Tribute to Thane Tienson, co-host of the Changing Waters podcast
Remembering Thane Tienson, a great coastal advocate
Thane Tienson, co-host of the Changing Waters Podcast, was known as a champion for the environment, for underdogs and long-shot good causes, and for the working waterfront along West Coast. As many of our listeners know, Thane died in January. For this tribute show we focus on his remarkable contributions as a professional and colleague. Here we present Brad’s interviews with two of Thane’s old friends and colleagues: Steve Fick, owner of Fishhawk Fisheries, and Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of the Columbia Riverkeeper.
Brad Warren 0:00
This is Brad Warren co host with the late great Thane Tienson of the changing waters podcast here on ESPN. I have the bittersweet duty to present today, two interviews with folks who were dear to Thane and who remember him well and render a good tribute. As to why this was an important man in my life, I look forward to to presenting to you the work of Steve remembrance of Steve Fick from Fish Hawk fisheries, who knew Thane for many, many years and worked with him a long time, and also Brett Vanden Heuvil from the Columbia River keeper group, where thing serves on the board as well as he serves on the board of the organization. I run the national fisheries conservation center. And we share a kind of common thread of having had one of the best board members we've ever had. With that, we'll start with Brett Vanden Yuval, and here we go. Steven and Mike, do I have it right? You're in a story of Boy, you knew each other growing up?
Steve Hick 1:18
Yeah, that's correct. I grew up I'm about 10 years younger than thing. And thing had actually departed a story in his high school years. His father passed and he ended up actually in high school in Portland, as I recall, he and I talking about it, but thing was always an astorian. True, true to form his entire life. This was always home to him.
Brad Warren 1:44
Yeah, yeah, that's right. And we'll circle back to that. I think there's going to be some material there. Just to start things off, tell me about fish Hawk fisheries.
Steve Hick 1:54
Well, I'm a first generation processor. I have a brief history of like many in my time. I graduated from high school in 1975. I immediately went into the seafood industry to support my college education. I both commercially first on the Columbia River and I worked for Bumblebee seafoods in the daytime pushing tuna racks at el mar. And I had that seafood relationship from the time I was 18. It did put me through college. I looked at those tuna fish and I swore I would never want to look at another fish. Once I got out of college it motivated me to get educated. And at the same time I got an opportunity to fish on the Columbia River at night gill net and and I really enjoyed that. It was like getting paid to go deer hunting and the way I looked at it and when I got out of college, I had saved enough money for a skiff to go now with and I also had the opportunity to go north with a friend of mine was a boat builder and fishermen for 50 years. Friend of my mom and dad's and I fished in Cook Inlet with him. And at that point I saw opportunities while I was up there to device surplus salmon row for fishing bait, and I bought razor clams and then two years later, I started shipping fish out of there. And 1983 I started processing fish down here on the Columbia River and and maintained my bad habit of wanting to commercial fish. And so I continue to that at some level today. But 1983 when I started the business 1989 I built a new plant here in Astoria. It's small, by comparison of the born change or Pacific's for many years, we had a receiving station in Newport. And when the coal fishery had changed down there with a coho ese component playing into it in the summer, I then decided to lease a processing facility and Kenai, Alaska and in 1992. And since then we've been processing fish up there besides Astoria. So like I say, we employ the peak of peak of time I was up to 7580 employees here and 50 in Alaska. Now, I've gotten out of the shrimp business in a traditional manner. And so we we generally seasonally have about 20 people for salmon and crab and it's a smaller scale.
Brad Warren 4:49
Yeah, so salmon and crab as your mainstay. Other things come in, and yeah, and all this time you knew thing 10 And he was doing work as an attorney and fisheries and kind of taking on, as you mentioned earlier, the kind of the cause where people were getting a raw deal. He really wanted to fight for the little guy he did. Yeah. Did you work with sane in that capacity?
Steve Hick 5:16
Well, I'll tell you where our first methane was. We hired thing to represent shamon for all, which was an industry group. But today, it continues to represent the non non recreational fishing public, commercial commercial sector primarily. And we hired him to protect us against litigation advises us on legislative issues, and so forth. And that's really where I got got to meet him. We had some lawsuits during that time, where they tried to close down some fishing. We challenged that we won some we eventually lost them. But we've forged ahead, we've kept the industry intact, and a lot of that is through the guidance of what thing was able to participate. He, he and I work closely together, save our wild salmon with both worked closely with that group. course he did a lot of litigation and 1993 when they decided they'd walk small around the dam instead of having a free flowing river. He was part of that litigation process, which was very important to the power Planning Act when the equity aspect of that in fairness to the natural resource component of our hydro systems, so at least, he's been a incredibly important part in the fabric of Astoria.
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Brad Warren 7:40
Now you mentioned both salmon for all and save our wild salmon. And you've been active in both groups and working with Fang in that context as well.
Steve Hick 7:51
Yeah you know an interesting enough he's he was visionary enough to come to us processors later on. He says you know you need a seafood processors Association. Yeah. And he essentially took the bull by the horns and he he he herded the cats into the corral here and and that that the organization is maintaining itself successfully today, because we had so many encompassing problems on the West Coast was with seafood general groundfish crab allocation, the tuna negotiations that go on between Canada and us the US Canadian treaty was salmon. All these things are important components to successful seafood processing operations. And he he led us down the road and right path here and and that's that's been very important to the northwest here and about how we've been able to engage in in management practices.
Brad Warren 8:53
That's right. Yeah. With a prior to the formation of the association. Were the seafood processors basically, showing up piecemeal those who could afford to would go to the meetings and those who couldn't sat on the sidelines and waited to get the bad news. How did that work?
Steve Hick 9:10
Well, I The thing is, when you talk about Clemmie river issues, we were always pretty well united through salmon for all and now was an organization that had been reinvented from the early 60s when there was an initiative to outlaw commercial fishing on the Columbia River. So on the Columbia River was salmon issues. We were fairly well united. And a lot of the ground fish issues hadn't come up yet that we had the overfishing of rockfish so some of the mismanagement on national fisheries level that you know, uncovered the entire West Coast. Yeah. And that that's when he saw Hey, you got the same problem coming here that you have on Columbia River and that's where that's where that West Coast seafood processors Association came in. But as far as the Columbia River, we've always we've had a real tight rural kind of unity. And he was always part of that. He was part of that team. He was kind of like the quarterback. You know, in one sense he, he would lead our strategy sessions of, of how do we how do we get our message out that we are environmentalist that we are sustainable, we, we are the protectors of fish, even though we want to catch them. By and large, we want to protect them. And we want to be in part, part of the solution such as questioning barging questioning water flows, stopping continuation of misuse of water on the Columbia River for, you know, just simply holding water up or you will you get thermal pollution, and in the lower River at times, all these issues. And he really, he really helped us focus on the real issues confronting salmon. And that, really, when you look at the science, which he was very well versed on, show that it wasn't harvest, it was all these other factors. And that's, that is another important part was that he was able to help guide us into partnerships with Native Americans, their tribal concerns and understanding their cultures and how it was more than just just the catching of the fish, but a lot of there, a lot of their social and religious values are our guide and salmon like, like we in the law of Colombia or, and so he was able to help us get that message in partnerships. He worked with us. We made a road trip. Back in the 80s. We took a component of contingent of people started here in Astoria, I went to hermiston went up the river all the way to Boise met with the governor up there and exchange shared ideas about how can we coexist on a river? How can we have those potatoes with our fish? How can we not hurt industry, how the stars operate? How does yours operate? And Thane was instrumental in in getting us directed that way. I mean, those are those are big, big deals that really help these communities. And he, you know, he could have made other life choices, and he could have made a lot more money. Focusing on other issues in in Portland.
Brad Warren 12:51
You bet. I mean, a lot of people have pointed out that he was really never in it for the money. Mm hmm. Yeah, he was he was in it for the little guy and for really, the ability of the river in the sea to keep making fish.
Steve Hick 13:07
He probably rooted for the New York Mets when they won the World Series the first time.
Brad Warren 13:14
Hey, tell me this. What do you think, Thane would have thought of this new plan that has just come out of Idaho? It looks like a really very forward looking attempt to set things right on the river. You know, they say it's Mike Simpson's plan. It's just come out. Have you seen this?
Steve Hick 13:35
Well, he His goal was to see salital falls again, I want to preface that he, you know, common sense. And logic sometimes doesn't get to be an application, unfortunately. But he, I think there's a lot of promise, I think he made a very supportive of that, I think removal of dams that have really minimal value, that we can resolve issues. For those with their businesses up there, get them the water, get them to transportation, I think can be a very strong advocate of that. He was a very strong advocate of that. We talked about that often, you know, what, what can and could be practically done. And it's not that unrealistic from happening.
Brad Warren 14:25
Steve Hick 14:26
He was very supportive for that.
Brad Warren 14:28
Right. Now, you mentioned that the, the attempt to control the thermal, oh, really the overheating of the river and the sort of sun heated slackwater pools behind the dams. And I know that thing was involved in some of the early litigation that put the thermal standards in. And was that a salmon for all case?
Steve Hick 14:51
We were part of it, you know, we were part of it. There were many groups if I recall, yeah. On that that particular one. 93 that judge Marsh was involved with, that made a decision on the bar chain, I believe, you know, we were one of the parties to it. And, you know, it was it was a very important turning point of how we were going to manage recovery, and increased production and hatchery and wild production and all how that's going to go together. And, you know, we've made in my belief, we've made progress slowly, since that time, but if if we were to just sit, we can throw them in a barge or weakened room below below those dams. And, and, and not have any emphasis on the northwest power Planning Act, which I don't think we still have defined equity fairly. And he, he and I talked about that, too, you know, equal means 5050. In my book, it doesn't mean you know, you, you pick, you cut the pie, and you pick the piece. And that's kind of what's happened. And but
Brad Warren 16:09
you're getting into an issue. I don't know, the details. So you fill me in here a little bit on, on the northwest power Planning Act, there's an equity provision in your view and things it never really has come to fruition. It sounds like Tell me about that?
Steve Hick 16:24
Well, it never really has, because I don't think the concerns of wildlife, and fish on top of it, it wasn't just about fish, it was about wildlife, and the natural resources and the health of the river, all these things were considerations in that power hunting. And what what has happened was, I think it's been, and I'm biased in this, and then I talked about this a lot too, but it's still skewed to other uses transportation, hydro, all these other irrigation, you know, we could have more responsible irrigation practices. But it's better than it could have been, and would have been without him fighting. You know, like with the marsh ruling, you know, you don't get to barge everything now and then just hold all the water back. And that's not you know, that was they did an excellent job of proving that wasn't a solution that they have had not good results, generally speaking about it.
Brad Warren 17:29
I remember that
Steve Hick 17:30
those are all part of a process. We're going to continue to move forward on.
Brad Warren 17:35
Yeah, the judges wording in that was very powerful. That was actually the case I met thing shortly after they had won that that room, and the others working on it. And they chose his word it made me laugh. This is like the fox complaining that the chickens haven't been fed. Yeah.
Steve Hick 17:56
Well, like I said, we've got a lot of work to move forward with. I just completed two years of work myself with user groups along the river clear up to Montana, that is kind of giving advice to know where we want to head in the future, how we can work together. And that's, that's the type of work that thing did what I liked about thing I learned a lot from him, it mentor and a lot of ways in my business. I learned from him for my business. How do you get results and minimize impacts on people? And I've used that same philosophy with business how how do I make a profit and make the person I'm showing the fish to successful? Yeah, you know, and he, he was always cognizant of the effects it was going to have on a lot of people. He was not callous to, you know, do if we knock these dams out? Well, so what about the farmer? Or so what about transportation? He was always looking for partnerships, how we come up with reasonable meaningful solutions that everybody stays whole. You can that's, that's what I liked about thing and he he get called for what it was, was and he had good arguments when he would take when he would take a stance on something. He it wasn't about emotion he had he had factual basis for what he was talking about. And that was why he's such a good powerful attorney.
Brad Warren 19:33
He was he was terrific. You know why his hand? Yeah, yeah. Steve, thank you. I think we covered it and I look forward to more This feels like a good place to end and the beginning of more conversations to come.
Steve Hick 19:48
Well, I will like to add one thing about about thing is that you know, he was a dear friend. We talked to him. I spoke to him two days before he passed. Just he was going to come down, steal some crab, and I was gonna have to buy him lunch on top of it. And I look forward to that. But he, you know, he was one. I've had other friends like that, that he didn't like bullies. And he didn't accept that. And he he would do the things sometimes that were very
how could I put it, he just he just was willing to to step up sometimes where it wasn't easy to step up because of principle that I always appreciated that about thing. And the other thing I really affect it really appreciated about him was I could watch him around people. And he could, he could have differing viewpoints didn't matter if it was this or political candidates are or some other aspect of our lives. And everybody walked out of the room. Nobody had mad at each other. And he was the kind of guy who would respect those views. He had very close friend that was very conservative. They went and Vietnam together, watched him drink a beer, laugh about things at night and, and hug and go home, you know? Yeah. So
here's superguide. I honor on. Thank you.
Brad Warren 21:24
Thank you, Steve. Well said, You think really was one of the people who built and kept the vision of collaborative problem solving. It's at the center of the organization, and I've been running and national fisheries conservation center. He kept us on track so many times, in exactly the way you described. I, I'm going to miss him.
We're very pleased to have with us today, Brett VandenHeuval, who was an and is a great fan and friend of faints, and remembers working with him for a long time. And he is the executive director of the Columbia River keeper. And I just as a as a start, why don't you give me the kind of elevator version of the Columbia River keeper and its work?
Brett VandenHeuval 22:19
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I'm happy to be here to talk about thing and it's Yeah. sad occasion for stepping into his his shoes. But he was a Dane was one of the founders of Columbia Riverkeeper in the year 2000. And we're, you know, one of the many things that he had his hands in, over the years and yeah, really close friend of mine and board member for a long time. So, river keeper is a nonprofit that's dedicated to protecting the Columbia River. And most of our work is from the Canadian border down to the estuary. So we take a watershed approach, we work to fight for clean water, reduce toxic pollution, protect and restore salmon stocks, a big part of our work has been fighting against fossil fuel infrastructure from coal trains and oil terminals and fracked gas and you know, working to not only protect clean water, but try to protect our climate. And so it's been a, let's see, when I started about 1213 years ago, we had I think, three staff and now we're up to about 15. Our organization has grown as you know, the need to protect the Columbia has grown. And so we have an awesome team of we have five environmental attorneys and community organizers and communications professionals. And we're have offices in Portland and the river. And so we've Yeah, it's feel like it's a really exciting time for our organization. And it's something that thing really helped not only started but build over the years.
Brad Warren 24:09
Yes, I know he was devoted to it. He served on our board for 20 years, I think it was starting in the mid 90s. When we got he was a founding board member at nfcc as well. And so I heard about your work indirectly through him and he was he was enthusiastic. He really believed in this. And one of the things I wanted to ask you is to fill me in on some of the major issues that you took on the same was involved in with you.
Brett VandenHeuval 24:40
Yeah. One of the really prominent early issues when I started was the liquefied natural gas terminals in. Well, there were several proposed at the time, but down in the estuary, one near cliffwood Clifton channel at a place called Brad wood Brad LNG, and there was one on the skipping peninsula called Oregon LNG near Warrington. And at that time, you know, like, like, now we've been fighting these big fossil fuel projects for a long time. But at that time, those were the really early ones on the Columbia, you know, to take when the fracking was increasing, and to take all this gas and to be able to do something with it, export it to Asia, and the local folks were fighting it, you know, the commercial fishermen, the local residents, and they weren't getting much traction with environmental groups and things story on this is that his mother who lived in assets, that thing was raised in a story and his mother lived there for a long time, and is always kind of cool to see thing going down to every time we went to a story, he'd go visit his mother, you know, this the 70 year old guy talking about the need to go visit his mother. And and, you know, she, she told me that this was important that it was a big deal that local folks cared about it. And Thane made the pitch to Columbia River keeper to get involved. And we did and it was a really exciting thing where there's a lot of legal work, but also a lot of organizing. Max, you know, eventually had a couple of big victories over these LNG terminals.
Brad Warren 26:25
And this was starting in about 2000. You were pretty early.
Brett VandenHeuval 26:30
This was Yeah, I think these terminals were proposed in 2003 2004.
Brad Warren 26:35
Yeah. Was this a big debate? I mean, I'm thinking that for the folks involved in a Riverkeeper organization dealing with something out on the edge of the sea. fossil fuel development that it might be not a river issue, but maybe an ocean issue. might have been something people had to debate. Is that really ours to do? Yeah.
Brett VandenHeuval 26:58
Yeah, no, that's exactly right. Brad. And, and, and we've had these conversations over the years for a lot of things, especially as we've done more and more climate work. And, you know, how is this related to water quality and, and, you know, our board has been fantastic about that they've really made that connection. And Thane was a big proponent of that early on. And you know, for something like LNG, sure, there was huge there was it was actually a nice gateway into some of the climate issues. Looking back at it, because there were a lot of aquatic impacts where they were dredging a giant shipping, you know, a turning basin in the in this prime estuary, salmon habitat, there was potential for spills, they were building big new docks. And so there was, you know, there's habitat impacts. But, I mean, I think why people I put so much energy into these over the years is beyond habitat, its habitat, plus the climate impact of locking us into fossil fuel infrastructure for decades. You know, and we need to be moving on to, to cleaner sources. So our board has, yeah, had lots of debates about that. And I think we've always come down on the side of, you know, climate changes, actual, you know, absolutely critical issue of our time, and it affects water quality, right. The Columbia, for example, is too hot for salmon to survive, and, and the dams cause that, but climate change is making it worse. And so if we're going to have long term survival of salmon, we need to address the climate crisis.
Brad Warren 28:29
Right. And this is, I mean, we're on the same page, obviously, on that I wanted to ask you to fill me in a little bit on there's a deep history that I personally know very little about, of wrestling over thermal limits on water in Columbia and the role of dams in that. And I know you guys have been involved in a famous passionate about it and very proud of the work that he was able to be part of. I wonder if you can sort of go back to the beginning and paint that picture.
Brett VandenHeuval 29:05
the Columbia River is warming up. And there there are limits are safe limits for salmon, right? salmon are Coldwater species. And so the scientists have determined that anything over 68 degrees Fahrenheit is unsafe, even for migration, right, they need a colder to spawn, you know, much colder, but just to travel up the main stem to get to where they need to go 60 degrees to the maximum. And Columbia exceeds that in the summer. And, you know, it's it's temperature, like hot water is pollution, right? It's it's, it is considered a pollutant. And it just flies under the radar of everybody because, you know, if there was a giant oil spill in the river, everyone would notice, right, but
Brad Warren 29:48
if the river warms up, just to sort of paint the picture, there's a role that dams and diversions have played in this by making the river more vulnerable to sun heating in the summer, right Exactly right, that physical process for me.
Brett VandenHeuval 30:02
Yeah. So the dams create reservoirs on the Columbia, they're very shallow reservoirs for the most part and stagnant water. And that slow moving shallow water is absorbing solar radiation and warming up. And not only that, but it's keeping it in place longer. And so there's been some recent studies where the dams are, essentially each dam is warming up the river by a couple degrees Fahrenheit.
Brad Warren 30:27
Yeah. So when you put that together, you get from the dams a preview of climate change conditions that threaten salmaan. It's coastwide. And I know that this was a key issue getting EPA to set thermal standards. And did you were you guys involved in that?
Brett VandenHeuval 30:44
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So well, 20 years ago, EPA, you know, under the Clean Water Act, if a water body is exceeding the safe limit for any pollution, EPA has to create, or the states have to create a plan under the Clean Water Act called a TMDL, which is essentially a pollution budget, and EPA did so for the Columbia 20 years ago. It pointed to the dams as a source of pollution. And it got shelved. You know, the the rumors on it is the Army Corps of Engineer said, no way this isn't getting published and put on a shelf. And so 20 years later, Columbia Riverkeeper sued EPA, and and won in court just recently, a couple years ago, and the judge forced them to create, to finish this plan and publicize it, or publish it. And it It identifies pretty similar to the plan. 20 years ago, it identified the dams as the source of pollution. And so we're right in the middle of that right now. And we have a great court opinion, EPA is about to finalize their the temperature budget for the Columbia. And we're, the state of Washington and Oregon have been great saying they're going to require the dams to meet the safe level for salmon. And we're really excited about it. And yeah, and Thane was a really an early proponent of that, because he recognized the, you know, the science and the need for legal action. The federal government under any administration, much less the Trump administration wasn't going to do what was necessary to, you know, to make the hard choices about protecting salmon.
Brad Warren 32:23
Right, right. It's been one of the big conundrums for a long time. Do you can you describe some of the ways that fame played a major thing played a role in that in that decision process for you as an organization?
Brett VandenHeuval 32:41
Yeah, well, he is, you know, he's, he was a long, longtime board member and very influential on our board and his legal experience, people, people really valued. And one of the things about Dane is he never, you know, he never pulled rank on anybody or sort of big time to anybody. He was just part of the discussion. And, and he was certainly influential, but never tried to, you know, a way everybody brought everyone into the conversation and made everyone better. I felt so this was an issue that he cared about and advocated for over the years. And the last few years, he's been he's been he was off our board, do too many other things. Well, while a lot of this litigation was going on, but it was a long running process that he was, he was certainly a champion of.
Brad Warren 33:33
Yeah, yeah. Tell me about some of the other cases where same played a role. I know, you, you've covered a lot of ground.
Brett VandenHeuval 33:43
Yeah, I mean, all of our legal work, he played a role because he was a sounding board and, you know, and offering advice. And then on top of that, he was, you know, an attorney who actually we would co counsel with him. And some of my cutting my teeth as a, you know, early days of an attorney thing was a real mentor to me, and we would go to I remember the first mediation I did, where you have a judge in both sides, and you go back and forth and just doing that within was was a real learning experience and very, very thoughtful. Most attorneys are very risk averse, and Dane was not. And so it showed me an approach of just you know, being aggressive and, and thing was always able to say yes to all sorts of things we had. During the LNG days, we, we ran a ballot initiative, they were gonna, they were gonna run that LNG company needed to run their giant pipeline, you know, 36 inch pipeline and part of it was through all different kinds of zones in clatsop County, right it was through industrial zone, but then went through a bunch of farms and and happened to go through this zone. It was called open space and parks. And it was a lot of pipelines were allowed through that at the time. And so we ran a ballot initiative in clatsop. County with a bunch of the local activists to say, no pipelines and parks. This this particular place didn't happen to be a part. But it was open space. And so, and we won that we, you know, won by 30 points, that ballot initiative in clatsop. County, and the pipeline company challenged it, and Thane and I were defending it, it was great. I was, is the first time I've done something like this type of case. And Thane was my co counsel, and he just sat there and just, you know, let me go and, and I was such a reassuring presence to have him. I think this exemplifies a lot of my relationship with him that he was such a confidence booster, you know, he was there if I needed him, and he could have jumped in and taken over. But he was he was letting me go letting me make my mistakes. And it was a it was a good case. And we won, but but he didn't feel the need to, to, you know, run it his way.
Brad Warren 36:01
Yes, yes. This was true. In our experience. To me, I was basically a young journalist when we started nfcc in 94. And he hit that hit that point, he had just won the marsh ruling of where the DSi is the big industrial power users were suing to shut down Columbia River salmon fishing, so that they wouldn't have to spill water. fish come down the river. And the judge had ruled that this was akin to the fox complaining that the hens had not been fed. And it was you know, it's just a very powerful, really, I met thing. You know, a demonstration in the street in, in Portland, in the spring of 93. When he was he had just won this case, he and other attorney, and he was giving a talk about it to a group of native fishermen and non native fishermen and environmental activists. And it was stunning. It was it was such a powerful case, it was clearly a landmark then, and there was not a dry eye in the crowd. I mean, he was such a powerful speaker, and very humble in the way he did it. You know, it was was very clear that this guy was a great broadsword litigator, there, not very many around, and he really was one. And through the years at the same, this sense of humble mentoring, I never felt like he was bossing me around. He would, he would argue with me. And usually he prevailed. If I was wrong, he was the first on our board to point it out. If I was steering us towards something that would just was going to be a dead end, he would he would call it. And for us, actually, as an organization, we're collaborative problem solving by by core mission. So litigation has never been a first option. And, and we've looked at it a few times. And each time, as you know, like a warrior who knows how to make peace. It was saying who said, No. You know, leave that to other people. That's what we're here for. And it had a lot of weight coming from him.
Brett VandenHeuval 38:19
Yeah, that's great. Yeah, I think that's just very, you know, wise. And he's probably been part of enough groups to see that, okay, this group uses litigation as a regular tool, and it has these advantages, but it has these disadvantages. And you know, knowing knowing how to move those chess pieces as a overall community that that wisdom will definitely be missed.
Brad Warren 38:44
Oh, it will, it will tell me there's me outside of this, you know, incredible career that thing shared with us fighting for the resource as a human being. I always had the sense that for you As for me, he was like an older brother. And I don't know if I'm right in that. It tell me how. Tell me about that.
Brett VandenHeuval 39:15
Yeah, yeah, no, that's that's right. He and I was just we did last several days ago. Time is that time is getting a little fuzzy but we did a very small things things daughter and his son came out to Hood River and we had just a few people gather outside and and it was classic Fein actually where it was kind of organized at the last minute and it was blowing about 30 right here on the end of what's called the hook in Hood River and it was just a beautiful day, big rainbow came out and we took some flowers and threw them up into the wind and they went in the river and, and some of the, you know, hearing different stories from his family really reflected on some of the experiences that I had. And so that that big brother concept was was interesting. But yeah, for me, I think just going back to that he, he always made people feel better. You know, he made me feel more confident he was there to let me let me make my mistakes. He was there to give a stern word when needed. And, and I think most of all that ability to just take things on, not overthink it, you know, this is the right thing to do. Let's do it. And we'll figure out a way. You know, a lot along the way, we'll figure out how to do this. But the yes or no, the Why should we do this is yes, because it's the right thing to do. He had this just incredible sense of justice.
Brad Warren 41:06
Brett VandenHeuval 41:07
My former coworker, Brent Foster, who is very good friends. I think he was a director of Columbia Riverkeeper before me, and then we did a lot of cases with Zane over the years. And he was telling this story about this, this project in Hood River where Columbia River keeper now has a conservation easement to to restore this area of waterfront we use it for education, it's amazing site called Nichols natural area, but it was proposed to be a big hotel and commercial building right on the water. And they were going to do a cable park where they're dragging wakeboarders around and cables by cables. And it was going to block access to the river and so Breton thing to get on. And then we're gonna challenge this and they eventually won. And Brad said he remembers going to thing and he's like, I've got this case, I need your help. It's going to be a really hard case. We don't have good facts, or you know, the law is not great on our side, it's going to take several years, and you're almost certainly not going to get paid.
let's do it. Those are the kinds of things that Yeah, he saw the is this is this the right thing to do or not?
Brad Warren 42:22
Yeah, yeah. They don't grow lawyers on trees who do that. Alright, well, I think we covered the ground well enough for the time we have I want to acknowledge that this podcast exists because thing really advocated for it. So here we are, you know, you know, forum that same created and we get a chance to celebrate. Thank you for taking the time.
Brett VandenHeuval 42:49
Yeah, bring it. Yeah. Thanks for having me. And I think all of your work bright Brad is a, you know, continuation of his legacy as well and the amazing work that y'all are doing, and I'm sure he'd be very proud of proud of that.
Brad Warren 43:05
Well, likewise, we were lucky to get to work with him and we're fortunate to get to carry it forward.