We engage, educate, and empower individuals and their families in drug and alcohol prevention.  We serve as a community resource to advance youth prevention, find necessary supports, and promote community collaboration while creating awareness.   We are proactive in our work. We choose not to let others define us by being silent.

“We are all broken…that is how the light gets in.”  Hemingway

Community Living Above (CLA) whose original name was West Linn Community Task Force came together in 2010 when parents expressed concerns about teen drug/alcohol use in the community.

Today, CLA is lead by a volunteer board of directors working with professionals from multiple fields to offer youth and families help and support.

Community sector collaboration to engage, educate, and empower individuals and their families to embrace preventing or mitigating substance use/mental health disorders.  

  • When help, support, and resources are needed we can assist:   where to look, and walking alongside individuals and families that need help.  
  • We reducing shame and stigma by sharing our stories and encouraging others to share theirs.   
  • and bring hope by paying what we’ve learned forward.
Our vision is to come alongside community members, businesses, schools, city, county, and state organizations to find resources that can support our community.  
  • Supporting local community members and sectors: by connecting and providing Information, education, and resources.
  • Enhance skills: Workshops, seminars, or activities designed to increase the skills of participants, members, and staff (e.g., training and technical assistance, parenting classes, strategic planning retreats, model programs in schools).
  • Provide Support: Creating opportunities for participation in activities that reduce risk or enhance protection (e.g., alternative activities, mentoring, referrals for service, support groups, youth clubs).

Thank you to the volunteer Board of Directors and Teen Advisory Board members and the 100+ CLA and Pilot Community Project volunteers who tirelessly fight-the-fight trying to find help and support for members of their communities who find they need help with Substance Use/Mental Health concerns.  I dedicate this poem to YOU – the People in the Arena!!!

Board of Directors

Pam Pearce, Community Organizer

Pam has been a resident of West Linn for 16 years and is originally from Lake Oswego, Oregon. She has three children two are currently in the West Linn Wilsonville School District. Currently, in long-term recovery, Pam is excited to apply her passion for helping others coping with Substance Abuse Disorder to find they help and support they need.

Over the years Pam has been a contributor and prevention resource for online recovery sites and has shared her personal experience in recovery and as a prevention expert on blogs and through speaking engagements in Oregon. Her passion for prevention education led her to get involved with several local groups supporting prevention, awareness, and recovery, including a local member of coalition groups, board member of the Alano Club of PDX, Mental Health & Alcohol Council CC, and the Clackamas County Prevention Coalition.

Pam’s impact on the prevention and awareness landscape in Oregon has also taken her to the national level, where she holds positions with Facing Addiction (Action Network Committee, Convening Guide Committee, and was one of fifteen recipients of the Pilot Community Project ), the largest nonprofit organization addressing addiction in the United States. Most recently Pam co-founded the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative, a diverse coalition of recovery advocates, educators, health system professionals and business leaders committed to launching a recovery high school for students impacted by substance use disorders.

Ellen McMillan, Treasurer

Ellen is a 15-year resident of West Linn with one child who graduated from West Linn High School and another at the high school. She has over 25-years experience in corporate income tax. Currently employed as tax director at Cascade Corp. in Gresham, Ellen has worked for Tektronix Inc., NACCO Materials Handling Group, and Arthur Andersen.




Dana Free, Secretary

Dana Free is part of the Acadia Healthcare team of Treatment Placement Specialists. Her area of focus is the Pacific Northwest and she provides a free service to find appropriate treatment for people in need of addiction and mental health services.

Dana enjoys her time on the board of Community Living Above (CLA). Also, she is a local Team Leader in the Pilot Community Project for Facing Addiction. Facing Addiction is a national nonprofit dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis and serves to de-stigmatize the disease of addiction and assist in locating resources for those in crisis.

Dana moved with her family to West Linn, Oregon 15 years ago and is the proud mother of two sons, a high school Junior and a University of Oregon Sophomore (Go Ducks!). These three men are her core and keep her grounded and real on a daily basis.

Olie Jolstad

Olie Jolstad is a native Oregonian, and resident of West Linn for over three years. A graduate of Portland State University, and business owner providing commercial insurance consulting, and expert witness litigation support services throughout the United States, and international locations. He has over 34 consecutive years of long-term recovery and working with others in their respective journey in recovery. Olie has served in various volunteer positions with Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Club, church, education, outdoor, and industry professional organizations.

Nicole Mitchell

Nicole Mitchell is a ten-year resident of West Linn who grew up in the area. She has a daughter who graduated from WLHS in 2015 and a West Linn High Schooler. She has volunteered in the school district for many years. Nicole is a Special Education Instructional assistant for West Linn Wilsonville School District.


Steve and Stacey Burch

Steve and Stacey are native Texans who moved to Oregon several years ago to begin a new chapter in their lives. Their three children, Dylan (15), Cameron (11), and Sydney (8), are all students in West Linn. Steve is a Certified Financial Planner with UBS and Stacey is thankful to be in a position to stay at home to wrangle the children and their crazy schedules. They are active in the community, having served on PTO boards, as facilitators for Financial Peace classes, volunteer regularly in various positions, and have been known to show up at a city council meeting or two. They are honored to be a part of the West Linn Community Task Force. Like so many others, their lives have been touched by addiction and they look forward to working with other members of the community to bring about awareness and positive change in this arena.


David Baker

David grew up in Lake Oswego and graduated from Lakeridge High School. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Business & Leadership from Marylhurst University and a Master of Science in Economic Competitiveness and International Business from the University of Birmingham (U.K.).

David runs the label that publishes and distributes music around the globe. His other community volunteer efforts include serving on the West Linn Public Safety Advisory Board, the West Linn Utility Advisory Board, and as neighborhood association president for Rosemont Summit. In his spare time, David enjoys Portland Timber games, spending time in his garden, and kayaking.

Dr. Sarah Tycast

Sarah Tycast had lived in West Linn for 5 years, returning to her PNW roots after many years away. She is a pediatrician with a special interest in adolescent medicine and prevention. She and her husband James have 2 boys at Sunset Primary, where she is involved with the PTSO. They keep busy with lots of sports, 2 cats, and an active (and large) Rhodesian Ridgeback named Addie.



Ethan “Mac” McCarty, Student Leader

Mac is currently a sophomore at his hometown high school, West Linn. A second-year varsity in rowing with Lake Oswego, Mac has traveled internationally and deeply enjoys the connections he’s made and the sport of crew itself. He is an active Teen Advisory Board member and leader through Community Living Above, and a former TAB member through the Public Library. Mac is smart, funny, and handsome (all self-proclaimed, none the less!), and is grateful for the opportunities that come knocking.





Julie Van Ness (Co-Founder of West Linn Community Task Force now CLA)

Founded The West Linn Community Task Force in 2010 with the goal of bringing community collaborators together to tackle pressing societal issues around substance use and abuse, plus teen bullying. The peer-to-peer platform was mainly focused around prevention and elevating youth leadership to create positive change. Julie served as President for 6 years, until her two sons graduated, and today continues to help support the recovery community through her work at Real Leaders. (www.real-leaders.com)




Teen Advisory Board – SUD/MH Prevention led by the Students

This is a high school student volunteer group changing the way we see and speak of substance use and mental health disorders. Students of each grade level at local high schools comprise the Teen Advisory Board. These courageous, thoughtful, and supportive TAB students — today more than 200+ strong at West Linn High School — provide input and critical feedback to Community Living Above regarding teen activities and events that help by bringing awareness, education, and advocacy for peers whose lives are affected by influences that don’t support being the best they can be. TAB students also organize and support TAB-run student outreach activities as well as being a one-on-one face in the hallways of school and monthly lunch/support gatherings.

Support, grace, and acceptance is imperative and can be learned by sharing information and experiences, giving emotional support, which gives hope.

These student leaders understand the importance of “making a difference” through their involvement and energy into projects that help send strong peer-to-peer messages that can have a positive impact on others.

If you are interested in being part of this high school group please visit and message us on:

Instagram – Community_Livingabove

Twitter – @WLHS_TAB

Facebook – WLHS TAB