Portland has lost a great civic and environmental activist with the death on May 4 of Cascade Anderson Geller at age 59. A resident of the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, Cascade took on the enormous task of researching, writing, and shepherding the nomination of Mt. Tabor Park and its reservoirs to the National Register of Historic Places. She was a founding member of both Friends of Mt. Tabor Park and Friends of the Reservoirs. She was also a world-renowned herbalist and teacher, was on the faculty of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and was one of the founders of Everett House Healing Center (now Common Ground). She touched many lives with her intelligence, grace, and determination.

A gathering in Mt. Tabor Park will celebrate Cascade’s life on Tuesday, June 4, at 6:30 p.m., above Reservoir #5 near the soap box derby track.

All are welcome to join her friends and neighbors. Bring your memories of Cascade to share, along with a chair or blanket for sitting. For more information contact shannonloch@gmail.com or 503.701.6608.

A friend of Cascade’s wrote, “To me she was always a teacher, whether of herb lore or politics or life in general, even if you were unaware of it at the time. She wouldn’t so much instruct you as guide you, allow your awareness to grow.” Cascade was never without her canvas bag of books and papers, full of the projects she immersed herself in with passion and dedication.

Cascade was instrumental in the struggle to preserve the reservoirs in Mt. Tabor Park and Washington Park. She worked tirelessly, spending many hours researching documents and continually advocating for transparency, honesty, and accountability. A member for several years of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, she also worked to restore habitat in the park and prevent the sale of irreplaceable park property.

Cascade Anderson Geller

Tributes to Cascade have burgeoned on many internet sites, especially those devoted to herbalism and wildcrafting. Lynda LeMole of the American Botanical Council calls her a “contemporary American herbal legend,” and wrote, “Cascade had been a full-time working herbalist, teacher, mother, wife, homemaker, wild-crafter, medicine maker, world traveler, eco-tour leader, and citizen-earth activist since the early 1970s. . . . She founded two food co-ops, an herb store, and four political and social activism groups; she worked to protect parks, preserve public lands, and protest against toxic herbicides.” A loving and protective caregiver who lived what she taught, Cascade is survived by her husband, Elliott, and her children Ayla and Lance.