About

Preserving the Past

to Serve the Future

Friends of Chinook School is a nonprofit organization based in Chinook, WA. We’re committed to ensuring this beautiful historic school remains a vibrant community space for generations to come.

Land Acknowledgement

We honor the Chinook Indian Nation as the original people and custodians of the land where the Chinook School stands. Despite this being their ancestral homeland, the Chinook Indian Nation remains federally unrecognized. We encourage you to learn more about the Chinook Indian Nation and support their efforts to restore federal recognition.

History

Life Without the School

The two buildings that make up the Chinook School were built in 1921 and 1924. Chinook residents and nearby communities historically used the school as a hub for education, local meetings, events, and gatherings.

In the 1970s, the closure of the school left a void in the community and the buildings fell into disrepair.

Without community space, children, elders, and the disabled had to travel long distances to seek support from community agencies. Surrounding areas offered limited space for sports activities, with Chinook having none at all. This severely restricted organized sports, especially for girls and young children.

When the devastating storm of 2007 hit, Chinook did not have a central location for emergency management. This made it more apparent than ever that Chinook needed a community space, not only for gathering but also for safety.

The Chinook School before restoration efforts.
The Chinook School before restoration efforts.
Two men work on the exterior of the Chinook School.

Restoration

Bringing the Chinook School Back to Life

Friends of Chinook School was established in 2000 to save these historic structures for our community and future generations. At this time, both the school and gymnasium had deteriorated to the point that they could not be used. Only the ball fields could safely remain open.

Restoring the school took many years of fundraising and hard work. It is thanks to the efforts of our closeknit community that both buildings are now rehabilited and open for events, meetings, and community services.

Mission

Friends of Chinook School is dedicated to sustainable stewardship and operation of the Historic Chinook School as a unique venue for the cultural, educational, social, economic and recreational enrichment of our communities and future generations.

Vision

An improved future for the community through the use of an historic and beautiful space alive with activities.

Values

Stewardship

Caring for historically and architecturally significant buildings.

Inclusiveness

Everyone is welcome and valued.

Community

We embrace a culturally diverse population.

Collaboration

Coming together for an improved future for all.

Transparency

Building trust through open communication.

2023

Board Officers

Karen (Miethe) Leu, President of the Board:

Prior to her election to Board President in July of 2021, Karen chaired the FOCS Oktoberfest. Raised in Chinook, Karen holds the community well-being close to her heart. She is a retired project manager and telecommunications engineer for Group Health in Seattle. Karen now lives in Seaview.

Vera Karnofski, Vice President and Member Chair:

Affectionately dubbed the “energizer bunny” by her fellow board members, she enthusiastically and willingly takes on any job that’s needed. She is full of great ideas and takes initiative and gets things done. Vera is an owner of an organic farm that provides produce for local restaurants and families.

Anna Lee Larimore, Secretary, Interim Treasurer, and Event Manager:

A tremendous asset to the board, we are grateful for Anna’s skills and dedication during her seven years of service. She has always stepped up to help where needed, including becoming the interim Treasurer, and agreeing to serve until a replacement is found. This year FOCS hired a new bookkeeper, Jalene Marler, and Anna Lee worked closely with her to assure a smooth transition of our finances.

Board Directors

Eileen Wirkkala (Past President of the Board):

She continues as a member of the board to provide historical references as needed for discussions and decision making. Her knowledge is the result of working for 20 years with the WA State Historical Society and Capital Heritage Projects during the rehabilitation of the Historic Chinook School.

Katherine Mack:

A joyful and energetic addition to our board, Katherine is a real estate broker and Manager of Lighthouse Reality. As a resident of Chinook, a longtime member of FOCS, and with her professional background in the community, she brings her unique knowledge and understanding of real estate, property, and contracts.

Trina Goulter:

Trina has volunteered for years at FOCS events and has been an active and willing participant at board meetings. As a business owner of Diamond Espresso, she brings knowledge about running a business and interacting with the public. She is longtime resident of the peninsula and an active member of the community, including sports boosters and school programs.