Jim Rue, resident of Silverton, Oregon, died early in the morning of July 19.
Jim had just retired from his 11-year position as Director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development where he was responsible for the adoption and regulation of rules for Oregon’s singular landuse program. His great pride was the recent passage of the Climate-Friendly Equitable Communities rules that limit pollution from Transportation, increase housing availability for all, and create walkable/bikeable neighborhoods. He loved Oregon and wanted it to retain its natural beauty, its robustness as an agricultural powerhouse, and its livability.
Jim was born in Oregon in the house his grandfather built in 1910. He died in the same house on the farm he loved. He had returned to Oregon after 16 years on the East Coast where he completed a double Masters at Yale University in Environmental Science and Business. It was at Yale where he met his beloved spouse, Mignon Mazique. During those years, Jim and Mignon raised two children, Jim worked as deputy director for the Audubon Society, ran a successful Rhode Island congressional campaign, served as deputy director for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, and helped start two biotech companies. Upon returning to Oregon, he worked as Director of Environmental and Public Affairs for Ross Island Sand and Gravel leading the negotiation with Federal, State and Local agencies to guide the company’s transition from mining to environmental clean-up, habitat protection in the Willamette River, and committing the return of parts of Ross Island to the City of Portland to be used for recreation.
Jim devoted his life to work, family, and service as a member of the vestry at Trinity Cathedral, the Board of Oregon Episcopal School, the state Agriculture Board, the Global Warming Commission, and the board of United Way. His commitment to economic and environmental justice also led him to international service in Honduras and North Korea.
Jim’s friends describe him as “a giant,” “lovely and kind,” “compassionate, socially embracing, and challenging,” “playful and always ready with a silly pun,” “smart, funny, witty, argumentative, logical with a prodigious memory,” “full of life and welcoming.” His leadership evoked real love and admiration from his co-workers. He adored riding his tractor, greeting his young children when arriving home from work with “TWOOO BABIES!!,” dancing with vigor and joy, romancing his wife, playing with his grandchildren in playhouses he built for them, building furniture and gardens for his family, and spending time at his most beautiful place on Earth, the Metolius River at Camp Sherman. His plan in retirement was to work with the scientists at Stanford to ascertain if stem-cell application could solve Cerebral Palsy, the condition experienced by his first grandbaby, Charlotte. He was deeply grateful for his life; he was private but warm, a trusted confidante, a wise advisor, an avid protector; he was an optimist, indomitable in his faith in a better world, committed to a better future and convinced he could bring it about.
The world is bereft without him.
He is survived by his wife; two children, Seth Rue and Leah Rue-Shrader; two grandchildren, Olivia and Charlotte; a brother, Joel Rue of Silverton; a sister, Elizabeth Ernst of Turner; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. A Celebration of Life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in December. In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, please consider a small contribution to Charlotte’s ABLE account at www.sumday.com/gift/ oregon-able/8vLYJ2n2D0WlgUurhalBug.