Council Staff

Steve Wise, Executive Director

S.Wise photo
Steve brings nearly two decades of experience to the Council. Steve returned to Oregon from the acclaimed Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) in Chicago, where he has served as Natural Resources Director since 2006. At CNT, he led green infrastructure work that helped the organization earn a MacArthur Foundation Innovative and Effective Organization award in 2009.

Before taking the job at CNT, Steve lived in Oregon and served in several leadership roles at the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. In addition to working with a number of other river and conservation organizations, he also taught a grant writing class at Mount Hood Community College and a class on “salmonomics” for the University of Oregon’s Environmental Studies program.

Katherine Cory, Development Director

Katherine is a Sandy River watershed resident and farm owner with a passion for the outdoors. She has been participating in watershed restoration efforts for 15 years across Oregon, engaging in salmon counts, water sampling, and trail building. Experienced in finance and accounting, she also has an educational background in forestry and wildlife management. Katherine is also a resident member of the Beaver Creek Conservation Partnership, and is working towards reviving the Friends of Beaver Creek.

Bill Weiler, Education Coordinator

Bill is almost a “Sandy River Native” having lived in Sandy, Oregon and worked as the City of Sandy Parks and Recreation Director, Sandy Community School Director and Oxbow Park Supervisor.  Bill’s background is as a fish and wildlife biologist and environmental educator.

Bill is the co-founder of the environmental education non-profit, the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, and he has authored several books, including “Don’t Run from Bears.”

Sara Ennis, Community Stewardship Coordinator

Sara has a background in watershed education and restoration, and has spent a lot of time in the Sandy River Basin. She completed a master’s degree in Environmental Management with a focus on river restoration at Portland State University. She has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service conducting stream surveys throughout the state, contracted with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and most recently worked for the City of Portland’s Street Tree Program.  Sara enjoys getting out into the woods, making good food, and attempting to play fiddle and guitar.

Kara Caselas, Restoration Project Manager

Kara's six years of experience working for various land trusts granted her the opportunity to work on a variety of conservation projects, including managing 8,500 acres of second growth forest and implementing a wildlife corridor study covering nine square miles. Recently she completed her Masters of Environmental Management at Portland State University, with a research partnership with Columbia Land Trust, conducting the first assessment of Oregon white oak systems east of the Cascades. She currently serves as a Board Member for The Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and spoiling her cats Bagheera and Mowgli.

Melissa Cannell, Community Engagement Specialist

Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Melissa graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelors of science in marketing in 2014. She has since made the pacific northwest her home. Spending summers in Seward, Alaska as a guide and Park Ranger. And the rest of the year in Portland, Oregon. Where she began her time with the watershed council as their 2017-2018 Americorps member.