July 15, 1944 ~ March 15, 2013

Kathie Durbin (Amy Kathleen Durbin), daughter of August L. "Buss" Barton and Fern L. Monteith Barton, died March 15, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. She was 68. Kathie was born in Eugene and lived in Oregon for most her life. She graduated from South Eugene High School in 1962 and married James C. Durbin that year.
Kathie attended Lane Community College and graduated from the University of Oregon School of Journalism in 1975. She was an award-winning environmental journalist who worked at the Eugene Register-Guard, Willamette Week, the Oregonian and the Columbian of Vancouver.
In the course of her career, Kathie wrote three books: Tree Huggers, Tongass, and the forthcoming The Columbia River Gorge: Bridging a Great Divide. A poet and an avid traveller, Kathie loved the Pacific Northwest.
Kathie is survived by her daughters, Audrey, Brenda and Stefanie; brother, Dennis Barton of Stanwood, WA; sister, Elyse Myers of Eugene, OR; two nephews; and two nieces.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Feryl for Kathie's photograph.
A memorial service will be held March 24 at 3:00 p.m. at Holman's Funeral Home, 2610 SE Hawthorne St., Portland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Environment Oregon,
Please sign her guest book at:
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Columbian on Mar. 19, 2013.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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19 Entries
There are few as talented as Amy. Her heartfelt intelligence shines through all her pages. Amys writings mirror her integrity. Amys prescient words and wisdom will keep her writings alive for generations to come. With appreciation, Barbara-Lee Orloff
Barbara-Lee Orloff
March 13, 2020
Born in the same year, Kathie Durbin and I reflect our 60's generation call to activism. Brenda, Kathie's daughter embodies this same spirit. I did not know Kathie personally but pay tribute now to her ideals. I look forward to reading her books and know her commitment to our planet's welfare will live on through her children and theirs.
barbara-lee orloff
April 3, 2013
Back in the late 70's, Kathie and I were both divorced Moms working at the Springfield News. We both moved on in different directions but I fondly remember those times. While we hadn't been in touch in recent years, I was very saddened to learn of Kathie's death. It was much too soon. My sympathies to her daughters.
Susan Shepard
April 1, 2013
I am on the boards of Friends of Clark County and Friends of the East Fork. Both organizations work to preserve the environment and quality of life, and in particular, fish habitat on the East Fork Lewis River. We are ever grateful for Kathie's fearless, investigative reporting. The entire NW benefitted from her exposure of destructive environmental decisions. Her reporting was detailed and impeccable. We will miss her greatly. We want the family to know how much we appreciated her. Val Alexander
March 29, 2013
Kathie Durban's series on forestry in the Oregon coast range and cascades forced the timber industry to agree to major reforms of the Forest Practices Act in the 1991 Legislature. Many compromises were necessary while Senate President John Kitzhaber and his staff kept a close eye on negotiations to protect stream buffer areas, limit the size of massive clear cuts and encourage long-term harvest rotation. More protection is necessary now with population growth and climate change threatening habitat and native species. Kathie's irrepressible fact-finding and forceful eloquence are a legacy for all to honor in our work and civic affairs.
Dick Springer
March 25, 2013
Kathie was my husband's cousin and now they are reunited in Heaven along with their other family members. Kathie was very good about seeing Kim during his battle with cancer and remembering their childhood together. Kathie will be missed by many, especially her family.
Wanda Ventgen
March 23, 2013
Gone too soon this friend of nature and intelligent dialogues. Sincerely, Chris Poole-Jones
Chris Poole-Jones
March 23, 2013
While our paths only briefly, and I cannot claim to really have personally known Kathie, I always thought her a friend. An ally.

While she and Paul Koberstein were at The Oregonian they were the "embedded reporters" in the Nothwest's Ancient Forest wars. They were instrumental in informing the public about what was really happening out on the ground. Her reporting played a big role in changing national policy. Some may recall the special "Forest Issue" The Oregonian put out, largely written by Kathie and Paul. Pretty amazing to look back on it now.

Many thousands of acres of wildlands are still in a natural condition today due to Kathie's efforts...a fine legacy. Thank you Kathie, for all you did, and all you helped to conserve!
Gary Kish
March 22, 2013
The family would like everyone to know that instead of flowers, although flowers are welcome, donations to The Trust for Public Lands ( Oregon and Washington) and Environment Oregon in Kathie's name would be welcome.
Audrey Durbin
March 22, 2013
I will always have the utmost respect for Kathie Durbin. I admired her journalism, vision and integrity. We lost her too soon. I will plant an Oregon Grape in her honor and remember her through her books. I'm so sorry she's gone. She was a great example to us. At least we have her excellent books as a reminder of her spirit.
March 21, 2013
Along with Paul Koberstiein, Kathie changed the course of the forest wars through her great fact-based series on NW forests in the Oregonian. She became a role model and a hero to me. What a thrill to camp with her on the Homer Spit in Alaska! The trees will miss you, Kathie! So will I!
Hope folks will plant some native plants in your honor. . .
Mary Vogel
March 21, 2013
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Durbin when she came out to see my files when she did the story on Salmon Creek area. She had been to the County's files and found a lot of information was missing but kept coming up with my name. As I opened the door she stated she would only have a 10 minutes to spend with me, but when she left some 45 minutes later and a whole stack of doc. she stated she was glad she came out. She wrote environmental articles that were priceless and changed communities by bring up information that was important. She will be missed.
Lynn Carman
March 20, 2013
My earliest memory of Kathleen was that she was determined to go to university to become a writer. I remember when she came home one day and showed us her paper, her first 'A' and how she looked at it for so long, beaming with pride!!She was a wonderful mother to her children whom they often played with us kids when we were growing up in the same neighborhood by River Road Park in Eugene. She will be greatly missed and look forward to reading her last published work. Love, Sharon and family.
Sharon (Getty) Dorsett
March 20, 2013
Kathie's environmental writing had significant impact. Her stories were insightful and gutsy. When she wrote about our issues here on Sauvie Island, a third of a million people across the state learned what needed protection and her work was much appreciated.
Donna Matrazzo
March 19, 2013
Kathie had tremendous grit and sensitivity. I am sorry that she was not able to live out her post-retirement dreams, though she finished her last book on a hospital bed.
Angela Allen
March 19, 2013
I valued Kathie's friendship and will miss her very much. We worked together on b&w images for her upcoming Columbia Gorge book. For years I've been wowed and grateful for her features in The Oregonian and more recently in The Columbian. What an amazing writer and what a great loss.
Darryl Lloyd
March 19, 2013
Kathie's ability to research and explain the ancient forest debate in the 80s was a huge factor in the transition away from overcutting that came in the 90s. I'm so grateful for her courage, dedication, and friendship.
Julie Norman
March 19, 2013
Kathie's imprint on our state and nation will be felt long after we have joined her in the hereafter. Without her courage and determination, mis-guided natural resource policies would persist undiminished today. She took Mencken's adage seriously and we're all the better off for it.
Jerry Ward
March 19, 2013
My ex and Kathie's ex had been friends for many years. The four of us used to hike, camp, and even share holidays together. I also knew Kathie from the environmental community. We had a lot of fun together, and I'll miss her.
Paula Surmann
March 19, 2013
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