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Metolius Community Picnic July 2021

Meet our Team!


CD Programs Manager

Julia Baumgartner, Community Development Programs Manager

Bio coming soon!

Sommers Taylor

Program Assistant

Sommers Taylor, Program Coordinator

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.


AmeriCorps RARE

Megan Tuck, AmeriCorps RARE

Megan is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with degrees in Political Science and Planning, Public Policy, and Management. She is currently completing a year of service at COIC through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) Americorps Program. Megan is from St. Paul, Oregon, a small rural community in the Willamette Valley, where she worked on a family farm that grew nursery trees, grass seed, garlic, and more! As a proud rural Oregonian, Megan understands firsthand the unique challenges and untapped opportunities in these areas. She’s passionate about working with folks to identify shared goals and create sustainable solutions. Megan has experience working in land-use and wildfire policy and is looking forward to building more relationships on the east side of the Cascades. Outside of work she spends her time hiking, skiing, trying new recipes, and enjoying concerts and rodeos.

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.