Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Hundreds of Lake Oswegans show their support for Zambian villagers at Walk4Water9

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Minnie Malm of Tualatin dumps her bucket of water into the Willamette River after hauling it from Oswego Lake during Walk4Water9. The event is designed to simulate the experience of Zambian villagers who often walk several miles each day just to find fresh water. REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge High freshmen Noa Bothe (left) and Joon Lee fill buckets for walkers who had trekked to Millennium Plaza from Foothills Park. For Zambian villagers, walking for miles just to retrieve clean drinking water is a terrible hardship. But for the hundreds of people who carried buckets of water through Lake Oswego on Saturday to simulate the villagers’ experience, it was an outpouring of goodwill.

“This is an expression of your care for them,” said Gary Mittelstaedt, the co-director of WaterAfrica, who greeted the crowd at the beginning of the Walk4Water event. “WaterAfrica has been going for nine years, and it is helping 30,000 people.”

Final numbers have yet to be tabulated for this year’s two-mile walk from Foothills Park to Millennium Plaza and back. But WaterAfrica had hoped to add $70,000 to the $1.4 million it has already raised to help World Vision provide fresh water and implement sustainable sanitation and hygiene programs in Zambia.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Mayor Kent Studebaker (left) and WaterAfrica Co-director Gary Mittelstaedt (right) present the City's official WaterAfrica Day proclamation to Chikondi Phiri, the deputy national director of World Vision in Zambia. That was good news to Chikondi Phiri, the deputy national director of World Vision in Zambia, who traveled to Lake Oswego for the event and told the walkers about all the ways that fresh water makes a difference in his homeland.

“It means better health, education, economic empowerment and child protection,” Phiri said. “Your support has a remarkable impact on the lives of Zambia’s people.”

Lake Oswego resident LuAnn Yocky also represented World Vision at the event. She’s made 45 trips to Africa and said she is thrilled about the progress being made in Zambia and other African nations.

“There is such a ripple effect when people get fresh water,” Yocky said. “I can hardly wait to see it again. This region has gone from utter poverty to having a future.”

Saturday’s event was not without some controversy. In mid-March, Councilor Jon Gustafson asked the City to withhold its support for WaterAfrica because the funds it raises flow to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that bans employees who are in same-sex marriages.

The City responded by removing information about the Walk4Water event from its official publications. But an official City proclamation declaring April 23 as WaterAfrica Day remained in place, and Mayor Kent Studebaker was on hand Saturday to present a copy to Phiri.

Whether the controversy impacted fundraising efforts was still unclear this week. But Yocky offered a simple statement.

“World Vision helps anybody and everybody,” she said.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Walk4Water9 participants, led by a group of local Girl Scouts, head out from Foothills Park for a two-mile hike that took them to Millennium Plaza and back.