Board of Commissioners
The Land Bank Commission is comprised of volunteers, appointed by the County Council, who serve four-year terms. More information about the composition, powers and duties, and organization of the Commission can be found in San Juan Ordinance, Chapter 16.54, Citizens Conservation, Land Bank.
Amanda has served as a Land Bank commissioner since May 1999. She became a resident of the county in 1991, and has lived in some of its most special places, including Orcas Island near Doe Bay, and Cady Mountain on San Juan, with her husband Joe and cat Ari. Now retired, Amanda formerly worked as a Science Director for Herrera Environmental Consultants, an interdisciplinary environmental and engineering consulting firm. Prior to Herrera she was owner of Azous Environmental Sciences and provided environmental services such as land management planning, stewardship plans, ecological restoration, and landscape design services throughout our islands. She also co-founded the San Juan County Noxious Weed Board. Amanda’s love and commitment to land stewardship and preservation has fueled all her work. She satisfies her passion for the outdoors by visiting and hiking the many parks, preserves, and outer islands that define both the San Juan landscape and the people who live here.
Christa brings to the Commission over 25 years of local leadership as the former director of Camp Nor’wester, service to children and young families as a dietitian, child rearing, and experience with estates and trusts. Christa’s education was in business administration and legal assistance. She is active in the Lopez community including the Lions Club, Lopez Solid Waste, and previous volunteerism on the Lopez School Board. Christa likes serving her community, and is particularly invested in working on issues that affect the entire county. She is motivated by efforts to protect the remarkable qualities of the San Juan Islands that make them so attractive to residents and visitors alike.
Jim moved here with his family in 1994 from another island: Maui, and is an engaged San Juan Islander after two decades of living in this special place. He has served on numerous boards, including nine years on the Board of the San Juan Island Community Foundation, was a co-founder of the Leadership San Juan Islands program, was a founding board member of the SJC Economic Development Council, and still serves on the board of the San Juan Public Schools Foundation. As an estate manager and land steward for private clients on San Juan Island, Jim stewards and manages conservation projects on over 440 acres of pristine forest, prairie, farm, and shoreline lands. He is passionate about what a “healthy community” can and should be, and believes that open space, preservation and conservation efforts are an integral part of that health.
A lifetime native of the Pacific Northwest, Marlis grew up outside of Seattle, often visiting her grandparents and uncles on San Juan Island, where she later attended high school and made her family home with her husband, Roger, a sixth-generation islander whose family homestead is still in existence. After leaving the islands for a several years, Marlis and her family returned, this time to Orcas Island, where she and her husband, Roger live, work, and play with their three children. “As both a frequent user of Land Bank lands, and a mother of three seventh-generation islanders, I am so honored to work toward preserving some of the islands’ most treasured spots for generations to visit and enjoy” says Sandwith about her appointment by the County Council.
Marlis studied Political Science at the University of Montana and is very involved in the Orcas community including past work with the non-profit Lahari and Orcas Island Elementary PTSA, Booster Club. She is a certified K-8 Waldorf teacher and certified Marine Naturalist, having completed one of the first trainings at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, and is on the board of the Funhouse. Marlis currently works as the Orcas-based broker for Greg King & Company, with Windermere San Juan Island.
Doug has been providing legal counsel and advice to clients and public agencies in Washington and Alaska since graduating from the University of Washington in 1971. For the last decade, he’s maintained a general practice of law in Friday Harbor, with an emphasis on real estate, while continuing to work with an Alaska Native Corporation on complex land and environmental issues. Prior to moving here in 1992, Doug owned a law firm in Anchorage for thirteen years, where he served as a volunteer attorney for Alaska’s Violent Crime Compensation Board. In addition to this public service, he provided services to a wide variety of nonprofit groups in Washington and Alaska. Doug is committed to the preservation and stewardship of our lands, and recognizes that many of these lands should be open for public use and enjoyment. At heart, Doug is an outdoorsman, fisherman, hiker, beachcomber, and organic gardener.
Amanda has been active in island stewardship since moving to Lopez Island in 2010. She is the Director of the Lopez Island Conservation Corps and has led youth crew projects on many of the public lands on Lopez. She is also a landscaper and enjoys working with a diversity of plants and people. Amanda’s background in conservation began at Evergreen State College, where she studied botany and environmental sciences, and received a dual BA/BS. She lives on a small farm where she helps with the sheep, chickens, orchard and gardens. Amanda is involved in her community and is committed to protecting island resources for future generations.
Brian Wiese, Chair
When Brian and his wife first visited the San Juan Islands in 2003, they realized they had found a new home. They returned and bought property on Orcas the following year and, in 2014, Brian retired and they moved here permanently. Brian’s career has been in planning, open space preservation and public access. Following graduate work in Landscape Architecture and Planning at the University of Arizona, he worked as a planner on the island of Nantucket, which started the first REET-funded land bank in the country. From there, Brian moved to California to work on the San Francisco Bay Trail, then spent 17 years as a parks planner, helping steward 100,000 acres of open space in the Bay Area. Brian learned about the Land Bank when he bought his property on Orcas, and got really excited during the Turtleback acquisition campaign. He says, “I’m really pleased to be able to be part of the effort to steward the best of our natural land while providing opportunities for islanders and visitors to enjoy it.”