A Little Bragging about a Successful Session

CFM has always been a lobby firm dedicated to achieving client results. There is no better example of our work than the recently completed 2016 Oregon legislative session.

Our team of five lobbyists, led by CFM Partner Dan Jarman, worked on challenging legislative projects ranging from funding major sporting events to health care to low-income housing. Their work mirrored CFM’s intentionally diversified client portfolio that takes our lobby team to every corner of the state Capitol in Salem.

Success doesn’t happen by accident. “In a short session, there is a lot to do and not very much time to do it,” Jarman says. “You have to conceive a good plan, maintain the discipline to execute it and have the stamina to withstand all the turmoil to succeed. Our team did.”

Success doesn’t always occur in a single session, particularly a short one. And just because you succeed doesn’t mean that success is permanent.  “It takes vigilance to notch a client victory,” Jarman adds. “It takes just as much or more vigilance to preserve that victory.”

The CFM team in Salem consists of Dale Penn II, Ellen Miller and Tess Milio. Case studies highlighting some of their successes during the 2016 session are featured on CFM's homepage.

Michael Skipper, the fifth member of CFM's state team, joined the firm's federal affairs team in Washington, D.C., after the session. He has become the latest member of the CFM staff to work as a lobbyist in both D.C. and Salem.

There has been little time for the state team to rest. After writing their 2016 session reports for clients, they are already at work on legislation for the 2017 session as well as initiatives that voters will decide in the November general election.

“The cycle never stops,” Jarman said. “We can’t either."

Skipper Joins CFM Federal Affairs Team

Michael Skipper will join the CFM Federal Affairs team after working with the firm’s state affairs team during the 2015 and 2016 Oregon legislative sessions and assisting on political campaigns in Corvallis and Sherwood.

A political science graduate of Oregon State University, Skipper will assume the role of CFM Federal Affairs Associate.

"Michael's broad understanding of the issues facing the Pacific Northwest, ability to handle complex assignments and record of accomplishment in Salem makes him a perfect fit for the CFM D.C. team,” says Joel Rubin, CFM Federal Affairs Partner. "Having someone who understands the legislative process at the state level will integrate nicely into our comprehensive service model.” 

Skipper assisted the CFM State Affairs team with client, legislator and committee relations, monitored relevant legislation and provided general support. He brings solid communication, research and organizational skills to his new post.

“I’m looking forward to working in Washington, D.C., which has been a goal of mine,” Skipper says. “I’m delighted to continue my association with CFM in this new position.”

Skipper already has a working familiarity with some of CFM’s federal clients, which the firm represents at both the federal and state levels.

For fun, Skipper enjoys hitting the links, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. He is an avid sports fan who can routinely be found at any Trail Blazer or Beaver football, basketball and baseball games.

Skipper can be reached at michaels@cfmdc.com

Chuck Frost, the Conscience of CFM, Passes

Chuck Frost, who died late last month, is remembered as a mentor to CFM's principals and the conscience of the firm.

Chuck Frost, who died late last month, is remembered as a mentor to CFM's principals and the conscience of the firm.

Chuck Frost, who was a mentor to CFM’s principals and the conscience to the firm, died in Portland January 26 at age 79. A Celebration of Life for Chuck will be held February 13 in Beaverton.

CFM started as a spinout of Tektronix when Chuck was vice president of administration. “When we first brought up the idea, which involved voluntarily taking pink slips, Chuck thought we had gone daft,” said CFM co-founder Gary Conkling. “He gradually warmed up to the idea. Much later, he told us forming CFM was a smart idea.”

When he retired from Tektronix, Chuck joined CFM. He worked as part of CFM client teams, but his greatest value came in asking tough questions about how we did our work – and for whom.

“Chuck was one of the most principled men I ever met,” Conkling said. “While I worked for Tektronix, Chuck insisted that we identify a public interest for anything that we lobbied. If we couldn’t make a credible case, we didn’t lobby the issue. He brought that same integrity inside our firm.”

That principled approach to public policy led the late Senator Mark Hatfield to hire Chuck as a Senior Fellow in Washington, D.C., where he finished his career before returning to Oregon to retire.

Below is Chuck’s obituary, which includes the time and location of his Celebration of Life.

Charles Henry Frost

April 4, 1936 – January 26, 2016

Charles “Chuck” Frost lived in a log cabin, worked as a fruit-picker, became a student body president, attended college, did a stint at the Pentagon, fell in love with a stewardess, worked for Tektronix in its heyday and served as a senior fellow for the late Senator Mark Hatfield. He loved life, cherished the outdoors and was a mentor, role model and friend to generations of policymakers and public affairs professionals.

Born April 4, 1936 to Wilfrid Tuttle Frost and Hazel Emma (Stephens) Frost in Berkeley, California, Chuck passed away January 26, 2016 in Portland. He was married 56 years to his best friend, Marilyn Jean (Heckman) Frost, and is survived by Marilyn, his son Charles Stephen Frost, daughter Laura Kathryn Frost, grandchildren Dane and Athena, brother Gordon and nieces and nephews.

He spent his first six years living in a log cabin in Crater Lake National Park, where his father was a park ranger. That ignited his lifelong love of nature, which he passed along to his children and grandchildren.

His family moved to Medford, where Chuck’s first job was picking fruit in nearby orchards. The family later moved to Portland. Chuck went to Grant High School and was elected student body president in 1954.

Chuck attended Willamette University before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He was on active duty in the Pentagon from 1958-1960. While in Washington, D.C., he met the love of his life, Marilyn, who worked for Capitol Airlines.

After they married, the Frosts moved to Portland and Chuck began his 34-year career with Tektronix, which included roles as director of public affairs and vice president of administration. He was often the public face of the company, which at its peak was Oregon’s largest private employer. Chuck earned a reputation for professionalism and principled advocacy. He had a knack for making complex subjects understandable.

When he retired, Chuck joined CFM Strategic Communications, which began as a spinout from Tektronix. He participated in client teams, but his greatest contribution was asking tough questions and serving as the firm’s conscience.

Chuck was active in the community, serving on the boards of the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Independent Colleges Association, Tuality Hospital and Associated Oregon Industries. He was a member of the Portland City Club and the Public Affairs Council.

Chuck and Marilyn moved back to Washington, D.C., in 1995 when he became a Senior Fellow for Senator Hatfield, a role he filled until Hatfield retired in 1997.

The Frosts returned to Portland to enjoy their retirement.

A Celebration of Chuck’s life will be held Saturday, February 13, from 2-4 p.m. at the Claremont Clubhouse, 15800 NW Country Club Dr., Portland, OR 97229. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Nature Conservancy of Oregon.

Rubin Becomes CFM Partner

Joel Rubin, left, with Tigard Mayor John Cook, right, discusses federal items highlighted at a recent Conference of Mayors event in Washington, D.C. Rubin, who leads CFM’s federal affairs team, just became the firm’s newest partner.

Joel Rubin, left, with Tigard Mayor John Cook, right, discusses federal items highlighted at a recent Conference of Mayors event in Washington, D.C. Rubin, who leads CFM’s federal affairs team, just became the firm’s newest partner.

Joel Rubin, who joined CFM Strategic Communications nearly 10 years ago and now leads the firm’s federal affairs office in Washington, DC, has become its newest shareholder.

“I’m pleased my work for clients has translated into a solid practice area for CFM,” Rubin says.

Rubin grew up in the Washington, DC area, but worked for five years as Legislative Director to former Washington Congressman Brian Baird, which gave him a taste of the Pacific Northwest. “It was all new and I loved it,” Rubin says. “Maryland is my home, but the Pacific Northwest is my second home."

After he left Capitol Hill, Rubin worked as a lobbyist for a D.C.-based firm. When given the chance to join CFM and work with Pacific Northwest clients, he jumped at the opportunity. "The Northwest is blessed with folks who work well together and try to solve problems. I was excited to rejoin my friends and colleagues to continue the work I started for Congressman Baird."

Rubin’s areas of expertise include appropriations, transportation, energy, defense, tax, trade, grants and local government issues.

“Joel has broad experience, which he applies in innovative and creative ways,” says CFM Partner Dan Jarman who recruited Rubin in 2006. “Others may throw up their hands in a tough situation, Joel digs in and finds a path to success.”

A graduate of Frostburg State University, where he majored in accounting with a minor in political science, Rubin and his wife, Sarah, have two children. When not at the office or visiting clients, Rubin can be found on the diamond with his 2015 championship men's baseball team or a dive karaoke bar belting out some REO Speedwagon.

CFM now has five active partners. Co-founder and partner Dave Fiskum retired in 2015. Rubin officially became a CFM partner on January 1.

Jarman Leads Drive for Blazer License Plate

Oregon politicians, including Gov. Kate Brown, unveil the new Portland Trail Blazers license plate during a first quarter timeout against Atlanta Hawks at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, January 20, 2016. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)

Oregon politicians, including Gov. Kate Brown, unveil the new Portland Trail Blazers license plate during a first quarter timeout against Atlanta Hawks at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, January 20, 2016. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)

Governor Kate Brown and key legislators joined Portland Trail Blazer officials Wednesday night to unveil a new specialty license plate bearing the NBA team’s logo and the iconic “Rip City” nickname. CFM Partner Dan Jarman and his state affairs team made the license plate a reality during the 2015 Oregon legislative session.

Dan Jarman, CFM partner and member of the firm's state affairs practice. 

Dan Jarman, CFM partner and member of the firm's state affairs practice. 

“Lawmakers are reticent to approve specialty plates, but the Trail Blazers made a convincing case,” said Jarman, who attended the unveiling during a Blazer home game versus the Atlanta Hawks. “It didn’t hurt that Bill Schonely and Terry Porter came to Salem to testify and lobby for the bill.”

The new license plate will be available this spring and will cost $40. The proceeds from license plate sales will fund competitive grants that support Oregon youth initiatives statewide and will be distributed through the Trail Blazers Foundation.

Other states with professional sports franchises offer similar specialty license plates as a way fans can show their loyalty and contribute to worthy causes.

“When Oregon lawmakers realized these kinds of specialty license plates are common, they warmed to the idea of the Trail Blazer license plate,” Jarman said.

Gaining legislative approval of a new specialty license plate is no walk in the park. But Jarman has learned the path. He also represented the Oregon wine industry in the 2013 legislative session in its effort to create an Oregon Wine Country plate.

Regional Land-Use System Unravels

This November, Sherwood voters turned down a proposed annexation for a third time. The 104 acres of land were brought into the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. 

This November, Sherwood voters turned down a proposed annexation for a third time. The 104 acres of land were brought into the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. 

Portland's regional land-use policy may be unraveling by the unwillingness of local communities to carry it out, says CFM partner Norm Eder in an op-ed published on page A7 last week in the Portland Tribune.

"Today, the metro area is less the cohesive region planners envisioned," Eder wrote, "and more an ever-expanding network of smaller, often self-defined villages."

"And it's just another irony that many of those who reject the consequences of land-use decisions in their villages," he added, "are the most committed to the system's growth management principles."

Eder's comments came after Sherwood residents defeated for the third time a proposal to annex 104 acres, which were part of a larger parcel added to the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. [CFM Strategic Communications managed the most recent unsuccessful annexation campaign.]

"Whether we're talking about land-use, transportation or economic development, our region faces an existential threat to its way of doing things," Eder said. "We continue onward pretending the ground under our feet has not shifted. We create plan, conduct public process and make decisions that it the letter of the law, but with less and less real meaning in the world as it really exists."

"Ultimately, the Sherwood vote matters," Eder concluded, "because it tells those of us who worry about the region's future that somethings gotta give and soon."

Norm Eder is part of CFM's public affairs team. Eder works extensively with and for local governments, tackling major projects. You can reach him at norme@cfmpdx.com.

Runquist Joins CFM, Deepens Firm's Writer's Bench

Justin Runquist, who has worked as a reporter for The Columbian, The Oregonian and The Spokesman-Review, has joined CFM Strategic Communications as the firm’s communications counsel.

Justin Runquist

Justin Runquist

A graduate of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, Runquist deepens CFM's bench for storytelling, story pitching, content creation, presentations and social media.

"Justin brings a fresh eye and contemporary experience in the media to meet client needs," said Gary Conkling, CFM’s president and co-founder. "He knows how to tell a story, sniff out a good story angle and leverage digital resources.”

Runquist most recently worked for The Columbian, where he wrote about local government, business, education and the marijuana industry in Clark County. Prior to that, Runquist worked for The Oregonian, covering government, business, crime and education in Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, West Linn and other parts of the Portland metro area. 

Three years ago for The Oregonian, Runquist covered the Washington State Legislature during a historic session as gay marriage became legal in the Evergreen State.

Runquist joins the CFM communications team, but he will also provide support for the firm's state affairs and research practice areas.

"Working for CFM appealed to me because of its range of public affairs work for corporations, nonprofits and public agencies," Runquist said. "This will translate into more diverse experiences and challenging work."

Conkling said, "People with journalistic experience do well in the world of public affairs. They understand policy issues and political processes. They also know that timing is everything."

Runquist also will play a key role in CFM's content-forward marketing efforts. 

"This is a company that shows what it can do through its widely shared thought leadership and case studies,” he said. “Clients know what they get when they hire CFM."

Runquist's arrival coincides with the departure of Hannah Smith, who has worked at CFM for seven years after graduating from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Smith and her husband are departing soon for a dream experience of an extended stay in Southeast Asia.

CFM Alumni Celebrate 25 Good Years

Group photo of alumni who served on the State Lobby Team as interns.

Group photo of alumni who served on the State Lobby Team as interns.

Staff members whose work for CFM spanned the past quarter century mingled over wine and munchies, trading war stories, catching up and recording reflections on something called SpeechBooth.

The CFM alumni event is part of the firm's 25th anniversary celebration. Each staffer received a bottle of Oregon Pinot noir and a wine glass carrying CFM's special 25th anniversary logo. Many attendees shared reflections of their time at CFM, which were recorded and will be posted as a video on CFM's website landing page devoted to the anniversary celebration, along with 25 "milestone" stories about the firm's work.

"We're very proud of our alumni," said CFM president Gary Conkling. "We're here today because of the contributions of the many people who worked for the firm. Our culture, our reputation and our collective skill is a reflection of all the talents who have been part of CFM."

Alumni who attended included Donna McClelland, CFM's first employee, Laura Imeson, an early member of the firm's state lobby team, and Patty Farrell, a key early member of the PR team.

Nate McLemore (Columbia Pacific Management) came from Seattle, Ken Strobeck (Arizona League of Cities) from Phoenix and Darrel Buttice (chairman of the Bend-area Habitat for Humanity program) from Central Oregon. Dan Keeney, formerly vice president of public relations at CFM before moving to Texas where he set up his own PR firm, is now back in Portland and affiliated once again with CFM.

Chuck Frost, who convinced Tektronix management to allow CFM's principals to effect a friendly spinout from the technology giant, attended. Frost has served for years as a mentor and example for the firm. Doug Babb, now retired, joined the party. Babb was a long-time anchor and conscience of the firm's public affairs practice.

Erika Hetfeld (Oregon Business Council), Joel Fischer (Oregon Business Association) and Elizabeth Remley (Thorn Run) attended as former members of the state lobby team. Ashley Sherrick (Koopman Ostbo), Suzie Giacomelli (Waggener Edstrom), Michelle DeLude (professional hypnotist) and Madeline Turnock (Concordia University) represented former PR staffers.

Partner emeritus Dave Fiskum, still smarting from his surprise retirement roast last month, attended, as did all current staff members based in Portland or Salem. Several alumni who were unable to attend sent congratulatory messages on CFM's 25th anniversary milestone. One of them said, "I loved working at CFM. It is a hard act to follow. It is a hard place to forget."

Friends Tenderly Roast Retiring Fiskum

Photos by Tom Patterson.

Photos by Tom Patterson.

Lured from a putting green into the dining hall at Illahe Country Club, CFM Partner Emeritus Dave Fiskum was welcomed by a roomful of friends, coworkers and former clients who warm-heartedly roasted him after his retirement earlier this year.

The evening was filled with a mix of funny and tender stories about Fiskum's work as a lobbyist, his devotion to golf and his ongoing struggle with technology.

Former CFM staffer Elizabeth Remley, whose job included IT assistance, recalled Fiskum asking her how to "get rid of the blue dots" next to his emails. She said: "Just read them."

Former State Rep. Vicki Berger, who had worked with Fiskum to pass a huge local school bond measure, said she asked him for advice after she was elected to the legislature. "He explained to me how to play lobby golf."

Lynne Saxton, who now heads the Oregon Health Authority, described the search for a lobbyist for ChristieCare, the nonprofit she directed for many years. "Someone suggested Dave, then added that he golfed a lot," she said. Fiskum got the job anyway, but after two years Saxton said her nonprofit ran out of money to pay his fee. "Dave said that wasn't a problem and went on representing the organization for many years, helping thousands of children from around the state."

Former State Senator Neil Bryant noted Fiskum paid little attention to him when he was first elected, but suddenly wanted to become best friends when Republicans gained control of the Senate and he took the chairmanship of Senate Judiciary. In that role, Bryant pledged to write implementing legislation for the physician-assisted suicide measure approved by Oregon voters, but opposed by one of Fiskum's main clients.

"I created a work group to iron out details, but insisted that everyone on the work group had to agree to support the recommendations they come up with," Bryant said. "When I returned from a trip to the East Coast expecting to meet my wife at the airport, I was greeted instead by Fiskum who said, 'I have a problem.' I listened to his problem for the hour it took to drive me to Salem."

Amid the roasts were praise for Fiskum's unflagging loyalty to friends, clients and family and for his unwavering integrity. Roasters teased him about his passionate, arm-flailing monologues on issues, his Capitol hallway vents after a vote went against him and his habit of removing his glasses before making a profound comment.

"One thing for sure," said CFM President Gary Conkling, who has known Fiskum since they both attended Seattle Pacific University, "is you couldn't ask for a better business partner or a friend."

Dave Fiskum Golf

Fifty or so friends, plus Fiskum's wife and daughter, attended the reception and dinner that is part of CFM's 25th anniversary celebration this year.

"Dave played a large part in the creation and culture of the company," said CFM Partner Dan Jarman, who suggested the roast. "We know Dave didn't want a big deal made of his decision to retire, but we couldn't resist saying 'thank you' to him in some tangible and meaningful way, surrounded by his friends."

Admitting his surprise at being roasted, Fiskum said, "It was a great party and very gratifying to see a lot of my friends in one place at one time, to hear a lot of fun memories recounted, some at my expense."

"I enjoyed it, I have to say.  And, as you know, I have absolutely no regrets about my 25 years at CFM. It was a great run, made better with friends like you."

PBJ Cites CFM Blog

Oregon Insider's look ahead at a doozy of an election season in 2016 drew the attention of the Portland Business Journal, which ran a condensed version of the story and carried a direct link to the blog.

In a piece headlined "Whispers begin about Oregon's 2016 election candidates," Andy Giegerich cited Oregon Insider and CFM as a "leading voice in the policy realm" because its public affairs and lobbying client work in Salem, Washington, DC and Portland.

Oregon Insider noted that all but one statewide elected office in the state will be contested next year, including a potential primary battle for Oregon Senator Ron Wyden prompted by organized labor's opposition to Wyden's support for fast track authority to negotiate international trade agreements.

Governor Kate Brown must vie next year to keep her job for what would have been the final years of John Kitzhaber's fourth term. Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence-peddling scandal, which led to Brown's ascension as governor. Brown could face a challenge in the Democratic primary and is sure to have a Republican opponent, even though there is no clear, high-profile frontrunner.

There also will be open races for secretary of state and state treasurer and possibly for labor commissioner if incumbent Brad Avakian decides to run for another office. Treasurer Ted Wheeler is barred from seeking re-election to his current post and may seek another state or a high-profile local post.

The 2016 election will center on a wide-open presidential race, which could have repercussions in Oregon as candidates build grassroots organizations that also can tout down-ballot candidates.

"Except for Senator Jeff Merkley, just about everyone and everything could be on the ballot next year," says CFM Partner Dan Jarman. "It is shaping up as one of the most interesting elections in a long time."

Oregon is well known for ballot measures. While it is still early to know what all could be on the ballot, chances are it will add even more spice to already saucy election season.

Owning, Fixing and Talking About Your Crisis

It is hard to fix a crisis you don't own.

It is hard to fix a crisis you don't own.

"Failing to own a crisis is like walking away from an opportunity to show your character, resiliency and values," CFM President Gary Conkling advised a group of water agency officials. "You will be choosing a road other than the road to redemption."

Conkling was invited to be the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of American Waterworks Association. The meeting was centered on strategic communications by water agencies. The title of his talk was "Owning, Fixing and Talking About Your Crisis." "I honestly believe crisis response is that simple," Conkling said. "Unfortunately, it isn't that easy."

A leading crisis communications counselor, Conkling said it is hard to "fix a crisis you don't own." "An insufficient apology or an evasive explanation won't put a crisis to rest," he explained.

Owning a crisis involves acknowledging what happened, expressing an appropriate emotion, apologizing and providing relevant detail about why it happened and why it won't happen again, Conkling said. "Owning a crisis doesn't involve saying you have everything under control, telling people not to worry or urging people to trust you."

"By definition, a crisis means events are out of control," he said. "You can't stop people from worrying. Your words don't elicit trust. Only actions can do that." 

Fixing a crisis relies on taking "demonstrable steps that show you own the crisis and are willing to deal with the root cause of the crisis." 

Talking about your crisis response "is easier when you have something to say," Conkling said. 

Sometimes it is smart, he said, to talk with stakeholders or neighbors before a crisis occurs. "People respect you for telling them what could happen," Conkling said. "The absence of an incident actually reinforces your trustworthiness. They assume the potential problem you discussed with them is being managed well." 

"A crisis may uncover something you wished would have stayed hidden," he said. "But your crisis response can demonstrate your openness to owning a potential problem and addressing it responsibly."

Gary Conkling Crisis Communications

If you are interested in having Gary Conkling speak to your organization about Crisis Communications, you can contact him here. For more Crisis Communications advice from Gary Conkling, visit the CFM Crisis Ebook.

The Original Dan Keeney Back at CFM

Dan Keeney back at CFM

Dan Keeney, APR is back at CFM Strategic Communications after a 15-year hiatus during which he built his own independent public relations firm, DPK Public Relations, with a diverse set of clients. 

"We are extremely glad to have Dan working closely with CFM’s public relations and public affairs teams," says CFM President Gary Conkling. "We've talked a lot about finding another 'Dan Keeney,' but it is much better to have the original Dan Keeney back."

While Keeney was with CFM, he played a large role in helping the firm establish its public affairs and marketing PR credentials, as exemplified by numerous awards, including three Silver Anvils, the PR industry's "Oscar."

Keeney brings a creative eye and a strategic touch to PR projects. "I look for what's different because it’s the surest way to entice a reporter to cover a story," Keeney explains. "In an age when social media and word-of-mouth outpace the influence and reach of traditional media, I also believe in making it easy for clients to package their information in compelling ways to connect with the communities that matter to them directly. These are the same ideas and techniques we were developing at CFM when I came onboard nearly 20 years ago."

The eventual plan is to integrate Keeney's existing practice into CFM's. Meanwhile, the strategic alliance between CFM and DPK Public Relations enhances CFM’s capabilities to include vertical expertise in healthcare, energy, technology and financial services, while DPK PR’s clients gain access to CFM’s expertise in federal lobbying and public affairs.

"We are already including Dan in our proposals and projects," Conkling says. "Our goal is to have him be a full member of the CFM team."

Keeney advises clients on crisis communication and reputation management and assists them on marketing PR. One of his clients is Saint Arnold Brewing, the oldest craft brewer in Texas. He also provides strategic communications counsel, media relations and training for media interviews and public speaking.

CFM Turns 25


CFM turns 25 this year and we plan to celebrate. We have added some silver glamor to our logo, redesigned our website with a storytelling format and launched "25 Stories" that characterize our work and passion for the past quarter century.

Later in the year, we will uncork a special-label wine produced by Willamette Valley Vineyards and unveil some other surprises.

While the past 25 years have been a blast and gone by all too quickly, our 25th anniversary celebration is also about marking our next 25 years of serving clients.

"We are proud of our work in the past 25 years," says CFM President and co-founder Gary Conkling. "But it is just the beginning of what CFM can do. We have a new generation of professionals at CFM who are upholding our ideals for integrity and delivering quality client service that gets results."

CFM began as a friendly spinout from Tektronix, then Oregon's largest private employer. CFM has evolved into one of the Pacific Northwest's leading public affairs and strategic communications agencies. The firm offers five business lines – state lobbying, federal lobbying, public affairs, marketing public relations and market and public opinion research.

"From the start, our vision was to offer clients seamless, integrated solutions to their communications challenges," Conkling says. "Some clients take advantage of multiple CFM services, while others just use one of our services. But our staff is engaged in all of our services, so they assist clients with a panoramic view of what's possible to solve a problem."

"When we started CFM 25 years ago, some doubted we would survive. We had a few doubts ourselves," Conkling recalls. "What made the difference was a commitment to help clients tell their story in energetic, authentic and factual ways. We looked at every challenge as an opportunity and every communications channel as a promising avenue."

"I can't imagine not doing what we do everyday," Conkling adds. "We come to work everyday with a chance to make a difference for clients we believe in."

CFM Earns Press Coverage for Local Nonprofit


CFM helped local nonprofit Central City Concern show off its social entrepreneurship through an article this week in the Portland Business Journal that featured its innovative bed bug resistant bed.

Frustrated with the beds available in the market, CCC invented its own in 2010 to use in its newly built Madrona Studios for its homeless clients. CCC partnered with a Clackamas County manufacturer and used its knowledge from waging a mostly losing battle with bloodsucking parasites to create a durable, safe bed, which it called Central City Bed.

After receiving unsolicited inquiries from other nonprofits, CCC realized it had a going business on its hands. The bed has continued to impress and now is turning a small profit for CCC, which goes to support its job training programs.

Central City Concern also sells Central City Coffee as part of a growing effort to create revenue streams to support its integrated approach to helping homeless people get back on their feet with housing, health care and work.

CFM's Hannah Smith developed the story pitch to the Portland Business Journal emphasizing CCC's social entrepreneurship, contacted the publication and coordinated contacts with key CCC personnel. PBJ took the story and ran with it.

"Central City Bed is a great product," Smith said. "It reflects a smart approach to build awareness, support and revenue for the agency's important work."

The story about the bed appeared online, and a longer version is scheduled to appear in PBJ's weekly print edition.

Fiskum Involved in Atiyeh Memorial Planning

Fiskum Involved in Atiyeh Memorial Planning.jpg

Former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh's memorial service will be held September 3 in the House Chamber at the state Capitol, following extensive planning by a committee that includes CFM Senior Partner Dave Fiskum.

Speakers at the memorial will include Gerry Thompson, Atiyeh's chief of staff, former Governor Barbara Roberts, Congressman Greg Walden and state Senator Jackie Winters. Atiyeh's two children, Tom Atiyeh and Suzanne E. Atiyeh, will deliver remarks on behalf of the family.

Other presenters at the memorial will include the Right Reverend Michael J. Hanley, the Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, and Chief Delvis Heath of the Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco Tribes, who will represent Oregon Tribes. Music will be provided by the Pacific University Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Scott L. Tuomi. There also will be participation by units from the Oregon National Guard, Oregon State Police and Boy Scouts of America.

Fiskum worked for Atiyeh during his two terms in office. In 1979, Fiskum started as assistant director for communications for the then-Department of Human Resources. When the governor ran for re-election in 1982, Fiskum served as his press secretary and, after Atiyeh's re-election, served as deputy director of the Department of Economic Development.

"I count it a special privilege to have worked for the governor," Fiskum said. "His administration was marked by an openness and a search for middle ground on tough public policy problems, a trait I admire to this day. The governor's outreach to the Pacific Rim, which earned him the nickname 'Trader Vic,' continues to pay dividends throughout the state."

Governor John Kitzhaber, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek contacted Atiyeh family members to offer legislative courtesies and have cooperated with memorial service planning, Fiskum said.

Updates on the service are available at:


CFM Roommate Name Change


Allison+Partners, which is based out of San Francisco and now has 18 offices in major markets worldwide, acquired Frause, including its Portland operation that is housed with CFM.

The Frause team is now the Allison+Partners team in Portland, except with a much bigger bench that extends to three continents. Bob Frause will remain affiliated with his former company in an of-counsel relationship. Frause was based in Seattle., where Allison+Partners also maintained an office.

Frause co-located his Portland team with CFM to create more synergy between the firms, which have overlapping, but different core competencies and expertise. The co-location enables the two firms to identify joint client opportunities, but only a daily basis offers a more diverse set of professionals with which to collaborate.

"We've enjoyed having the Frause team working side-by-side with us and we welcome the even larger team from Allison+Partners," says Gary Conkling, CFM president.

CFM and Allison+Partners have a longer association, as both were members of the Pinnacle Worldwide network.

"We know and respect the leaders of Allison+Partners," Conkling says. "They serve clients as we do, providing senior communications counsel based on experience and knowledge."

CFM Sponsors Goodwin Lecture at OHS

CFM Sponsors Goodwin Lecture at OHS.jpg

Doris Kearns Goodwin charmed a packed house in Portland as she discussed in rich detail "my guys," the Presidents she has written about in a series of bestselling and award-winning books.Doris Kearns Goodwin charmed a packed house this week as she talked about "my guys," the Presidents whom she has chronicled in her bestselling books, including Team of Rivals, the basis for the awarding-winning movie Lincoln. She received a standing ovation when she finished.

Goodwin's lecture in Portland was part of the Oregon Historical Society's Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum. CFM Strategic Communications was a sponsor of the event.

Kerry Tymchuk, director of the Oregon Historical Society, said Goodwin spent time with Pete Mark, whose personal collection of Lincoln artifacts, including a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, is on display at OHS.

Goodwin framed her lecture about presidential leadership using rich examples from Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. Common traits she identified included their ability to overcome failures or setbacks, to accept criticism and to see hope where others saw gloom. Goodwin told the story of Teddy Roosevelt jumping on a platform and cheerfully applauding passersby who carried placards and yelled epithets about him, earning tips of hats by his detractors and a newspaper headline, "He Cheered Those Who Jeered."

After her lecture, Goodwin engaged in an onstage conversation with Tymchuk that revealed more about her own background. She told how she was groomed as a young girl for a career as a historian by maintaining a meticulous, detailed scorebook of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball games on the radio so her dad could find out what happened when he came home from work.

Goodwin also related how she and her husband were invited to the White House by Bill and Hillary Clinton after Goodwin expressed an interest in seeing where a passel of colorful figures, including Winston Churchill, stayed during FDR's time. 

Appropriately, Goodwin was assigned the bedroom where Churchill stayed and she pinpointed the spot where the British wartime prime minister emerged from his bathroom fresh from a bath and fully naked to see a startled FDR waiting to talk to him. As FDR started to leave, Churchill said, "The British Prime Minister has nothing to hide from the President of the United States." 

Goodwin's books and lectures have attracted a wide audience because of her ability to make history interesting and to describe major historical figures in a human scale.

Eder Documents Near-Perfect Waterfront Blues Festival


That crouching, ever-moving figure in kneepads on the Waterfront Blues Festival stage last week was none other than CFM Partner Norm Eder.

Eder, who builds sailboats and ukuleles in his spare time, is a skilled photographer who leads a volunteer, four-person team that documents all the performances and events at the Blues Festival at McCall Waterfront Park. This was Eder's 10th year as the event's documentary photographer.

"It has been amazing to watch the festival grow," Eder says. "Now, from the first chord, it runs likes a smooth machine."

This year's festival was blessed with near perfect weather conditions, which added to the sparkle of Eder's photographic record of the 3-day event that drew thousands to the waterfront, making it one of the biggest — and many say the best — blues festival in the country.

The event is the major annual fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank and generates more than $1 million to buy fresh food and pay for gas to deliver it to needy families.

One of the most remarkable performances, Eder says, was by the United for Music kids. This program matches developmentally challenged youngsters with local professional musicians who tutor them on singing, playing their instruments and stage style. Eder said their performance was "electric." 

"The group that tore up the stage this year," he added, was Los Lonely Boys. And Curtis Salgado, who filled in at the last minute for Gregg Allman who canceled for health reasons, gave one of his best Festival performances ever, Eder said.

The passion Eder brings to the event and the music is reflected in his photographs.

Frause Portland Leader Wins Silver Anvil

Kelliann Amico with her Silver Anvil awarded for her work on the highly successful 2013 Portland visit of the Dalai Lama.

Kelliann Amico with her Silver Anvil awarded for her work on the highly successful 2013 Portland visit of the Dalai Lama.

The PR plan that led to sellout crowds, major sponsorships and 350 media placements for the 2013 visit to Portland by the Dalai Lama resulted in a Silver Anvil for Kelliann Amico. 

Amico, who leads the Portland office of Frause, which is co-located with CFM, received the prestigious award, considered the "Oscar" of the U.S. PR industry, at a major ceremony in New York City last week.

"A lot of people contributed to the success of this event," Amico said. "I was pleased to help make it a success." 

Her client was Maitripa College, a Tibetan Buddhist college located in Southeast Portland. Founded in 2005, it is the only college of its type in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Dalai Lama came to Portland in May 2013 for the 3-day “Dalai Lama Environmental Summit” which included the sessions “Spirituality and the Environment” and “Universal Responsibility and the Global Environment” among others. In his comments, the Dalai Lama stressed the importance of taking action now to protect the environment for future generations. More information about the summit and the Dalai Lama's visit can be found at http://www.dalailamaportland2013.net.

Amico's Silver Anvil was awarded to her in the nonprofit category for an event lasting seven or fewer days. Three other entries received awards of excellence and they included events to mark a presidential library at Mount Vernon and the "Green Apple Day of Service" promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Awards come and go," Amico said. "But it is gratifying to receive recognition for work on something that has enduring value. I have a statue, but the community has the legacy of the Dalai Lama's visit and his call for individual responsibility to address our environment."


Tigard, Sherwood Score EPA Grants

Tigard and Sherwood, both CFM clients, were awarded federal grants this week to clean up polluted sites, clearing the way for redevelopment in their respective downtowns. 

"The projects were championed by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and received strong support from Senator Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici," said Joel Rubin, CFM vice president for federal affairs.

CFM assisted both cities in working closely with regional and national staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure they submitted solid, competitive grant requests.

Tigard will receive $400,000 to conduct a community-wide brownfield assessment in its downtown. This project has very strong support from local businesses. The properties assessed will include those of interested private-sector owners and redevelopers and ensure that contamination does not pose a barrier to productive reuse of the sites. The project builds on years of citizen planning and involvement for the vision of downtown Tigard.

Sherwood will receive $200,000 to conduct an environmental site assessment of a 25-acre portion of the former Frontier Leather site. The City wants to purchase a portion of the former site to move its Public Works Yard. This will free up space where the existing Public Works Yard is located for redevelopment consistent with the vision for the Old Town area and will increase economic opportunities in the community.

"We are grateful to Senator Merkley and the congressional delegation for their strong support of our EPA Assessment grant," said Tigard Mayor John Cook. "The City is looking forward to working with its community partners to address the key issue of contaminated properties and creating a more livable, walkable and economically resilient community.”

"EPA funding will allow Sherwood to assess and plan for cleanup of the former Frontier Leather Tannery property in order to redevelop this site in the future," explained Mayor Bill Middleton. "This will greatly increase economic opportunities in the community. Bringing this property back into productive use is a critical part of our long-term downtown plan. We greatly appreciate the support of Senator Merkley and the congressional delegation."