Board of Directors

Phil Meyrick - photography by Richard Kolbell

Christen Skolnick

Board Chair

Christen Skolnick has worked as a medical social worker for over 10 years, specializing in oncology and palliative care. She earned her LCSW in 2012 and is oncology social work certified.

Christen serves as the Oregon state representative for the National Association of Oncology Social Workers. She has strong interest and passion in providing support, advocacy and guidance to clients and medical professionals navigating goals of care conversations and end-of- life choices.

Sam Friedenberg - photography by Richard Kolbell

Sam Friedenberg, Attorney at Law


Sam Friedenberg is a Portland attorney specializing in trusts, wills and estate planning. He was former chairman of the Agency and Special Relations Committee of the Elder Law Section of the Oregon Bar, and he currently belongs to The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Sam volunteers for the Senior Law Project.

He was formerly a Board Director with Compassion and Choices Oregon.

Rob Nimmo


Rob Nimmo is an experienced senior financial executive with a background in international banking and finance services companies. He has served on the Boards and Audit/Finance Committees of a number of not-for-profit organizations, including Compassion and Choices.

Rob is semi-retired and still active as an investor and management consultant.

Sam Friedenberg - photography by Richard Kolbell

Sue Dessayer Porter, MBA, MSB

Founding Executive Director

Sue Porter has a Masters of Science in Bioethics and a Masters in Business Administration. She completed a diploma at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and was a visiting scholar in residence at the Hastings Center in New York. Sue has also served as a director on both the National and the Oregon boards for Compassion and Choices. Sue has spoken nationally on the right-to- die and was a participant in How to Die in Oregon, the documentary that won Sundance (2011).

Kristing Barber - photography by Richard Kolbell

Kristin Barber


Kristin Barber has over ten years experience working in the nonprofit sector locally and internationally. She has held a variety of roles, including Executive Director of African Bridge, Director of Development for Compassion and Choices of Oregon and also 1000 Friends of Oregon.

Kristin is currently the Director of Resource Development for Northwest Housing Alternatives.

Shawna Chriss - photography by Richard Kolbell

Nick Gideonse, MD 

Dr. Nick Gideonse is Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University where he practices broad-spectrum primary care. He has served as medical director for a large community health center, a skilled nursing facility, and hospice. Dr. Gideonse is deeply involved in medical student and resident education, including end of life choices, as he works regularly with terminally ill patients and EOLCOR volunteers. He has testified nationally and internationally in support of end of life choices.
Phil Meyrick - photography by Richard Kolbell

Richard B. Solomon, CPA


A Certified Public Accountant since 1976, Dick has had his own practice since 1981.  His community involvements include service on the Oregon Investment Council, the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors and the Oregon Lottery Commission.  He has served on numerous boards including as board president of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette and the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.  He currently serves as a trustee of the Portland State University Foundation and sits on the investment committee of the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Shawna Chriss - photography by Richard Kolbell

Wendy Usher

Wendy Usher is passionate about promoting charitable giving and dedicated to end of life issues. Wendy has worked for three community foundations, a private family foundation, the ALS Association of Oregon & SW Washington and Make-A-Wish Foundation. She has volunteered as a hospice companion and for Compassion & Choices.
Wendy has served as a Philanthropic Advisor at Oregon Community Foundation since 2005.
Shawna Chriss - photography by Richard Kolbell

Charlene Zidell


Charlene Zidell, a native Oregonian, was a public sector labor lawyer in Portland for over 25 years. She earned her law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School and her undergraduate degree from Oregon State University. She currently sits on the boards of Komen of Oregon & SW Washington, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, B’nai Brith Camp and EngAGE OR. Ms. Zidell joined the family businesses as Director of Corporate Relations and Communications in 2012. She currently spends the majority of her time incorporating the family’s vision into the Zidell Yards development project.

End of Life Choices Oregon is a donor-supported organization

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