Deschutes Trails Coalition names Jason Whittaker trails coordinator
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes Trails Coalition announced Monday the selection of Jason Whittaker as their new trails coordinator.
Whittaker grew up in Kalamazoo, MI and attended college at Western Michigan University, where he received a degree in Business Management. After college, he started his career as a credit analyst for a local bank and then shortly after getting married, he and his wife relocated to Portland Oregon for his job opportunity with US Bank.
While with US Bank, he was promoted to Senior Credit Analyst, then to Credit Manager, having his own team of credit analysts to manage their professional growth and monthly productivity. Despite multiple promotions during his career in banking, he never felt like he was where he needed to be in life and where he could make a difference with his passion.
In 2017, the Eagle Creek Fire occurred in the Columbia River Gorge, which while he didn't realize it at the time, would fundamentally change his life. He started volunteering with Trail Keepers of Oregon and quickly developed a passion for trail work.
By 2018, he left the banking industry and was working for the USFS in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, where he worked for five years, primarily restoring trails that were destroyed by the fire.
While living in Portland, he and his wife, Andrea, would visit Bend two to three times per year. In 2022, they took the leap and decided to make Bend their home. They are currently living in NW Bend and loving every minute of it. This is where he heard about the DTC through the DNF USFS office. He accepted the position of Trails Coordinator in February.
"We are absolutely ecstatic to have such a consummate professional with a huge passion for trails on our team," says Jana Johnson, ED DTC, "We couldn't have gotten luckier to have Jason in this position, and the timing was perfect!"