Urban Greenspaces Board of Directors and Staff

UGI Board and Staff

UGI board and staff
UGI Board and Staff (front row, left to right)  Mel Huie, Goody Cable, Steffeni Mendoza Gray, Ruth Roth, M J Cody, Judy BlueHorse Skelton, Bob Wilson. Back Row Mike Faha, Jim Rapp, Mike Houck (Executive Director), Tom Liptan, Kelly Punteney.

Board of Directors Officers

M.J. CodyM. J. Cody, Chair

M.J. Cody is the co-editor of Wild in the City, A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas (Oregon Historical Society Press), and author of Our Portland, a coffee table book made with photographer Rick Schafer (Voyageur Press). She is a regular contributor to The Oregonian with "Sleeping Around the Northwest," her column about lodging for the Travel section. She also writes features for several magazines, including NW Palate Magazine, Travel Oregon, Horizon Air, Audubon Magazine and other publications. She has produced two audio driving tour CDs that advocate the importance of protecting Oregon's rural landscapes from urban sprawl.

An Oregon native, M.J. grew up in Estacada on the Clackamas River, where "green" was not a concept but a certainty. After 13 years in L.A. writing for television, she returned to Oregon with a fervent understanding of the need for wildness in a city.

Goody Cable, Vice-ChairGoody Cable, Vice-Chair

Gudrun (Goody) Cable has lived in Portland all her life, noting how the city has expanded, and the woods and fields where she played as a child have shrunk and in some cases disappeared. She is committed to the Institute's mission because it provides a vehicle for defending and supporting the importance of wildlife and wilderness area in the cities.

She owns a small coffee house in Southeast Portland, Rimsky-Korsakoffee, and co-owns a famed hotel for booklovers on the Oregon Coast, the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

Goody has served on the Oregon Progress Board's Environmental Committee and has participated in writing the State of the Environment Report for the State of Oregon for five years.

Bob Wilson Bob Wilson, Secretary/ Treasurer

Bob Wilson has been a supporter of urban greenspaces for over 20 years. The issue of greening our cities was what drew him to the Portland Audubon Society, where he spent the last two decades supporting the society's work of "inspiring people to love and protect nature." During that time he served on the editorial board of The Urban Naturalist, Portland Audubon Society's seminal urban greenspaces journal. He also had a hand in producing other urban naturalist publications, such as Wild in the City, A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas and Wild on the Willamette, Exploring the Lower Willamette River.

Bob continues to work toward making Portland America's greenest and most livable city through his contributions to the Urban Greenspaces Institute and other local NGOs working on urban greenspace issues.

Board Members

Mike FahaMike Faha

Mike Faha is a registered landscape architect and founding principal of GreenWorks. He is an Oregon L.E.E.D. Accredited Professional and a U.S. Green Building Council member. Mike's primary professional interest is in creating livable, sustainable communities that balance economic, ecological and social needs. Toward that end, Mike leads planning and design project teams that integrate urban ecology and green development practices on site development and urban design projects. These include civic and institutional, corporate, recreation and open space, public infrastructure, housing and mixed used, and urban revitalization projects. He works with a variety of stakeholders in creating projects with broad support.

Prior employment with engineering, ecological and landscape architectural firms helped to propel him into a leadership role that integrates various professional disciplines, and helps meet his clients' broad-based community design objectives.

Mike earned a B.S. from Oregon State University. 

Mel HuieMel Huie

Mel Huie is the regional trails coordinator for Metro’s Parks and Greenspaces Department. Metro is the regional government for the Portland metropolitan region. Mel has worked for Metro and its predecessor, CRAG (Columbia Region Association of Governments), since 1977. He has served as a parks and trails planner for Metro since 1988, and was a key team member in the development of the Greenspaces Program and Master Plan in 1992. He initiated the regional Greenspaces program at Metro in 1988.

Mel coordinates Metro’s quarterly trails committee, which brings together bicycle and pedestrian trail planners throughout the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region to plan and implement the regional system of trails.

He has volunteered with the Chinese Classical Garden and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Tom LiptanTom Liptan

Tom Liptan is a registered landscape architect and environmental specialist for the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services, Sustainable Stormwater Management Program. Tom has had a large impact on the research and development of new urban design techniques, codes and policies in the city. The success and recognition of these approaches has spread internationally, largely due to his lecturing at conferences in Sweden, Denmark, England, New Zealand and many cities throughout North America. In 2004, the U.S. Embassy in Denmark sponsored his participation at the Union of Baltic Cities Environmental Workshops for cities preparing to enter the European Union.

Liptan has assisted numerous municipalities, developers, consultants, multi-state corporations and government agencies with acceptance of ecoroofs and other landscape approaches used for stormwater management and healthy city development. He has presented papers at several universities and symposiums, including Harvard's School of Design and UCLA's Department of Environmental Engineering. His work has been recognized in various media, and he has received several achievement awards.

He is a contributor to the Handbook of Water Sensitive Planning and Design, Robert France ed. (Lewis Publishers, 2002), and Green Roofs, Ecological Design and Construction, Earth Pledge, Siena Chrisman, ed. (Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2005).

Steffeni Mendoza GraySteffeni Mendoza Gray

Steffeni Mendoza Gray was born in Southern California and has lived in Oregon for more than 30 years. She holds a B.S. in architecture from the University of Oregon. Her professional experience includes six years managing and expanding a small retail business and more than 20 years in executive non-profit management. Currently, Ms. Gray is the intergovernmental relations specialist for the City of Portland's Office of Government Relations.

Her professional and volunteer experience includes serving on numerous public and private sector policy advisory committees and task forces, particularly in the areas of work/family issues, community development, economic development, urban design and planning, civic engagement, business development and education advocacy. She currently serves on the following boards: American Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services, City Club Governors and Portland Schools Foundation.

Her other recent volunteer experiences include serving on the Children First for Oregon Board, the Leaders Roundtable, the State Department of Education Underrepresented Minority Students Advisory Committee, and the Portland Parks Board.

Oregon Business Magazine selected her as one of Oregon's Top 50 Business Leaders in 2004. Ms. Gray is also a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon.

Kelly PunteneyKelly Punteney

Kelly Punteney served for nearly 36 years as the parks, trails and greenways planner/developer for the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department. A graduate of the University of Oregon with degrees in landscape architecture and parks & recreation management & planning, he spent his final year studying urban trails and greenways in Western Europe. He was employed by the city of Vancouver in 1971 as an intern landscape architect and planner, and was assigned to design, plan and manage many notable programs, including the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Vision Plan, which won the National Waterfront Centers Planning Award in 1993 and led to a nationally renowned waterfront trail. More recently he coordinated the completion of the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway, including eight miles of urban trail.

In the early 1990s he joined a team of professionals in designing and building 34 new or remodeled schools in the Vancouver School District. In 1997 Kelly was named cultural division manager for the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department, directing the historic and arts program for the city and county. He was also part of the team that developed the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve Partnership. During that time he managed the O. O. Howard House reconstruction on Officers Row.

In 2000 he turned his attention to the city and county trails and greenways programs, and from 2003 to 2005 supervised the City of Vancouver Urban Forestry Program. The latest project he managed was the updated Clark County Regional Trail and Bikeway Systems Plan 2006, designated a "Legacy Project of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial." In November 2005 he produced the Blazing New Trails Symposium, a community event that drew more than 300 professional landscape architects, planners and engineers to the new Vancouver Hilton Hotel and Convention Center to create a 20-year vision plan for a Clark County regional trail system.

Kelly has long been a staunch supporter of historic preservation, and was actively involved in the Olmsted Centennial celebration in the Portland and Seattle metro areas. Kelly brings a bi-state regional perspective to the Institute's Livable Cities Initiative.


Jim Rapp is environment and resource management marketing manager for the Oregon office of HDR Engineering. He has been closely involved in urban greenspaces issues in Oregon for more than 20 years. As a Portland area city manager for more than half that time, he established groundbreaking city policies for floodplain and wetlands preservation, developing a parks and open space strategy that retained 19 percent of the land within the city limits in natural area and outdoor recreational use, including 400 acres of riparian corridors and floodplain.

Jim was also a leader in the successful effort to establish the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, worked actively on the first Metro Greenspaces bond measure, and served on the Washington County Parks Board.

Since leaving city government in 1995, Jim has continued to help further the livability of our region by consulting on open space and salmon recovery issues. He was executive director of For the Sake of the Salmon for five years, and has served on the boards of The Wetlands Conservancy and Friends of the Refuge, and as president of the Audubon Society of Portland.

Although his birding life list stalled out at 550 species about 5 years ago, he still occasionally dusts off his binoculars. In 2006 he had the great honor of co-chairing the grand opening of the Tualatin River Refuge, some 16 years after first championing the idea along with local citizens and elected officials.

Ruth RothRuth Roth

Ruth Roth was born and raised in Portland, and early on experienced the magic of Forest Park, Sauvie Island waterways, and neighborhood empty lots with tall trees to climb. She has been a long-time supporter of the Coalition for a Livable Future and 1000 Friends of Oregon. Ruth has focused her community efforts to date on historic preservation, low-income housing and social services. She has been a long-time board member of Friendly House and serves as the president of Downtown Housing Community Inc. She joined the Institute's board to expand her horizons by working on urban greenspace issues. Ruth has worked for the city of Portland since 1979.

Judy BlueHorse Skelton

Judy BlueHorse Skelton is an educator, herbalist and activist who shares knowledge of medicinal plants and healing at conferences, educational institutions and workshops. For 14 years, she served as the cultural student support specialist with Portland Public Schools’ Title VII Indian Education program. There she creates curriculum and leads cultural activities focusing on the traditional and contemporary uses of native plants for food, medicine, ceremony, and developing healthy lifeways.

She is the author of a collection of essays for teachers, Native America: A Sustainable Culture (1999), and Lewis & Clark Through Native American Eyes (2003). As herbalist and guest lecturer, Judy worked at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine for 10 years. She has taught at Portland Community College, and currently teaches "Environmental Education Through Native American Lenses" at Portland State University.

Judy wrote and recorded eight health & healing segments and eight sacred landscape segments for the "Wisdom of the Elders" radio programs, which aired nationwide on Public Broadcasting and AIROS (American Indian Radio on Satellite). She was awarded Oregon’s 2006 Outstanding Indian Educator by the OIEA, and currently serves on Portland Public School’s Wellness Policy Advisory Board. Judy recently completed the MA degree in the School of Education’s sustainability program, Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning program at Portland State University.

She widely shares her passion for plants and healing, gardening with children and elders to reconnect with traditional foods that restore our health. Judy serves as consultant for edible and medicinal garden design and education, blending permaculture principles into traditional ecological knowledge.