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


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.

Garth Swanson






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.


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.




Rob Ward

Robert Ward has lived in West Linn for 6 years, with two kids attending West Linn High School. He worked for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for twenty five years with the mindset to help others with their addictions & life challenges. Prior to working for the Sheriffs Office, he worked at three different Juvenile detention facilities, Donald E Long(Multnomah County, Skip Worth(Lane County), and Marion County’s Juvenile Detention. 

He places great pride and is honored to be on the board of Community Living Above (CLA). He’s passionate about helping our community through awareness and positive change. Let’s come together as a community and support each other in the fight to prevent substance use disorders.



Bill Fahey






Pam Pearce, Community Organizer/President

Pam has been a resident of West Linn for 18 years and is originally from Lake Oswego, Oregon. She has three children all brought up 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 the help and support they need.

Over the years, Pam has been a contributor and prevention resource for online prevention and recovery sites and has shared her personal experience in recovery and as a prevention leader on local and national blogs, magazines, and news sites.  She speaks regularly at  local and state wide engagements like OHSU, County agencies, and youth groups to national speaking engagements like her college alma mater the University of Southern California where she was able to share her story with families.  

Her passion for prevention awareness education led her to get involved with local, state, and national groups supporting prevention, awareness, and recovery. She is a member of several groups/councils:  The Clackamas County Prevention Coalition working to create healthy communities supporting prevention education and supports.  An Executive Board Member to the Mental Health and Addiction Council with Clackamas County. A member of the Prescription/Opioid Taskforce (RxOT) Youth Initiative, a cooperative agreement working to support the national opioid crisis. She is also a participant in the national group The Communities Project that works with communities across the country to align their voices and combat addiction through community organizing.

Her work involves board participation too.  She is a board member of the Oregon Public Health Association, the Addiction Prevention Section. An advisory board member for CLEAR Alliance, a statewide coalition, which focuses on reducing and preventing youth substance abuse and impaired driving through fact-based education in Oregon, and a co-founding board member of the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative. 

She has been honored personally and professionally at the local, state, and national levels for her work in prevention and recovery awareness and supports. Recognized as the Volunteer of the Year in her local school district, where her work to engage, empower, and educate youth on drug/alcohol prevention started. Chosen in 2018 as the Freedom Award winner given by DePaul Treatment Centers, an honor given to those who help battle the stigma of addiction by sharing their story of recovery and giving back to the community in a meaningful way.

Her work professionally has been recognized by national organizations for work in her local community.  Facing Addiction with National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence launched a Pilot Project that worked to reform the public response to “face” addiction. Community Living Above was one of 15 cities selected in the national search. The Addiction Policy Forum, a leading national nonprofit, recognized Pam’s work with Community Living Above in its Oregon Innovations to Address Addiction report, spotlighting innovative programs in Oregon that address addiction and provide support for families and communities.

Most recently, Pam co-founded two new projects that will serve teens and their families who find they need recovery support. The first is Family Inspired Recovery (FIR), an Alternative Peer Group model. FIR is a community of families growing and healing from the effects of teen substance use and other high-risk behaviors. The other organization in which Pam is a co-founding member the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative, a coalition of recovery advocates, educators, health system professionals, and business leaders committed to launching Oregon’s first recovery high school, Harmony Academy. Both organizations are the first of their kind in our state. It is Pam’s mission to create communities where families can grow and heal from the effects of substance use disorders and other high-risk behaviors.

Pam feels her work supporting young people and their families is her highest calling thus far.  Her mess is now her message and redemption is the blessing.


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 has 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.



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