About Us


Willamette Writers

Community. Craft. Career. For Writers.

Writers at all levels come to Willamette Writers to connect with their communities, develop their craft, and advance their careers.

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, develop their craft, and advance their career.

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.

Our Mission

As a non-profit educational organization, Willamette Writers is committed to helping writers connect with their communities, develop their craft, and expand their career.

Our Programs

Willamette Writers was founded by Portland writer Kay Snow a half century ago with the goal of bringing published and unpublished writers together for mutual help and support.

Willamette Writers now has chapters offering year-round programming in Portland, Southern Oregon (Central Point), Eugene,  Salem, Corvallis, Vancouver, and the Newport (Oregon Coast). Additional programming includes an annual writers conference, Young Willamette Writers, workshops, Kay Snow writing contest, FiLMLaB, and The Timberline Review. Membership provides a number of benefits.


Join us today to take advantage of membership benefits

Willamette Writers Conference Photography by  Russell J Young

Support us to support writers in the Pacific Northwest

Willamette Writers Conference Photography by  Russell J Young

We're a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. EIN: 93-0758252.

Join us today to take advantage of membership benefits and to support writers in the Pacific Northwest!

Our Board and Officers

Gail Pasternack photo

Gail Pasternack

Board President

Gail Pasternack is a writer and professional storyteller. She's served on the board since 2015.

Jodie Fish

Jodie Fish

Board Treasurer

Jodie Fish is an Oregon CPA and manager in the Portland office of a national public accounting firm.

Lenni Treat

Lenni Treat

Board Secretary

Lenni Treat is an Inside Sales and Accounts Receivable manager at a Portland area re-distributor. 


Kathy Saviers

Board Member

Kathy Saviers is a long-time volunteer with our Salem Chapter and a retired forensic examiner.

Image of Jalyn Gilmore

Jalyn Gilmore

Board Member

Jalyn Gilmore is a storyteller, and loves connecting people to the Willamette Writers community.

Photo of Kathleen Colvin

Kathleen Colvin

Board Member

Kathleen Colvin has been a writer for over twenty years and started the WW Vancouver chapter.

Photo of Bobbie Calhoun

Bobbie Calhoun

Board Member

Bobbie Calhoun is a certified Project Management Professional with over thirty years of experience in business.

Curtis Chen

Curtis Chen

Board Member

Curtis C. Chen (陳致宇) runs puzzle games and writes the Kangaroo science fiction spy thriller novels.

Our Staff

Kate Ristau photo - Woman with blue hair and brown background yellow scarf

Kate Ristau (she/her)

Executive Director

Kate Ristau is a folklorist and the author of Clockbreakers, Shadow Girls and Wylde Wings.

Elisabeth Goebel

Elisabeth Goebel

Administrative Assistant

Elisabeth Goebel is a theater maker, a singer, a library lover, and a dabbler in the writing world.

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 find their community, develop their craft, and expand their careers.

We look forward to many more years serving the writing community.