Honored Citizens

Since 1993, afo has honored public officials, community advocates, statewide organizations, philanthropists, developers, artists, architects, and more. Each honoree listed below has made significant contributions to Oregon’s designed environment. Over the years, the Honored Citizen Dinner has grown to be the largest event for the built environment industry in Oregon.

Jeff Gianola has edited and produced videos on each of our honorees since the awarding of Philanthropist Jean Vollum in 2003. Learn more about each of our past Honored Citizens below.

Donald J. Stastny, a Citizen and Provocateur, has forged a unique professional career as an Architect and Urbanist. His nationally recognized elevation of Design and Design Methodology as a “problem solving tool” has its foundation in the academic, political and social cultures of Portland and Oregon. Don’s professional approach, ethos and intellect have garnered him many titles: Architect and Placemaker, for his architectural work that reflects the values of a people and impact the community in which they are located; Urbanist and Strategic Planner, for providing tools for local decision makers to respond to the cultural and economic conditions that are unique to a place; Design Process Manager and Innovator, for elevating the design quality of over 500 new and renovated federal properties throughout the nation; and Teacher/Mentor and Citizen, for educating individuals and communities about the “power of design” through founding the Oregon School of Design and providing education for the elderly and youth.

Lee Kelly is a “national treasure” who began studying architecture in the early 1950’s at Vanport College, now Portland State University. Lee Kelly’s contributions to Oregon’s designed and built environment are visible throughout Oregon as you drive along the freeway, stroll through the park, or hurry to class on campus.

More than 30 of Kelly’s monumental sculptures command public spaces between Eugene and Vancouver. His works are on nearly every public and private higher education campus in Oregon. His Lupine Fugue is prominently featured at The Oregon Garden in Silverton. Tens of thousands of commuters pass his Arch With Oaks every day at Cornell Oaks Corporate Center adjacent to Highway 26. Residents and visitors alike interact on a daily basis with his Frank L. Beach Memorial Fountain in Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden. Perhaps his most prominent recent installation is Memory 99 in the North Park Blocks adjacent to Pacific Northwest College of Art. Lee received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from PNCA’s predecessor, the Portland Art Museum School, in 1959.

Often working in Cor-Ten or stainless steel, Kelly has been called the greatest living sculptor in the Pacific Northwest. He continues to adapt to new technologies as they become available, and his work continues to evolve. As staggeringly beautiful as his sculptures are to view, the man himself is quiet, humble, and octogenarian “boy-next-door.”

Nearly 800 people celebrated both Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer as afo’s 2015 Honored Citizens on October 27, 2015 at the Oregon Convention Center. Our celebratory dinner provided a place to learn about the diverse contributions that create a designed and built environment worthy of our beautiful Pacific Northwest. Here is Jeff Gianola’s video tribute to Arlene and Jordan:

Art Johnson was recognized as our 2014 Honored Citizen October 1, 2014.

Benson Industries was recognized on October 9, 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Recognizing Oregon as a very special place in the world – “geographically blessed” as Phil says, drives much of Phil & Penny’s giving. The Knights have made multiple gifts of $100 million or more to create research, learning and athletic environments that contribute to the success of the buildings’ clients. From the University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena and John E. Jaqua Center for Student Athletes to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Center, their understanding of design’s impact on life within the buildings has been a guiding force for their investments in their beloved state.

The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) is committed to bringing fresh approaches to solving tough issues in Oregon communities. It improves lives and unites Oregonians as the leader in Oregon philanthropy, strengthening communities across the state.

In a community foundation, donors pool their funds under shared management. Each donor can tailor his or her gift to achieve their giving objective. By investing together, they can squeeze more good from every dollar. OCF is the sixth largest community foundation in the United States. From William Swindells’s initial $63,000 contribution, OCF today has upwards of $1.1 billion under management through 1,600 charitable funds, and provided $60 million in grants and scholarships in 2010.

Whether through the routing of the week-long ride itself, through the “tent city” villages that are erected for overnight stays in towns along the way, through the hospitality that these areas provide to the 2,000+ riders, or through the Cycle Oregon Fund which cycles monetary support back to these communities through its annual grants.

From small grants for grange hall improvements in the tiny Wheeler County town of Spray, for restoration of the Elgin Opera House, the Butte Falls Community Center, the Athena American Legion Hall, and preservation of the Historic Columbia River Highway to major gifts given to the picturesque town of Halfway and to the Kum Wah Chung & Co. Museum, Cycle Oregon is leaving tracks of philanthropy to support infrastructure all across Oregon.

Dave Frohnmayer retired as University of Oregon president in June of 2009, having provided outstanding leadership during his 15-year tenure. He has raised more than $1 billion in private philanthropy for UO and added a host of new centers and institutes. The University’s greatest construction cycle in its history has taken place during Frohnmayer’s tenure with approximately $500 million in construction projects completed or underway.

Completed projects include the Portland facility in the White Stag Block building, the Integrative Science Complex, the William W. Knight Law Center, the Lillis Business Complex, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music Building, the HEDCO Education building, the Matthew Knight Arena, the Ford Alumni Center, expansion of Autzen Stadium and major upgrades to historic Hayward Field.

Much had changed in 60 years, but not Gray’s passion for Oregon’s beauty or his respect for how we develop our state to accommodate those of us who choose to live here alongside the creatures who came before us.

We think of John as the developer who taught us how to build in concert with the land. Specializing in environmentally sensitive property development, Gray developed Salishan Lodge and Salishan Hills on the Oregon Coast, Sunriver in Central Oregon, Johns Landing in Portland, and Skamania Lodge on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

A life-long Portland resident and veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives, Earl Blumenauer has devoted his entire career to public service. He earned his law degree at Lewis & Clark and was elected to the Oregon Legislature when he was just 23. In 1979 he became a Multnomah County Commissioner, and in 1986 was elected to Portland’s City Council, serving 10 years as commissioner of public works. As a local official, Earl developed a national reputation for his advocacy of public transportation, land use planning, environmental protection, and school funding. His notable accomplishments have helped make Portland one of the nation’s most livable cities.

Since his election to Congress in 1996, Earl has focused on making the federal government an effective partner with architects and business in creating livable communities, communities that offer a better mix of transportation, housing, and open-space alternatives. “Architects,” says Blumenauer, “link the artistic expression of what people want to get out of the built environment with the requirements and realities of the governmental arena—water, air, open space, light, energy requirements, and building codes.” For that reason, “They are more important than they know.”

Bob Gerding was widely known for his contributions to Oregon’s built environment as one of the state’s leading developers. But, those who knew Bob know that his emphasis was more on ‘contribution’ than on ‘developer.’ While Bob relished putting deals together, adding to the skyline, and realizing financial success as much as anyone, the things that really got his engine running were the very things for which we celebrated him:

  • The vision he held, conveyed and pursued in his work, as well as in his volunteer and philanthropic activities
  • The leadership he showed, whether pursuing sustainability or championing a vital arts and cultural life
  • The community he created, both physically and spiritually, that makes our state a better place for all of us

And, perhaps above all, his passion for everything he undertook, be it the development of complex neighborhoods or the engagement of a rainbow trout. Bob just didn’t do anything halfway, or even three-quarters of the way. He was all in, devouring information, becoming an expert, and doing his absolute best at everything.

Dedicated to maintaining habitats for wildlife in our urban areas, Mike Houck has maintained a vigilant and vocal crusade for more than 25 years. During that time, his work has grown from a focus on environmental issues to a broader advocacy for a wide range of important urban and natural resources for the region. He has advocated for affordable housing, a rational metropolitan transportation system, the restoration of urban waterways, and the strong urban wilds system. According to The Oregonian “More than any other individual, Houck has motivated, cajoled and convinced a critical mass of key people that regional coordination is essential if the metropolitan area’s natural corridors and greenways are to survive…”

As partner-in-charge of design for Zimmer Gunsul Frasca since 1966, Bob Frasca has transformed the face of Oregon’s built environment, exported our Northwest aesthetic internationally, and advanced the legacy of design excellence through mentoring countless talented young architects. Bob’s work is united by his belief that architecture should vary with the program, climate and place, and with the culture of the people who will occupy it. His instincts as observer, and then as designer, have produced a diverse portfolio, ranging from downtown civic buildings in Portland, embassy buildings for the U.S. Department of State,  research facilities for major institutions across the country, to academic buildings for small colleges such as Reed and Williams.

An Oregon treasure widely recognized for her many contributions to education, culture, humanities and natural resources, Jean Vollum and her husband, Howard Vollum, were responsible for some of the most architecturally significant sites and buildings in Oregon. From the filbert orchard on which the beautiful Oregon College of Art & Craft now resides to the building of Alvar Aalto’s Mount Angel Abbey Library, Oregonian’s have been blessed by the Vollums’ vision and generosity. Jean’s foresight created the nation’s first LEED Gold-rated historic restoration, the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center (known by many as the home of EcoTrust). Portland State University’s Native American Student and Community Center was dedicated in the fall of 2003 through Jean’s leadership. Jean Vollum, made it possible for future generations to experience the best in the architecture of our time while she furthered the important missions of the institutions those buildings house.

2002 – OHSU President Dr. Peter O. Kohler
2001 – Artist Ed Carpenter
2000 – 1000 Friends of Oregon
1999 – Neil Goldschmidt, Mayor of PDX, Governor of OR, US Secretary of Transportation
1998 – Artist Tom Hardy
1997 – Senator Mark O. Hatfield, US Senator, Governor of OR, OR Secretary of State
1996 – AIA Gold Medallist Pietro Belluschi, FAIA
1995 – Portland Art Museum Director Dr. Francis Newton
1994 – Landscape Architect Barbara Fealy, FASLA
1993 – Artist Leroy Setziol