Our Board and Staff

PAUL PETERSON Netarts, Oregon-raised, retired Army vet, Paul Peterson knows the Oregon coastal waterways well. Having spent the bulk of his life devoted to creating a livelihood by shrimping, crabbing, fishing, and kayaking, lovingly referred to as ‘Captain’ Paul, he knows the ins and outs of the coastline of Oregon and the West. Paul is a father and grandfather and shares his love for the beachline with his grandchildren. Paul also has experience with autism long before the name was commonly used and when supports were vastly limited. Paul likes to relish the human connection with his family and friends and has an infectious ‘can-do’ spirit. Today he can be found on his sailboat seeking the next catch.


LEAH HALSTEAD Leah knows affordable housing in the Pacific Northwest Region. She has worked at Vancouver Housing Authority and previously, she worked as a private consultant assisting nonprofit, for-profit, and public agencies, including Sammy’s Place, to develop strategic plans and affordable housing throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. The consulting work allowed Leah to use skills she developed while serving as an executive director of Affordable Community Environments, a small nonprofit housing agency in Vancouver, and the housing policy manager for Portland’s urban renewal agency. Leah spent her childhood years watching her father ran a nonprofit serving adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. With nearly 30 years in community development work, Leah’s passion is affordable housing and the role it plays in vibrant, healthy communities, families, and individuals.   


Kathy Jean Hrywnak200x200KATHY JEAN HRYWNAK, Secretary Kathy Jean brings years of experience working with people who experience disabilities. She and friends founded Sammy’s Place in 2006, through which she continued to serve individual families. Already a willing learner and compassionate person, she has learned to use those innate abilities even more skillfully in her years of doing the work which she is thrilled to be doing. After working with the Chick family, she and Julie realized that they could expand the mission of Sammy’s Place to include a larger community that will meet even more people’s needs. Committed to bringing the vision to fruition, Kathy Jean is excited by the challenge and eagerly anticipating the chapters to come.


Vicki_Website200x200VICKI CHASE, Interim President/Treasurer Vicki is a true homegrown Oregonian. After graduating from David Douglas HS she began her career at Standard Insurance Co. where she worked in investments, earned a B.S. in Business from Portland State University with a 12-year-old at home, and eventually retired as Vice President. Now she lives on the north coast of Oregon with her husband, Brian, 3 dogs, and her two grandchildren close by. She and Brian travel internationally when it is not the salmon fishing season. They are both very involved grandparents and understand the importance of caring for a child with Down syndrome and looking out for the future.


CHANTELLE BROWN Chantelle spent her early years exploring the west including Utah and Alaska before settling on the Oregon Coast where she and her husband love living with their children. They run a successful and busy local service business that allows them to see most parts of the north Oregon Coast regularly. When the boys were diagnosed with autism, early on, she became absorbed by everything autism, including supporting individuals experiencing disability, advocacy, and inclusion work. Chantelle works hard throughout the community to open doors to important and necessary human connections for their boys and others like them, and never looks away from a challenge if it means improving someone’s life. She enjoys being a Girl Scout troop leader, reading, cooking, crafting, downhill skiing, and hiking our coastal forested trails.


BECKY SPENCER Becky has worked with kids who experience disabilities and their families for years. As a speech-language pathologist, she focuses on communication and connection, teaching skills such as self-advocacy, self-expression, verbal comprehension, and motor speech production. She also teaches parents strategies that they can use with their children at home to increase communication and shared enjoyment during play/interactions. Becky has worked with kids and families in their homes, schools, and hospitals. She is excited to be a part of Sammy’s Place because it helps connect people who experience disabilities with their communities here in Oregon, which makes this beautiful place even better.



julie-chickJULIE CHICK, Executive Director As a native Oregonian, after spending time in the Hawaiian islands, Julie moved to the North Coast of Oregon in the late 1990s to live next to the ocean, mountains, and Nehalem Bay in order to pursue her love and reverence for the outdoors. She ran a small kayak/surf business providing eco-tours for visitors imparting the knowledge of the importance of nature’s required interdependence for its health and vitality. She then spent 10 years as the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership’s outreach and outdoor education coordinator where the Tillamook County Water Trail was developed – a National Recreation Trail. Julie is active in the local and regional community serving as a City of Nehalem Planning Commissioner; a Council member on the Oregon Council of Developmental Disabilities; worked before COVID for FACT Oregon; is recently accredited as an Oregon Job Coach and serves on a multitude of outdoor and recreation advisory groups. She and her husband have two sons – their oldest experiences Down syndrome. She advocates to bring a regional voice to the coastal disability communities and works to ensure that the Coast embraces the idea that disability is natural. She continues to use, to this day, the example of nature’s brilliance in its connectivity and diversity in order to thrive. Julie and her family can often be found exploring the local trails, rivers, and beaches of Tillamook County.




March 1, 2019

The Advisory Team’s purpose:

1. To examine, represent, and include broad and diverse ideas, backgrounds, and abilities.
2. To encourage communication flow between the 
Sammy’s Place Board of Directors and the community.
3. To harvest a breadth of knowledge and passion for the project.
4. To build the board with intentional integrity. 
5. To maintain a positive forward movement in the growth of the overall team and project.
Sammy’s Place: Where everyone is supported to learn, grow, and thrive!

ANDREW JENCK, Self Advocate, Tillamook

ANTHONY STOPPIELLO, Architect, Nehalem

CLAUDINE REHN, Parent/Grandparent, Nehalem

GLADYS JACOBSEN, Parent, Nehalem

HILARY FOOTE, Coastal Land Use Specialist, Nehalem

JOE WYKOWSKI, Affordable housing, and I/DD expertise; Founder, Community Vision Inc.

JULIE BAXTER, Parent, Blue Water Therapy, LLC, Tualatin, OR

KENT BLEVINS, Biologist Support

KEITH JONES, Hip-hop Artist, Parent, Self-advocate, National Disability Activist, Civil and Voter’s Rights Advocate, and International Speaker; Soul Touchin’ Experiences, LLC.

KIMBER LUNDY, Self-Advocate, Tillamook County

LARK MILLER, Caregiver Nehalem

LYNDA CHICK, Family member, Nehalem

MICHELLE JENCK, Parent, Tillamook

PAM HILLER, Parent, North Oregon Coast