PORTLAND, OR, September 9, 2019 – If you’re even remotely familiar with Portland Design Pup, or our previous brand, Portland Design Events, you’ve no doubt seen your share of Anova sponsor logos – in the sidebars and footer of our website, on our social media, in our newsletter each week, and prominently placed at our quarterly lectures. They’re a great company and I love their products, but that’s not why those logos are there. They’re a part of who we are because of a woman named Jamie Hendrickson – Anova representative, believer of ours from day one, and easily our #1 cheerleader.
This past week, Jamie unexpectedly passed away. That’s her on the left in the picture above, taken at last year’s Restore Oregon MCM Tour After-Party.
Jamie was one of the most active participants in our design community that I’ve ever met. She served on the Board of Directors for ASLA Oregon, was an outstanding advocate of Design Museum Portland, a supporter of Restore Oregon, the champion and organizer of an annual Sketch Crawl, and was a prominent supporter of Portland Design Pup. This was all in addition to her day job with Anova.
The passion with which Jamie was involved in our community, the number of organizations and events she participated in, the number of people she supported, and the genuine nature of her personality made her a one-of-a-kind asset in our community, driven solely by a love for what she did.
Beyond her work in the Portland design community, Jamie’s life story was one of inspiration.
When we brought renowned landscape architect Martha Schwartz to speak in Portland almost exactly one year ago, Jamie joined us for a private dinner following the event. Jamie asked Martha to autograph a book of hers, and as Martha signed it, Jamie described just how influential Martha was in her life. That Jamie, being one of just a few women in her class studying landscape architecture, looked up to Martha as a role model her whole life, and was honored to have the chance to personally meet her. They would go on to become friends of sorts, with Jamie hosting Martha in Portland earlier this year during the Urbanism Next Conference.
How inspiring it was to see Jamie, who persevered and stuck with her goals early in life, to have it come back around as such an enriching reward years later.
On a personal note, Jamie was my friend. She had one of the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve met. Ever. In person, on her Instagram feed, in texts…she was an absolute riot, bringing joy and humor with her every sentence. She lived her life 100% true to herself and who she was, and made all her friends better for it.
When I passed my final Architect Registration Exam last summer, Jamie and our mutual friend Patty dropped everything and took me out to celebrate. When I finished the paperwork and got my license this past April, Jamie and Patty were the first ones at my party that night to congratulate me. And when I asked her in 2017 if she’d be interested in supporting my dumb ol’ Portland Design Events project, with zero hesitation and without missing a beat, she exclaimed, “Fuck Yeah!!!”
What a gift it was to have a supporter like that in my life.
In light of Jamie’s passing and the void she’s left in our community, I’d like to close with a few challenges:
Jamie lived a life of humor, never taking things too seriously, and always being true to herself.
I challenge you to live your best life by being yourself and living true to who you are – not who you think you’re supposed to be, not who you think others want you to be, not who your colleague in the desk next to you is…but who YOU are.
Jamie didn’t participate in the community as a way of self-serving or self-promoting. She did it because it was her passion.
I challenge you to find your passion, if you haven’t already. If that passion is volunteering in the community, great. If it’s riding motorcycle, excellent. If it’s woodworking, reading, gardening, mountain climbing, building a model of the Titanic out of Legos, or underwater basket weaving…all the better. I don’t care – just find what you love and make more time to do it. Life’s too short to forego your passions just to work late and meet the next deadline.
Jamie’s heart was unmatched.
I challenge you to live your life with a big heart. Love your friends. Care for those around you. Volunteer. Donate money. Donate time. Be patient. Forgive. Let go. I know all these things can be a struggle, but they get better with practice. Nobody’s perfect, but we get better in time. So keep practicing and don’t give up.
Jamie was only able to be the person she was because she took time for herself.
I challenge you to love yourself. If you need to be alone, be alone. If you need to say no, say no. If you want to party, go party. If you want to do yoga, do yoga. We live in a terrible culture that values work, production, efficiency, and “busy-ness” over living a healthy, balanced, life. Stop doing that.
While Jamie is physically gone, her spirit will forever live on in our community through the lives she touched, the actions she took, and the examples she set. How fortunate we are to have had her here. You’re forever missed, Jamie. ♥
This post was written by John Maternoski and originally published in our September 8, 2019 weekly newsletter.