Keeping Pace

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

September/October 2022

Volume 1, Issue 8

Oregon Hosts NRECA Regional Meeting

Oregon electric co-op leaders played a key role during NRECA’s Region 7 & 9 meeting in Portland on September 27-29. Lane Electric Director and NRECA Board Member J. Ingrid Kessler served as MC and did a terrific job representing Oregon. At the meeting, Wasco Director Ron Holmes was named to the NRECA Legislative Standing Committee while Lane Manager Debi Wilson was re-appointed to the Regulatory Standing Committee. In addition, OTEC CEO Les Penning took the stage during the general session to discuss the importance of NRECA International and Oregon’s upcoming trip to Guatemala to electrify the village of Dos Cruces. A huge thanks to all of the co-ops who volunteered and provided giveaways for the attendees – they were a huge hit! 

Over 400 people attended the Regions 7 & 9 meeting in Portland, including several Oregon co-op managers. Photo credit: Jamie Leiblein.

Oregon swag bags were one for the record books! Thank you to our volunteers who helped package and distribute the bags. Pictured from left: Jacob Knudsen and Tina Workman from Salem Electric. 

Consumers Power Holds

September Annual Meeting

Consumers Power Inc. (CPI) held its 83rd annual meeting on Saturday, September 10th in Philomath. Guest speakers included Kurt Miller of NW River Partners, Rick Peterson of PEAK Internet, and CPI's 2022 Youth Tour Delegate Kaitlin Mattson. The election resulted in Directors Bill Rauch and Russ Sapp being re-elected to three-year terms, while Joyce Maitland was elected to her first three-year term. 

Hood River’s Libby Calnon Receives NWPPA’s 2022 Champion of Communications Award

Hood River Electric and Internet Co-op General Manager Libby Calnon received NWPPA’s prestigious Champion of Communications Award at the Northwest Innovations in Communications Conference in Alaska. The award honors individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the public power industry, communications, and public involvement. ORECA congratulates Libby for this much deserved recognition. 

"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as this year's recipient," said Calnon. Photo Credit: NWPPA

A Lane of Their Own

In a town known for setting track and fields records, Eugene's Lane Electric Cooperative has set one of its own with a board that looks like none other in America. Read the full article in ORECA's November Ruralite. 

ORECA's 80th Annual Meeting: Mission Possible

ORECA’s 80th Annual Meeting will be held in Salem on November 29 – December 1. The theme this year is “Mission Possible,” highlighting the storied history of Oregon co-ops and the myriad challenges ahead. The meeting kicks off with a new NRECA class on electric vehicle policy, followed by an interactive director’s roundtable. On December 1st, the program will include industry speakers and expert panels along with keynote speaker First Sergeant Matt Eversmann (Ret.) describing the events that inspired the movie: Black Hawk Down. Register today to secure your spot.  

New and Notable

Engineering & Operations Group Meets in Redmond

On October 11, the ORECA Engineering and Operations group held its quarterly meeting at Central Electric’s Redmond office to discuss a variety of topics including wildfire mitigation, EV charging, and net-metering. Representatives from the Oregon PUC provided an update on the agency, and Lane Electric General Manager Debi Wilson recapped the co-op’s recent Public Safety Power Shutoff. A huge thanks to CEC for hosting the meeting.

Closing the Digital Divide: Beacon Broadband Hires Bill Gerski as V.P. Of Marketing and Sales

Beacon Broadband Inc., powered by Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, has hired Bill Gerski as Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “I am delighted to join Beacon Broadband and lead the way to closing the digital divide for over 14,000 residents and commercial establishments on the southern coast of Oregon,” Gerski said. Prior to joining Beacon Broadband Inc., Gerski served the rural areas of north-central Pennsylvania as Senior Vice President of Business Development for Tri-Co Connections, a subsidiary of Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative.

Seen Out And About

The Harney Electric Board met with NRECA Director J. Ingrid Kessler in Burns, where she thanked them for their support of ACRE, and had a great discussion about reliability and resource adequacy. 

UEC Employees Bring the

Pink for Breast Cancer

Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness month kicked off in a big way at Umatilla Electric with UEC employees wearing pink to raise money for breast cancer. Employees are also linking arms with the community and selling pink ribbons for $5 in the lobby of the UEC Hermiston office. All funds will be donated to a local health foundation and will be used to support screening and treatment of breast cancer in the community.

State and Federal Policymakers

 Meet with Co-op Leaders

In October, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici met with West Oregon leaders to discuss issues impacting the cooperative, such as hydropower and wildfires. 

In September, Blachly-Lane leaders welcomed House Majority Leader Julie Fahey to their office for a policy discussion. Pictured from left: Mary Ann Rhodes, Leader Fahey, Ernie Jacksch, and Greg Gardner.

Consumers Power CEO Roman Gillen met with House Speaker, and CPI member, Dan Rayfield in Corvallis last month to discuss wildfires and the upcoming legislative session. 

2023 ORECA

Membership Directory

Calling all photographers! ORECA is looking for a cover photo for its 2023 Member Directory. Please submit a photo(s) that showcases the beauty of your service area, captures the scene in full vivid color, and has a high resolution for printing. The photographer with the winning photo will receive a $100 gift card. Submit your photo(s) to by December 31, 2022, to be considered. 

Cooperative People

Meet West Oregon Director

Erika Paleck 

After serving four years on the West Oregon Electric board, Director Erika Paleck is excited for the future. “We’ve got a dynamic, forward thinking, engaged board that includes three strong women,” said Paleck. “We’ve got the youngest general manager in Oregon (possibly the whole country) working for us, and she’s changing the internal culture for the better while thinking three moves ahead to the future. This is leadership.”


Paleck became a member of West Oregon in 2004 and learned about the cooperative from her husband Bob, who served nine years on the board. “I’m not a revolutionary type of person. If we’ve got a strong structural model that has proven successful, why tear it down only to reinvent it,” Paleck said. “I love the cooperative concept and cooperative principles.”


Although there are challenges ahead, West Oregon’s unofficial motto this year has been, “What we’ve got is pretty darn good. How can we make it better?” Paleck is proud to be part of a team where together, the directors and management are dedicated to making things better for members, not just now, but into the future. 

When she's not in the board room, Paleck prefers to be at the ballpark. A season ticket holder of the Hillsboro Hops, a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Paleck and her husband try and catch as many baseball games as they can. Paleck could "spend hours" talking about the history of baseball, teams, and big games - just don't ask her to pick a favorite team.  

Upcoming Events & ORECA Key Dates

November 29 - December 1

ORECA Annual Meeting

Salem, OR

January 18, 2023

ORECA Board Meeting


February 6-7, 2023

NRECA Director's Conference

Kansas City, MO

March 3-8, 2023

NRECA PowerXchange

Nashville, TN

April 16-19, 2023

NRECA Legislative Conference

Washington D.C.  

May 14-17, 2023

NWPPA Annual Meeting

Anchorage, Alaska

July 11-13, 2023

ORECA Midyear Meeting

Hood River, OR

September 12-13, 2023

ORECA Director's Educational Conference

Portland, OR

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association

8565 SW Salish Lane Suite 130

Wilsonville, OR 97070