About Us

Willamette Writers is the largest writers organization in the Pacific NorthWest. Writers of all genres and at all stages of their careers come to our meetings, annual conference, and workshops to connect with their community, hone their craft, publish their work, and advance their careers. Across the state of Oregon, you will find a tightly knit community of writers who love working together to tell our stories and build our scenes: on paper, on the screen, and in front of the mic.

Need help writing a novel or short story, memoir or screenplay? Sharing expertise? Meeting other writers? Join us today. Be a Willamette Writer.

A successful screenplay discussion

Members discuss the art of screenwriting

Willamette Writers was founded by Portland writer Kay Snow a half century ago with the goal of bringing published and unpublished writers together for mutual help and support. Our mission is to provide and encourage a creative environment and support system for professional and aspiring writers.

Willamette Writers has chapters in Portland, Southern Oregon, Mid-Valley, Salem, Corvallis, and the Oregon Coast. Willamette Writers’ programming includes an annual writers conference and workshops year round. Membership provides a number of benefits.

Our History

Founder Kay Snow, who had active Multiple Sclerosis when she founded the “Willamette Writers Club” in 1965, called upon her love of writing and help from her friends Leila Hasmann and Kate Herzog.

They served as president, membership chair and bookkeeper during the early years as the club became an incorporated non-profit.

By the time the organization grew to holding member meetings at the Imperial Hotel in downtown Portland (on the first Tuesday of every month – the same schedule the Portland meetings follow to this day), Kay Snow was confined to a wheelchair. However, she remained vitally involved until her death in 1976, also helping to establish the popular Willamette Writers Conference. Her friend, co-founder, and active member Kate Herzog died in 2010.

Since those early days with Kay Snow, Willamette Writers has provided meeting places for the exchange of ideas and information, and has initiated programs designed to help writers increase skills related to the craft of writing, including a writing contest named in honor of Ms. Snow.

FYI: Bylaws, Minutes, and More

Willamette Writers is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to increasing transparency in its operations and management. Please find our most recent bylaws as well as other documents in this folder.

To receive a copy of the minutes or other legal documents, please contact the Board Secretary via this link.

Board Members 2017

The 2017 Board election is taking place during January 2017 at three membership meetings (Portland, Corvallis, Central Point). The nominees are:

  • Orit Ofri
  • Gail Pasternack
  • Kathy Saviers
  • Ken Holt
  • Ruth Witteried
  • Teresa Klepinger

Additional board members will be voted in by the board.

Board Members 2016

Jenny SchraderJenny is the President of Willamette Writers. She presides over all board meetings and the annual member meeting, serves as the primary Willamette Writers spokesperson, and plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the organization. Jenny writes Young Adult novels, operates her urban mini-farm, has a passion for knitting, and works for a renown glass artist. She can be contacted at prez@willamettewriters.org, and loves to connect with members about any ol’ thing, especially over coffee. Nix that. Especially over beer and tater tots.
Orit OfriOrit Ofri serves as the Vice President and Membership and Chapters Director for the organization. As Vice President, she works with the President in strategic planning for the organization. As Membership Director, she works with all chapters, acts as an representative for all members to the Board, and strives to enable Willamette Writers to further serve its members. Orit is a writer and works with writers, professionals, and small businesses to get started and grow their online presence. Visit www.oritofri.com for more or Contact her.
As Secretary of Willamette Writers, Gail Pasternack records the minutes for all board meetings and the annual member meeting, is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and chairs the Governance Committee. She does double duty as a member of the Communications Workgroup. You may see her at Willamette Writer Events with her red camera. Gail is a writer, blogger, and educator, and she has a passion for food, art, and tango. Contact her.
Kathleen Saviers is the Treasurer of Willamette Writers. She is responsible for the annual budget and for tracking the expenses of the organization. She does double duty as a Chapter Chair of the Salem Chapter of Willamette Writers. Contact her.
Ken HoltKen Holt is the Literary Programs Director. He works with the Program Leaders for each chapter and coordinates Willamette Writers literary programming throughout the year. Prior to this position, Ken was the Coordinator for the Corvallis Chapter, otherwise known by its more popular name, Willamette Writers on the River. He is an amazing writer, author and friend.
Ruth WitteriedAs Visual Media Director, Ruth Witteried works with all programs based in the visual arts, including screenwriting and film production. As Executive Director of the FiLMLaB competition and project, she produced the 2012 FiLMLaB short, Alis Volat Propriis, winner of the 2013 OIFF Best Comedic Short; 2013′s Coffee.Table.Book.; 2014’s Unwelcome Guests, and in 2015, The Return of Bug Eyed Bill. She acted as Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference from 2011-2013 and occasionally teaches screenwriting at Clark College. She currently is Executive Director of Willamette Writers’ FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Twitter @sityourassdown1 or Facebook at FiLMLaB. Contact her.
Teresa KlepingerAs Youth Programming Director,Teresa Klepinger directs the Young Willamette Writers. This is a group of young people, from 5th-10th grade, who are passionate about writing and want to learn from authors about developing their craft. Teresa loves working with kids. She is the “Storylady” at the Sherwood Library and conducts creative writing workshops for students. Contact her.