The Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail (FYWT) is a non-profit membership organization that advocates for the development and operation of multi-use trails that support the health, safety, and connectivity of our community.
The centerpiece of our efforts, the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, is envisioned as a roughly 17-mile rail-to-trail running north-south through Yamhill County and connecting the communities of Carlton, Yamhill, Cove Orchard and Gaston, with potential extensions to Forest Grove in the North and McMinnville in the south.
The FYWT grew out of a local grassroots effort to create a safe transportation and recreation alternative for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. Meetings of community leaders and concerned citizens began in the 1990s, and eventually led to the creation of the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in 2012. That year the Yamhelas Westsider Trail was also added to Yamhill County’s Transportation System Plan by an unanimous County Commission vote.
FYWT is managed by a volunteer board of directors representing local user groups and stakeholders. The Yamhelas Westsider Trail project is supported by partners including local city governments, business groups, educators, tourism groups, recreation groups and non-profit community service providers.
Help us build the Yamhelas Westider Trail and a stronger community!
FRIENDS OF YAMHELAS WESTSIDER TRAIL BOARD MEMBERS & STAFF
Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail is guided by a volunteer board of directors. Directors serve three-year terms and are elected by organization members at the annual meeting. One part-time program coordinator facilitates daily FYWT operations and development.
WAYNE WIEBKE, President
Wayne is a long-time Carlton resident who recently moved to McMinnville. He has been active with converting the abandoned railroad into a trail off and on since 1991. He has been a member of the present FYWT organization since its founding in 2012 and is currently serving as Board President.
CAROL FOLEY, Vice President
Carol has lived in Yamhill since 2016. She enjoys walking and hiking, and all things that promote good health. She brings a background in market research and currently chairs the Grants subcommittee. She first became a FYWT member in 2016 and joined the FYWT Board of Directors in 2020.
VERONICA HINKES, Secretary
Veronica Hinkes is a native Oregonian who grew up in the Willamette Valley and spent her teenage years working on local farms near Salem and Eugene. She has lived in Yamhill County since 2013. Veronica is an avid cyclist and has a background in tourism, including bicycle tourism development and economic development. She first joined the FYWT Board of Directors in 2017. She is currently the Board Secretary.
PATTY WILLIAMS, Treasurer
Patty Williams serves as executive director of the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation, part of the HR Hoover Cancer Center in McMinnville. She has a master's degree in Agribusiness Economics and over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, most recently working within the professional tree care industry. She was nominated to fill a vacancy on the board of directors for the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in the fall of 2020. She lives in Carlton with her wife Kris and their many animals.
Steve and wife, Jane, raised their two kids on rural property just outside of Yamhill where both kids attended Yamhill-Carlton schools. Steve taught in Oregon schools for 40 years and now loves active involvement in various nonprofits. Young Harloff family members speak passionately about how the Trail would have helped them to safely get to Yamhill-Carlton school activities. When Steve is not working with the Friends, he is a musician, a disc golfer, and an avid soccer fan.
Steve and his wife Carol have been residents of Yamhill County since 1992. They have been involved with the Yamhelas Westsider Trail since 2015. Steve is a native Oregonian, and Carol's grandfather homesteaded in Bend, Oregon. They have farmed hazelnuts, wheat, hay, ornamentals, and Christmas trees in Yamhill County. They've also lived and farmed in Washington County where they grew Christmas trees. Steve and his brothers managed the family tree farm in Clackamas County. They enjoy Oregon's outdoors/trails either on their horses, bikes, or walking with their golden retriever.
Stan is a Vietnam veteran with a career in business management and ownership, as well as insurance. He has served the community in many roles, including serving on the McMinnville School Board and as a Yamhill County Commissioner. As Chair of the Board of Commissioners, Stan negotiated and finalized the purchase of the trail right-of-way from Union Pacific Railroad.
Over many years Ken and his wife, Karen, played a pivotal role in the Yamhelas Westsider Trail group, from establishment of the trail's monetary value to having the trail included in the Yamhill County Master Transportation Plan. Ken is one of the founding board members of the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. Community service has been a core value for Ken and Karen Wright throughout their lives.
After finishing a master's in Horticulture, Allen began a career in vineyard management in the Willamette Valley in 1980 and has witnessed the development of that industry. As a life long outdoorsman, Allen has enjoyed all that Oregon has to offer. He became a FYWT Board Member in 2022 and hopes to develop outdoor features closer to home. He is a member of Chehalem Park and Recreation District Trails committee and lives in Dundee.
Steve is a project management specialist and urban sustainability enthusiast from Huntington Beach, CA. Steve was hired on as a program coordinator in 2022. He has twice served as an AmeriCorps member working to support climate resilience & community development projects in Stockton, CA and Portland, OR. He now lives in McMinnville and is actively involved in bringing safe transportation options to his community. While not at work, he loves exploring all around Oregon, hiking & biking his way to new trails and adventure.