About Compassion

Compassion & Choices of Oregon is a resource for Oregonians as they make end-of-life decisions and plan for a caring, gentle death according to their own values and beliefs. We provide terminally ill, mentally competent adults with a network of professionals, who inform, educate and counsel them on the broad range of end-of-life options. We complement the implementation of The Oregon Death with Dignity Act by ensuring qualified Oregonians with safe and responsible access to use the Act.

Compassion’s volunteer team and staff include clergy, mental health professionals, attorneys, physicians, hospice nurses, palliative care specialists, and others experienced in helping terminally ill patients, their families and caregivers. Through our experience we have developed an extensive database of community resources. We have access to professionals who provide terminally ill Oregonians the support they need to face the end of life with dignity.


Christi A Cawood, CPA – Chair
Christi is a CPA who recently joined Schultz & Crouse, PC after 30 years as a sole practitioner. Christi has a degree in business administration from PSU. She has served on several nonprofit boards. Her commitment to choice makes her support of Compassion & Choices of Oregon a natural. Christi enjoys long walks with her dog, yard work, and travel.

Sam Friedenberg, JD, Secretary / Treasurer
Sam Friedenberg is an elder law attorney with Nay and Friedenberg since 1987. He is one of the original members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a volunteer for the Senior Law Project, a member and former Chairman of the Agency and Professional Relations Committee of Elder Law Section of the Oregon State Bar, a member of the Executive Committee of the Elder Law Section, a member of the Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee of the OSB and serves on the Probate Advisory Committee for Multnomah County.

David Greenberg
An experienced leader in healthcare services and nonprofit management, David is former President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia / Willamette. He has a doctorate from Union Graduate School and has served on a wide variety of public policy committees and organizational boards.

Kirsten Leonard, Vice Chair
Kirsten has a degree in Psychology from Stanford University, and is the former business manager for Lincoln High School. Prior to becoming a business manager she was a stock broker and development director for Fruit & Flower. She served and serves on numerous non-profit boards. Her personal experience with death came when her mother died from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2000.

Peter B. Lyon, MD
Peter retired from a private family practice associated with Providence Health Systems in 2010 and was recruited to Compassion by Board President Julie McMurchie and Medical Director Emeritus Nancy Crumpacker. Peter graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the late 1970s and lives with his family in Portland. He also serves the organization as its medical director for the Portland metro area.

Julie McMurchie,
Julie is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio and Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law. She is married to Brad McMurchie and spends her days caring for their three teenagers. Her support of Compassion began in 2001 after her mother, Peggy Sutherland, died using Oregon’s physician aid-in-dying law after a long struggle with lung cancer. Julie is a spokesperson for Compassion and a major supporter. She served as our volunteer coordinator for two years and chaired the annual dinner/auction for three years.

Sue Dessayer Porter

Sue Porter has been a client case manager for Compassion & Choices of Oregon since 2001. Sue helps steward patients with a diagnosis of a terminal illness through the process outlined under Oregon’s unique Death with Dignity Act. Sue also sits on the board of directors of Compassion & Choices – our national organization. She has a business background including an MBA from St. Mary’s College and a Masters of Science in Bioethics from Union Graduate College.

Jeffrey Menashe, MD
Dr. Menashe practices hematology, internal medicine, and oncology in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Menashe graduated from the Oregon Health Science University school of Medicine with a medical degree and has been in the profession for more than 27 years. He brings his passion for the rights of his patients to the board and his expertise in end of life care.

Brian Ruess
Brian sells software for the business of medical research for Click Commerce, Inc. Brian attended the California Institute of Technology, received his undergraduate degree in biology form Reed College, and earned his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School. He practiced law as an associate with Martin Bischoff and Lane Powell in Portland prior to going into the software business.


Chair – Renee Holzman – Holzman Foundation
Ron Cease – Portland State University
Reverend Anton DeWet – First Congregational Church
Gwyneth Gamble-Booth – PGE Enron Foundation
Nicholas Gideonse, MD – Legacy Health Systems
M Christie Helmer, JD – Miller Nash, LLC
John Howieson, MD – Retired neuroradiologist
Harriet Dixon Kazzimir
Governor Ted Kulongoski – Oregon Governor, 2003-2011
Marcus Lintner – Marcus Lintner Design
Lynn Loacker – Oregon Community Foundation
Dolorosa Margulis – Margulis Jewelers
Laurie Marx, R.Ph – Bowman’s Hillsdale Pharmacy
Alice Meyer
Fred Miller – Five Star International
Reverend Frank Moss – Episcopal Church – retired
Reverend Catherine Nichols – Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Christina Nicolaidis, MD – Oregon Health Sciences University
Peter Patricelli, MD
Kristina Perkins – Rhino Printing
Peter Rasmussen, MD – Retired oncologist
Bobbie Regan, – Portland School Board
Barbara Roberts – Oregon Governor, 1991-1995
Reverend William G. Sinkford – First Unitarian Church
Donna Schuurman – The Dougy Center
Rabbi Joshua Stampfer – Congregation Neveh Shalom
Rabbi Ariel C. Stone – Congregation Shir Tikvah
Charlie Swindells, JD – 1000 Friends of Oregon
Robert Trotman – Robert Trotman Interior Design
Eric Walsh, MD – Oregon Health Sciences University

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only


Marina Shuman – Volunteer Coordinator, marina@compassionoforegon.org
Susan Prior – Development Manager, susan@compassionoforegon.org
Lynn Partin, JD – Legislative Adviser


Michaele Wilk Houston, MA – Client Support Team Coordinator
Nancy Crumpacker, MD – Medical Director Emeritus
Peter B. Lyon, MD – Medical Director
Pete Reagan, MD – Medical Director
Susan Smith, RN – Client Support Team Lead – Eugene
OPEN – Client Support Team Lead – Southern Oregon

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