Keeping Pace

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

April 2022

Volume 1, Issue 4

ORECA Honors Representative Pam Marsh

for Rural Broadband Advocacy

State Rep. Pam Marsh was recognized at ORECA's Board Meeting this month for her work passing a co-op supported broadband easement bill (HB 2654) during the 2021 Legislative Assembly. “Rep. Marsh is a tenacious advocate for broadband for all Oregonians,” said ORECA Executive Director Ted Case. “Her work with electric co-ops is helping to close the digital divide." Rep. David Brock Smith, who sponsored the bill along with Rep. Marsh, was honored for his work during ORECA's annual meeting last year. 

Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) represents District 5 in the Oregon House of Representatives. 

Co-op Annual Meeting Round Up

In April, four Oregon electric co-ops held annual meetings, with a combination of online and in-person meetings. On April 2nd, Douglas Electric (DEC, see photo on right) held their annual meeting with Manager Keith Brooks announcing, “I’m going to talk to you about rates and trees,” before discussing attempts to control costs and mitigating against wildfires. During Central Electric (CEC) Co-op’s April 8th annual meeting, CEO Dave Markham reviewed wildfire mitigation plans and the challenges of serving fast-growing central Oregon communities during a supply-chain crisis. Blachly-Lane held their annual meeting on April 23rd with Board President Ernie Jacksch and General Manager Greg Gardner discussing wildfire mitigation and the importance of protecting the Lower Snake River Dams. Umatilla Electric (UEC) held a hybrid meeting on April 23rd under the theme “Larger than Light,” with CEO Robert Echenrode highlighting the co-op’s role as an economic engine in their eastern Oregon communities. 

Congratulations to the directors that were elected/re-elected at these meetings: Beverly Mattheisen (Blachly-Lane), Ernie Jacksch (Blachly-Lane), Bev Clarno (CEC), Mark Christie (CEC), Kelly McFarlane (CEC), Shane Morgan (CEC), Evan Barnes (DEC), Terry Nelson (DEC), Lee Docken (UEC), and Jeff Wenholz (UEC).

OTEC's Maaike Schotborgh and Coos-Curry lineman Shane Johnson inspect a warehouse during RESAP training at Midstate Electric. 

Midstate Electric Hosts

ORECA Safety Training

On April 20th, 13 co-op members received training to become qualified RESAP (Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program) site observers. RESAP is a national safety program that works in partnership with statewide and cooperative safety leaders. Every three years participating co-ops receive a site observation from their peers to identify best practices and possible areas for improvement. Currently, 11 cooperatives are participating in the RESAP Program. ORECA thanks Midstate Electric Cooperative for hosting the training!  

UEC Board President Bryan Wolfe and his wife, Lou Ann, visit with State Representative Greg Smith at UEC's annual meeting. 

UEC Reaches $100 Million Capital Credit Milestone

Congratulations to Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) who recently reached a rare milestone – surpassing $100 million in total capital credit refunds to its members throughout the co-op’s 85-year history! Only 24 of the country’s 900 distribution electric cooperatives join UEC in this distinction. “As capital credits reflect each member’s ownership in the cooperative, it’s a tremendous achievement to reach this milestone,” said Bryan Wolfe, President of UEC’s Board of Directors. “It’s important for us to demonstrate to our members what it means to be a cooperative. What better way to tell our story than to return capital credits?"

From the Co-op to Kyiv

Two women in energy—unlikely friends living 5,600 miles apart. One of them faces an uncertain future in war-torn Ukraine. Read about this unique friendship and co-op connection in ORECA's May Ruralite. 

Seen Out and About

NRECA Director and ACRE co-chair, Ingrid Kessler visited Pioneer Utility Resources to learn more about their company and thank them for their support of ACRE. From left: Mike Shephard, Ingrid Kessler, Matthew Pierce, and Miranda Boutelle. 

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative hosted State Senator Lynn Findley's "cup of coffee and conversation" town hall meeting at their Baker City headquarters. 

CEC Highlights Wildfire Mitigation Efforts to Local Media

This month, Central Electric Cooperative invited Bill Bartlett, a correspondent for The Nugget News, on a guided tour in the Sisters and Camp Sherman areas to highlight its ongoing wildfire mitigation efforts in high-risk areas. Brad Wilson, Director of Operations and Engineering, and Brent ten Pas, Director of Member and Public Relations, showed Bartlett a CEC substation to highlight its default anticipation technology. They also visited rights-of-way to demonstrate before and after vegetation management efforts. CEC leaders expressed concern about the prolonged permitting process at these sites, which forfeits much-needed time in getting projects completed before wildfire season ensues. 

Read the article: CEC Races to get Ahead of Wildfire Season

Save the Date

ORECA Mid-Year


Join us for the ORECA Mid-Year meeting July 12-14, at the Deschutes Riverhouse in Bend! We have a packed agenda which includes an NRECA directors' class - Cybersecurity: The Board's Oversight Role, an update on the supply chain, workforce challenges, and the latest insight on upcoming elections. You won't want to miss the Annual ACRE Golf Scramble on July 14 to support ORECA's political efforts. Contact ORECA for more information. 

Board Member Profile

Meet Peter Radabaugh - 

Director at Coos-Curry 

Electric Cooperative

What do a health food store and renewable energy have in common? If you’re Pete Radabaugh, it means running for a board position at Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative. “I owned a health food store in Bandon and many of the conversations besides food were about renewable energy,” Radabaugh said. “This interest led me to run for the board.” 

Eighteen years later, Radabaugh is still passionate about renewable energy and the work being done at his co-op. “I like the spirit of cooperation that electric cooperatives embody,” he said. "Cooperating for the greater good - helping each other out in times of need for the betterment of our members."

Radabaugh, an ORECA Executive Committee member, is also passionate about Coos-Curry's new subsidiary Beacon Broadband which will bring fiber to the home in the south coast.

A master woodcrafter, Radabaugh has built a variety of water devices, including this kayak. 

"This is an incredible project to be a part of," he said.

You can find Radabaugh at Bandon City Park playing disc golf with friends and trying to avoid hitting the trees. "I'm always looking for that perfect shot," he said. 

ORECA Associate Member Spotlight

PEAK Internet

PEAK Internet, originally formed at Oregon State University in 1986, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Consumers Power, Inc. PEAK has operated as a competitive broadband provider in the mid-Willamette Valley for over 25 years, operating a hybrid network of fixed wireless broadband and fiber to the home including digital voice services.


PEAK and CPI work closely together on broadband projects to ensure the needs of the co-op are served while providing Gigabit fiber services to its rural members. PEAK also serves outside of CPI’s territory and has had great success in serving schools, libraries, universities, municipalities, and healthcare facilities.


Recently, PEAK was a successful applicant in the USDA Reconnect 2 loan/grant program and is in the process of constructing 200 miles of fiber in Linn and Polk County.

“We truly believe that electric cooperatives are best positioned to close the digital divide,” said Peak CEO Rick Petersen. “ORECA provides an excellent forum for collaboration and advocacy, and we are delighted to be a part of that.”

Upcoming Events & ORECA Key Dates

May 1-3

Legislative Conference

Washington D.C.

May 23-25

ORECA Financial Accountant Conference

Bend, OR

June 18-24

NRECA Youth Tour

Washington D.C.

July 12-14

ORECA Mid-Year Meeting

Bend, OR

September 27-29

Regions 7 & 9 Meeting

Portland, OR

November 29 - December 1

ORECA Annual Meeting

Salem, OR

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

8565 SW Salish Lane Suite 130

Wilsonville, OR 97070