Board of Directors

Meet the passionate Board who lead our efforts to serve families affected by wildfires in our Valley.

Photo of Board President. Female identifying, brunette, against a green background.

Amber Ferguson—Board President

A founder of Rogue Food Unites, Amber Ferguson currently serves as CEO/Executive Director. Rogue Food Unites was born out of the 2020 wildfires and continues to be one of two disaster response feeding agencies in Oregon, serving Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Douglas, Deschutes, Coos, and Curry Counties.

The fires started three blocks away from her home. She is the daughter of a wildland firefighter—about to embark on his 55th consecutive fire season. At this point in his career, he is a PIO and not actively on the lines. The example of service has shaped her life. Seven years ago, she returned to Ashland to raise her family. “I wanted to come back home when I was ready to have something to offer. If I am to impact my community, it better be contributing in a positive way.”

Why I joined the Board
"I have been involved with fire recovery since day 1, when we were making meals to serve to people who had lost their homes. As the recovery has proceeded in fits and starts, I have continued to be involved in making sure that people in our community are cared for, fed and housed. I joined the LTRG because I can see that this mission will not be ending anytime soon, and I will not rest until I know we have done our best to care for the people who might otherwise be left behind."

Autumn Chadbourne—Secretary

Autumn Chadbourne brings deep commitment to community service, particularly in Jackson County where she has resided for 18 years. She is the Program Manager for the Jackson County WIC program, where she oversees nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and community referral services for low-income women, infants, and children. Before this, she served as a provider relations specialist for Jackson Care Connect CCO, assisting Medicaid participants in accessing covered services. She was also elected to the Central Point District 6 School Board, where she served from July 2017- June 2021.

Her commitment to her community was particularly evident during the wildfires, where she and her team supported participants who lost their homes, even while many staff members were evacuated themselves. Autumn's compassion and dedication make her a valuable asset to any organization, and she looks forward to continuing to serve her community through the JCCLTRG.

Why I joined the Board
During the 2020 Almeda and Obenchain fires, I witnessed firsthand the impact the fires had on an already vulnerable population. In January of 2020, Jackson County WIC had 10 homeless WIC participants involved in the program. In December of 2020, there were 87 homeless WIC participants. Those numbers continued to climb at significant rates into 2021. I’ll never forget the phone call we received the morning after the fire. A mother called us while walking through the ruins of her burned home. She had lost everything, and her voice was shaking, and her first thought was to call WIC because the formula that she needed to feed her baby had been burned in the fire.

Jill Franko—Treasurer

Residing in Ashland since February 2016, I deeply understand Jackson County's challenges, having grown up in nearby Yreka. Actively engaged in community service, I serve on the Ashland School District Board of Directors and lead a committee focused on affordable housing solutions. As a mother of two boys, ages 9 and 12, I understand the importance of creating a supportive community for families. My commitment to marginalized populations is rooted in personal experiences, including supporting my mother through mental illness. Additionally, I initiated a tradition in Yreka to provide meals to carnival workers, advocating for their dignity. Professionally, I've held diverse roles, from service industry positions to corporate consulting. As a wellness consultant, I developed comprehensive solutions for corporations, leveraging data analysis and problem-solving skills. My expertise extends to networking and community engagement.

Why I Joined the JCC LTRG Board
The impact of wildfires on our community, including significant effects on school enrollment and budgeting, underscores the urgency of our work. As a mother, community leader, and professional, I am committed to addressing Jackson County's challenges and effectively supporting the well-being of its residents.

Al Muelhoefer

Although retired, Al Muelhoefer is a Phoenix community leader who loves to network and build relationships with citizens. He has been President, Phoenix City Council and Chair, Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency. Al has been instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix with building the Civic Center and construction of the Phoodery restaurant as examples of his involvement. Al is a college and career mentor under the Aspire program at the Armadillo Community Charter School. As President of the Board of the Phoenix Counseling Center, Al is working with the Board and Executive Director to revitalize their Strategic Plan.

A strong supporter of equality and diversity, Al is mentoring women interested in being on the Phoenix City Council. One of these women is the first Latinx to ever run in Phoenix. Realizing the unique challenges faced by men, Al has formed Men’s Groups to address what it means to “Wake Up, Clean Up, Grow Up and Show UP.”

Previous lives have included being an Executive Director of Bike Miami Valley, a fun job promoting cycling in Ohio. Al’s wife, Annie Drager, comes from an Ashland ranching family. She grew up driving cattle down Ashland streets and up into the Greensprings on horseback during the summer. Al and Annie’s primary exercise is hiking, and they have been Sierra Club hike leaders as well as hiking thousands of miles all over the world.

Why I joined the Board
Having lived through the Almeda fire, I am still very concerned about those who were displaced by the fire. Although there has been significant rebuilding, there exists families who are still not permanently settled and need assistance.

Caitrin Sevcik

Born and raised in the Rogue Valley, Caitrin Sevcik is currently a school psychologist in the Central Point School District. She currently resides in Talent with her daughter.  She has always worked towards helping children and families and enjoys coordinating service in counseling, wraparound services, and trauma-informed care. She enjoys connecting with people and building relationships. Caitrin enjoys golf, dancing, and spending time with her family in her free time.

Echo Fields

At Southern Oregon University, Echo advised and mentored students in SOU's Human Service major for more than 20 years, teaching courses on racial & ethnic relations in the US, social policy, families & poverty, non-profit organizations, and on characteristics of resilient communities in rural areas. Currently, Echo is a member of the Ashland Housing and Human Services Committee. Professor emeritus of sociology, Southern Oregon University. Education: PhD. Sociology, 1984, University of Oregon. BA Sociology, Oklahoma City University, 1975.

Karen Chase

Karen is the Senior Community Strategies Manager for the Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit serving customers of investor-owned utilities, where she has been employed for almost 10 years. She has been Energy Trust’s lead for fire recovery throughout Oregon since the 2020 fires and helped develop rebuilding measures and incentives that advance energy efficiency and fire resilience. Before Energy Trust, she spent 24 years with the State of Oregon, as a representative to the Governor’s Regional Solutions teams, and working for Oregon Housing & Community Services in community and regional guidance; Oregon Department of Energy in renewable energy and project development; and Department of Consumer and Business Services as a statewide occupational health consultant. She was an instructor at Oregon State University for many years (Public Health) and has been teaching for the Building Operators Certification program throughout the West, in Indoor Environmental Quality and Sustainable Building Operations. In these classes, she covers airborne infectious diseases and wildfire smoke incursion.

She resides in rural Josephine County (Illinois Valley), on traditional Takelma land her grandparents homesteaded in 1930, managing irrigated farmland and mountainside forest watershed, with her partner. She had the honor and opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall, along with two invited choirs from Josephine County. She would like to see our public buildings set goals to install and/or ensure sufficient fresh and clean air for all their occupants to healthfully and safely engage in similarly inspiring human interaction.

Why I joined the Board
I joined the JCC LTRG Board to offer perspective, assistance, and whatever expertise I can provide to help recovery efforts—and this particularly innovative LTRG—continue to move forward. Our family has been under evacuation notice or threatened by several fires, most recently the 2023 Smith River Complex Fire and the 2020 Slater Fire (part of the Labor Day Fires).

Melanie Doshier

Melanie Doshier, ACCESS Support Services Director, oversees a multi-divisional nonprofit housing stabilization department, with a focus on trauma-informed, people-first, wraparound care. Melanie’s experience scales across industries with an expertise in creating foundations to support growth, both in people and process, and to provide service delivery holistically. Melanie believes that trust in relationships is imperative for effective supportive service delivery models and is passionate about ensuring all have equitable access to the resources and care teams they need to move forward in their recovery. She strongly believes, and embodies through action, that access to housing that meets the needs of the households in service is the only path forward.

Vanessa Houk

Vanessa Houk is a writer and has been a community activist in the Rogue Valley for more than three decades. Together with her husband Jason, they've built a community meal program in Ashland, organized winter and cooling shelters, and has dedicated her life to helping others. Like thousands of neighbors, the Houk family lost their home, belongings and pets in the Almeda fire. She has a deep understanding of poverty as well as the power of community.

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