Oregon Association of Nurseries
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News Release
Nursery industry recognizes officials as 'Friends of Nurseries' - 11/23/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wilsonville — November 23, 2021 — The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) has announced the winners of its Friends of Nurseries Awards for 2021. These awards are given to elected officials and others who help the association advance the best interests of the nursery industry in some way, whether through key advocacy, coalition building or just good, old-fashioned support for a bill or issue.

Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) was given the Legislator of the Year award for her key support on several issues, and her strong engagement with the nursery industry and OAN.

“There were enormous stakes during the last session for the viability of the industry and Rep. Drazan simply asked, ‘How can we help?’,” outgoing OAN President Kyle Fessler (Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc., Woodburn) said. “That goes a long way and her commitment to protect the industry is something we wish to highlight as a true partner.”

The Friends of Nurseries winners for 2021 include State Rep. Mark Owens (R-Crane),  Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton), Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) and Chris Huckleberry, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon 5th District).

Owens was recognized for contributions on the water supply issue, which is critical for an agricultural industry that is reliant on irrigation. “He was a critical voice of reason that touched every corner of the water debate,” Fessler said.

Helm was also recognized for contributions on this issue, balancing municipal and environmental needs with agricultural needs. “Rep. Helm was a steady hand on all aspects of water policy and set the Water Resources Department on a path toward sustainability and clear policy direction,” Fessler said.

Reardon served on the Natural Resource subcommittee of the Oregon Joint Ways and Means Committee, and helped saw to it that water supply needs were funded. “$535 million and a cogent plan to put the state in the best possible position to stretch water as a precious resource could have not been accomplished without his efforts,” Fessler said. 

Breese Iverson was recognized for her efforts on the House Natural Resources Committee. “She was resolute and clear minded that to compete in the national and global economy, agriculture needs help rather than punitive regulations,” Fessler said. “She proved herself as someone the nursery and greenhouse industry can depend on.”

Huckleberry was recognized as an important liaison between U.S. Rep. Schrader’s office and the nursery industry. “There is little doubt that staff make things happen in a congressional office,” Fessler said. “Huck has been a behind the scenes friend to our industry. He’s a true Oregonian, and an exemplary public servant. He deserves recognition for his decades of service and support of the agricultural community.”

View more news releases from Oregon Association of Nurseries.