told council members Ginny Burdick and Louis Pitt that the study is duplicative to the multi-year, consumer-owned utility funded $50.4 million Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analysis of Columbia River System Operations (CRSO). The unambiguous conclusion of this comprehensive federal study – which included the study of several power replacement scenarios if the LSRDs were breached – was that the LSRDs play a critical role in the Northwest power system and economy and that their continued operation does not jeopardize the existence of endangered or threatened salmon species.

ORECA Hosts Tobias Read at Candidate Forum

On March 14, ORECA welcomed Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read to their gubernatorial candidate forum. Read, who also served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2007–2017, told electric co-op leaders his top priorities as governor will be education, homelessness, economic development, and climate change.


When asked about bridging the rural-urban divide, Read said, "I will cultivate a culture that allows rural Oregon to take part in conversations. We need to find areas where we can agree and be humble enough to recognize when we don't agree."

NRU Names Towner Chief Executive Officer

On March 2, 2022, Zaybn Towner was named as Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Requirements Utility (NRU). Towner, who had been serving as Interim CEO for the last two months, brings nearly 20 years of experience working on energy law and policy. “I am extremely excited about this opportunity to lead NRU and to work on behalf of NRU’s 56 member-utilities in this capacity,” he said. “The region is facing many challenges, and with those challenges come opportunities. NRU will continue to focus on its core mission, but at the same time we will be flexible, nimble, and carefully adapt to meet our members’ evolving needs over the long term.”

Save the Date

ORECA Mid-Year


ORECA’s Mid-Year meeting is July 12-14, at the Deschutes Riverhouse in Bend. We have an exciting agenda and look forward to seeing you all in person! On July 12, ORECA will offer an NRECA class - Cybersecurity: The Board’s Oversight Role. The second day of the conference will feature a variety of speakers, including pollster John Horvick who will provide insight on the upcoming elections. Other topics will include opportunities in the new infrastructure law, engaging young co-op members, and challenges faced by Oregon’s co-ops. The final day of the conference will feature our famed ACRE Golf Scramble. Contact ORECA for more information.

Annual Meeting Round Up:

Hood River Electric & Internet Co-op

Hood River Electric & Internet Co-op held their 76th annual meeting on March 16. General Manager Libby Calnon provided highlights of the year, including progress on a new transmission line and substation which will improve reliability and help with load growth.

Board President Gary Bloom thanked retiring board members Doug Mahurin and Pat Moore for their service to the cooperative. Mahurin has served on the board of directors for 26 years, including a decade as board president. Mahurin said he was most proud of the co-op's internet division expansion, eastside transmission & substation project, and the co-op's ability to provide reliable, affordable power despite ever changing regulations.

Moore, grandson of one of the co-op’s founders, has served on the board of directors for 24 years, including many years as the electric co-op’s vice president and secretary, and the internet co-op’s board president until the two-co-ops merged. Moore noted he is proud of the launch of the co-op's internet service and work to build fiber to the home within their electric service area, and getting electric division patronage capital retirements onto a 10-year rotation and keeping it there.

At the meeting, John McGhee was reelected to the board and the co-op welcomed newly elected board members Lisa Perry and Chris Wells.

Capitol City


This month marked the end of Oregon’s 35-day short session that was not heavy on energy legislation but that featured proposals on broadband (HB 4058), heating and cooling incentives (SB 1536), and workforce development.

With only nine weeks to the May primaries, campaign season is in full swing. Due to new legislative and congressional district maps and several retirements, this year will likely be one of the most interesting election cycles in recent history. ORECA will be actively educating candidates about electric cooperatives and our priorities. 

Cooperative Spotlight

Congratulations to Lane's Denisa Bradley

After 36 years at Lane Electric, Denisa Bradley is now the co-op’s longest tenured employee! Denisa currently serves in the role of staff accountant. In her spare time she likes to take her RV out and visit sites around Oregon. Congratulations on this milestone! 

From Bicycle to the Boardroom – Meet Columbia Basin Director

Lori Anderson

Lori Anderson may not be a stranger to a co-op boardroom, but it was an unlikely path to get there. Going into her thirty-second year as a Columbia Basin Board member, Lori is also an ORECA board member – and former past president – and serves as ACRE Co-Chair. Her Midwest origin story is far more humble. “My very first job was a paper route where I delivered to 10 blocks on my bicycle,” she recalls. “Girls were not allowed to have a paper route in the Quad Cities, so the route had to be under my brother's name.”

Coming from a family with a history of linemen, Lori was interested in the work being done at her local co-op. When she was appointed to Columbia Basin’s board in 1990, she became the co-op’s first female board member, and the co-op’s youngest board member.

“I love the cooperative business model,” she said. “I treasure that we serve our members, and my reward is seeing the great service we provide.”

Outside of her co-op duties, Lori enjoys spending time with her husband Kent, their three boys, and their families. She also serves as Treasurer of Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce, and is a board member for the Gilliam County Historical Society. As if that isn’t enough, she has also adopted two abandoned garden plots in town!

From her bicycle to the boardroom, Lori has followed a path that has made an impact to the communities she serves. 

Upcoming Events & ORECA Key Dates

April 2-5

NRECA Director's Conference

Austin, TX

April 19

ORECA Board Meeting


April 20-21

RESAP Training

La Pine, Oregon

May 1-3

Legislative Conference

Washington D.C.

July 12-14

ORECA Mid-Year Meeting

Bend, OR

November 29 - December 1

ORECA Annual Meeting

Salem, OR

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

8565 SW Salish Lane Suite 130

Wilsonville, OR 97070