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Metolius Community Picnic July 2021

Meet our Team!

Sienna Fitzpatrick
SIENNA FITZPATRICK

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Ciara Williams
Ciara Williams

Americorps RARE Program Assistant

Janel Ruehl
JANEL RUEHL

FOUNDER

Shelby Knight
Shelby Knight

Resilience Planner

Sommers
Sommers Taylor

Program Assistant

Sienna Fitzpatrick, Program Coordinator

Since 2019, Sienna has worked in rural Central Oregon communities on projects like downtown revitalization, community visioning, strategic planning, and more. Sienna’s work in rural places has significantly shaped their personal values and connection to the region, deepening their appreciation for the prolific power, passion, kindness, and get-it-done attitude in those communities. Sienna enjoys working with community members to dream up new ideas or refresh old ones, and they particularly enjoy working collaboratively to accomplish goals shared by other communities or stakeholders. Sienna’s background in environmental policy draws them to find ways to incorporate sustainability and resilience into their projects. In their spare time, Sienna enjoys learning new skills like skateboarding and exploring the outdoors with loved ones. Sienna’s pronouns are they/them/theirs.

Shelby Knight, Resilience Planner

Growing up in Redmond, OR, Shelby has always been passionate about the communities and rural spaces of Central Oregon. She started engaging in community-led work through the leadership program at Redmond High School and never stopped! She loves meeting new people, generating creative ideas, connecting people to resources, and brings a strong project management background to the RCB program. As the Resilience Planner for COIC, Shelby has a special passion for building community resiliency to natural hazards and other shocks. She knows that thriving, connected communities are critical to community resilience! When not working on community preparedness, regional resiliency, and building rural capacity, you’ll find Shelby backpacking in Oregon’s mountains, traveling to new places, chasing her energetic toddler, or cozied up with a good book.

Sommers Taylor, Program Assistant

Sommers, originally from Northern Virginia, moved to Oregon to explore the beauty of the states natural places. Her desire to work with rural communities began in college while studying at West Virginia University. Working with rural communities on projects showed Sommers what it meant to authentically connect with people and places. Ultimately, the connections sowed a seed of passion within her to continue this work. She completed a year of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program in Denver, Colorado serving a Native and Indigenous non-profit as a Youth Engagement and Program Outreach Coordinator. As COIC’s Program Assistant II, she hopes to continually serve the land and the people that call Central Oregon home. When not working, you can find Sommers practicing yoga, highlining at Smith Rock, or taking a nap in a hammock.

Ciara Williams, AmeriCorps RARE Program Assistant

Ciara is participating in the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) AmeriCorps program, which has led her to serving on COIC’s Rural Community Building team. She has strengths in content creation, organization, and writing and loves to utilize them for advancing projects in rural Central Oregon. Ciara is passionate about fostering inclusive community spaces and ensuring the rural communities have access to all of the services and amenities that make a community vibrant. Outside of work, you can find Ciara at a local coffee shop or at the nearest sand volleyball court.

Janel Ruehl, Program Founder

Janel is honored to have dreamed up the Rural Community Building program, in collaboration with many wonderful partners! In 2022, after more than four years with COIC, Janel departed to pursue a Masters at OSU-Cascades in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has 8+ years of experience in community development, non-profit management, and grant writing, with a special heart and passion for rural communities. In addition to the Rural Community Building program, she also managed COIC’s Local Food Systems and Rural Entrepreneurship programs, and has supported many other regional projects over the years, including community wildfire preparedness, biomass energy, and rural broadband. Janel looks forward to combining her passions for personal and community development in the future, and continuing to serve the communities of Central Oregon with heart and integrity. When she’s not at work, Janel loves to play outside: gardening, hiking, cross country skiing, and paddle boarding are all favorites. She grew up in Sherwood, OR and although she spent more than ten years traveling across the country and abroad, she has always found “home” in the wild places and rural spaces of Oregon.