The estate of the late Robert “Jake” Jacob has donated $25,000 to Columbia Riverkeeper, a nonprofit that protects and restores the Columbia River.
Jacob, the former owner of the Cannery Pier Hotel, was a longtime supporter of the environmental group.
Brett VandenHeuvel, the nonprofit’s executive director, said they didn’t expect the donation, but feel honored.
“He was a big dreamer and I think that fits in line with our work really well. In order to protect and restore something as big and important as the Columbia — you have to associate with big ideas and dreamers, and Jake was one of those,” VandenHeuvel said.
Columbia Riverkeeper partnered with activists during the decadelong battle against proposed liquefied natural gas projects at Bradwood Landing east of Astoria and on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton.
They were instrumental in the efforts because they provided technical, organizational and legal expertise to the activists.
“We became friends over the years,” VandenHeuvel said. “In the early days of the LNG fight, most businesses were hesitant to get involved, and Jake jumped in and wasn’t afraid to say it was a bad idea for the community. It was a bad idea for his business to have LNG tankers sailing through the waterfront in Astoria.”
Jacob testified against liquefied natural gas bills in Salem and supported the formation of the Columbia River Business Alliance, a local coalition that challenged the notion LNG projects would be good for business.
“We have a long history of working here in Astoria and in the estuary,” VandenHeuvel said. “We think this is a critical part of the Columbia, so we are committed to continuing to try to work in the estuary, particularly on salmon issues.”
Terry Rosenau, a representative of Jacob’s estate, announced the donation Thursday night at an environmental film screening in Astoria hosted by Columbia Riverkeeper.
Alongside Jacob’s brother, Greg Jacob, Rosenau told the audience the donation is supporting an important organization.
“And I don’t think we could be happier about that,” he said.
The hotel and Jacob’s estate worked with federal and state authorities to help pay for the cleanup of an oil spill near the hotel last year.
Part of a crumbling dock next to the hotel collapsed, puncturing an abandoned cannery oil tank beneath it. Rosenau said Jacob and hotel management didn’t know there was an oil tank beneath the foundation.