It’s with great sadness, the Land Trust notes the passing of Bruce White. Our deepest sympathies go to Bruce’s wife Cathy and their family. Bruce was one of the Land Trust's founders and, indeed, was the source of the very idea of the Deschutes Land Trust.
A life long conservationist and an attorney by training, Bruce took great interest in the thoughtful management and protection of the environment. This led him into countless efforts to protect wild places and free running rivers. In the early ‘90’s, as part of a small, passionate group of public employees, Bruce and his colleagues spent hours debating natural resource policy over post-work beers. It was during one of those ale-infused sessions at the Deschutes Brewery that Bruce introduced the idea that perhaps the group should consider forming a land trust. While Bruce’s spark of an idea would smolder a bit longer, Bruce’s insight had taken hold and the Deschutes Land Trust was incorporated in September of 1995.
Sensitive to having too many County staff on the Land Trust Board, Bruce pitched in wherever needed, but didn’t actually step onto the Board of the Land Trust until October, 1997. As a Board Member, Bruce could be both critical and challenging, while at the same time insightful and visionary. He reveled in playing the devil’s advocate and never hesitated to ask the hard questions. As a member of the Land Trust’s “Squaw Creek Working Group,” Bruce helped research and survey what we now call Whychus Creek. He anticipated the historic reintroduction of salmon and steelhead and helped lay the foundation for future land acquisitions and stream restoration projects. From his seat on the Board, Bruce was a passionate advocate for the Land Trust’s acquisition of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and the Metolius Preserve.
Though term limits meant Bruce would step off the Board in 2005, he remained a tireless advocate for the Land Trust, while also stepping up his involvement with other community organizations, chiefly the Des Chutes Historical Society. Bruce, throughout his life, demonstrated a remarkable passion for both the environment and his local community, helping to shape our communities and maintain the natural beauty that surrounds them. While we’ll greatly miss him, his legacy will be with us for a very long time.
Bruce's family suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the Deschutes Land Trust. The Land Trust will direct these contributions towards the long-term stewardship of the Metolius Preserve.