We believe that Salem should have vibrant and beautiful public landscapes that inspire and nurture the regional community. To help achieve that vision, we created the Mission Street Parks Conservancy, which exists to help the City of Salem preserve, maintain, enhance, and interpret the iconic public landscapes on and near Mission Street for current and future generations.



To protect the parks’ integrity by preserving the parks’ boundaries, historic context, and plant communities.


To care for the parks’ plant material to the highest aesthetic and health standards.


To collect, preserve and make accessible records relating to the history of the parks and their plant material, to educate the public, and to facilitate research and appreciation.


To assist in the development and implementation of thoughtful, sensitive improvements to the parks’ design, hardscape, and plant material that increase their access, attractiveness, and research value.

Today, we work primarily in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park. In the future, we hope to make a contribution to parks and public landscapes throughout Salem.

Mission Street Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose work is made possible primarily by generous donations of money, technical expertise, and volunteer time from Salem residents and business, as well as from government and foundation grants.

The Conservancy is negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement with City of Salem Public Works Department for the care of plant material in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park.

Our Leadership

Gretchen Carnaby

Gretchen is a garden designer who has contributed over 30 years of leadership and expertise to Salem’s public landscapes, including Deepwood and Bush’s Pasture Park. She is co-founder of Friends of Bush Gardens, the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, and the Salem Hardy Plant Society.  In addition to bringing plants and people together, Gretchen is passionate about protecting wild, natural places.

Christine Chute

Christine was employed from 1983 to 2010 by the State of Oregon in several positions, but mainly as an Assistant Attorney General for the Oregon Department of Justice.  When Christine was retired, I was the section manager for a group of 18-20 attorneys who advised state agencies (Department of Transportation, Corrections, Secretary of State, Higher Education, etc.) on legal policy, legislation, liability matters, etc.


Christine was also a frequent writer, speaker, and trainer of other attorneys and state employees, specializing in administrative procedures and rulemaking.

When Christine retired in 2010, Governor Kitzhaber appointed her as the public member of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, which regulates pharmacists, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers in Oregon, and adopts the schedules of controlled substances for state law purposes.

Christine has been active on the boards of nonprofits since he college days. Her favorite thing about nonprofit boards is that a small and dedicated group of people can make small but significant differences in the lives of others (with relatively little effort).

Maureen McGee

Kathy Savicki

Kathy is a clinical social worker, newly retired after a long career developing and managing mental health programs. She was a founding member of Salem Hardy Plant Society and volunteered with Friends of Bush Garden. A native Oregonian, Kathy spends as much time as possible tending her large country garden in the Eola Hills.

Michael Slater

Michael Slater is an organizer, advocate, and nonprofit executive. He has over twenty years’ experience in nonprofit organizations that have worked to address problems of inequality. Outside of work, Michael is passionate about public landscapes, environmental policy, and urban design.

Donors, Members & Volunteers