Vancouver community activist Jane Jacobsen dies at 72

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VANCOUVER – Jane Jacobsen, known for her many contributions to the Vancouver community, including “wanting to exist” for art installations in Confluence Oregon and Washington and at Vancouver Waterfront Park, died at her home on May 22.

“Jane was deeply dedicated to service,” Jacobsen’s good friend Betsy Henning told the Columbian. “She wanted to improve the community in which she lived.

Among his greatest contributions to Vancouver, Jacobsen was a project manager for the Vancouver Waterfront Park and recruited designers for the Grant Street Pier and the park’s water feature.

Henning said Jacobsen’s contributions include: the founding executive director and board member of Confluence; administrator of Clark College; President of the Friends of Fort Vancouver; founding member and advisory board member of Columbia Land Trust; former member of the Columbia River Gorge Commission and former member of the Washington State Historical Society.

At the turn of the century, Jacobsen was a leader in Vancouver’s vision to commemorate the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark’s journey to the Pacific Northwest.

Some in the community came up with a statue, but Jacobsen’s vision was much grander. It became Project Confluence, which is perhaps his greatest achievement, according to some of his friends and colleagues.

Jacobsen’s vision for the bicentennial included the building of monuments scattered across two states and dedicated to the people Lewis and Clark met and the places they visited. In the famous portrayal of the two travelers, they point the finger and look into the distance, and Jacobsen has offered to honor the things they have seen in present-day Washington and Oregon.

“She was always talking about Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea – what were they saying? It always stuck in my mind,” said Antone Minthorn, founding member of the Confluence board and leader in various tribal roles. Confederates of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

In 2000, Jacobsen founded and became the executive director of the project. She raised $ 33 million. The project built five completed sites in the Pacific Northwest to honor the history of the region, including tribal history.

Jacobsen recruited artist Maya Lin who had designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, to design monuments. Lin also worked with Jacobsen and consulted for the Confluence Land Bridge, designed by architect Johnpaul Jones. The constructed pedestrian bridge spans Highway 14, connecting Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to the Columbia River.

Jacobsen was born in Burbank, California, and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her husband, Paul Jacobsen, remembers living with her in Burlington, Vermont. While he was in medical school there, she supported him and his two young children by selling 90 loaves of bread a week at a local bakery. She cooked them using a small four-burner stove, said Paul Jacobsen.

After the family moved to Vancouver in 1989, Jane Jacobsen “quickly blossomed” in her involvement in the community.

Jacobsen’s son Gabe Jacobsen said that while she had accomplished so much she was more colorful than her list of accomplishments showed and she emphasized family values.

“She has always wanted to help and has actively looked for ways to help,” he said. “She helped me cross the country three times.”

Ben Jacobsen, Jane’s oldest son, said: “We are grateful to have spent so many years with her. She was a pillar, a rock and an inspiration to so many members of the community. She would definitely want us all to continue to push, improve, and uplift people while bringing people together. “

Survivors include her husband, Paul, sons, Ben and Gabe, a stepdaughter, Allison, and two grandsons, Henrik and Emmett Jacobsen.


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