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The Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail (FYWT) is a non-profit membership organization that advocates for the development and operation of multi-use trails that support the health, safety, and connectivity of our community.


The centerpiece of our efforts, the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, is envisioned as a roughly 17-mile rail-to-trail running north-south through Yamhill County and connecting the communities of Carlton, Yamhill, Cove Orchard and Gaston, with potential extensions to Forest Grove in the North and McMinnville in the south. 

The FYWT grew out of a local grassroots effort to create a safe transportation and recreation alternative for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.  Meetings of community leaders and concerned citizens began in the 1990s, and eventually led to the creation of the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in 2012. That year the Yamhelas Westsider Trail was also added to Yamhill County’s Transportation System Plan by an unanimous County Commission vote.  

FYWT is managed by a volunteer board of directors representing local user groups and stakeholders.  The Yamhelas Westsider Trail project is supported by partners including local city governments, business groups, educators, tourism groups, recreation groups and non-profit community service providers.

Help us build the Yamhelas Westider Trail and a stronger community!

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Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail is guided by a volunteer board of directors.  Directors serve three-year terms and are elected by organization members at the annual meeting. One part-time program coordinator facilitates daily FYWT operations and development. 


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Wayne is a long-time Carlton resident who recently moved to McMinnville. He has been active with converting the abandoned railroad into a trail off and on since 1991.  He has been a member of the present FYWT organization since its founding in 2012 and is currently serving as Board President.

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Patty Williams serves as executive director of the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation, part of the HR Hoover Cancer Center in McMinnville. She has a master's degree in Agribusiness Economics and over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, most recently working within the professional tree care industry. She was nominated to fill a vacancy on the board of directors for the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail in the fall of 2020. She lives in Carlton with her wife Kris and their many animals.

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Steve and wife, Jane, raised their two kids on rural property just outside of Yamhill where both kids attended Yamhill-Carlton schools. Steve taught in Oregon schools for 40 years and now loves active involvement in various nonprofits. Young Harloff family members speak passionately about how the Trail would have helped them to safely get to Yamhill-Carlton school activities. When Steve is not working with the Friends, he is a musician, a disc golfer, and an avid soccer fan.

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After finishing a master's in Horticulture, Allen began a career in vineyard management in the Willamette Valley in 1980 and has witnessed the development of that industry. As a life long outdoorsman, Allen has enjoyed all that Oregon has to offer. He became a FYWT Board Member in 2022 and hopes to develop outdoor features closer to home. He is a member of Chehalem Park and Recreation District Trails committee and lives in Dundee.

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Phil and his wife Liesl moved to McMinnville Oregon in April 2020 from Minnesota to be closer to family and to enjoy the abundance of the Willamette Valley.  Minnesota and Oregon residents share a passion for the enjoyment of activities in the great outdoors all year-round. We look forward to helping our community create a safe opportunity for active transportation and healthy recreation for Yamhill county residents and visitors alike with the development of the existing rail right of way. 



Dan is a MAC HIGH and OSU graduate. After a career in the Navy he and wife Patty settled on a small ranch just outside Yamhill in 1996. There, they tend goats, chickens, a vegetable garden, a frit orchard and honey bees. He recently completed twelve years service on the Yamhill County Planning Commission.



Steve is a native Oregonian and resident of Yamhill County since 1992. He and his wife own a 60 acre farm on the northern edge of Yamhill County, where they have grown wheat, hay, ornamentals, Christmas trees, and Hazelnuts. Currently much of the land is in grass seed production. A portion of their farm is forest. Steve also spent over thirty years in the High Tech industry; in technical, supervisory, and management roles. He and his wife enjoy walking, biking, and horseback riding on various Oregon trails.

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