Making Democracy Work

First Thursday Luncheons

See who is speaking this month!

About First Thursdays

Once a month (except July and August) The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County hosts a luncheon. League Board members discuss current issues and invite local experts to be our host speakers.

Everyone is invited to this luncheon. Please arrive by 11:00 am if ordering from the menu. The speaker will begin at noon. There will be time for questions and answers at the finish of the presentation. No RSVP needed.

Black Bear Diner
1465 NE 3rd St.
Bend, OR 97701
The corner of Third and Olney

See the Calendar Page for list of all events


Speaker will be Amy Warren, Executive Director, Kôr Community Land Trust.

Kôr provides environmentally sustainable and permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute to the fabric of the Bend area economy and community.

Kôr operates under the Community Land Trust (CLT) model. A CLT develops and stewards affordable housing, community gardens, civic buildings, commercial spaces and other community assets on behalf of a community.


Speaker will be Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director, Bethlehem Inn.
Gwenn will talk about the new buildings and activities. As a community-based organization, Bethlehem Inn helps transform lives with shelter, help, and hope. Homelessness is a situation in which anyone may find him- or herself. It does not define someone nor speak to who they are.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Gwenn has resided on the West Coast from Washington to California except briefly when she relocated to live in Brazil with her husband Carlos (from Brazil) from 2003 to 2006.

Before joining the nonprofit world as the Bethlehem Inn's Executive Director in May 2010, Gwenn Wysling served the organization as a member of board of directors for a year and a half. While new to the nonprofit sector, she had worked in the service industry and has always been active in community service governed by her passion of helping others. In 2016 she was recognized by the Bend Chamber as Citizen of the year.

Gwenn Wysling's career spans more than 20 years in the hospitality industry. During this time 15 years were as Human Resources Director including her most recent position at Sunriver Resort from 2007 to 2008. She earned a BA in Business Administration from Washington State University.

Since moving to Bend in 2007, she volunteers and serves on various boards and committees for local organizations.

Latino Community Association-who we are

Speaker will be Oscar Jesus Gonzalez, Empowerment Programs Manager // Director de Programas

Hear about LCA, it's programs such as obtaining citizenship and voting, and how the national immigration situation is reflected locally. The LCA also sponsors the Festival of Cultures.

Oscar was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He moved with his parents at a young age to Los Angeles, California, where he grew up and attended Pius X High School and later earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Chicano Studies (1984) from Loyola Marymount University. Relocating to Houston, TX in 1988, Oscar began his career in social work as an Investigative Case Worker (Harris County Children's Protective Services) and then as an Emergency Room Social Worker at Ben Taub General Hospital, (1990-1995). Oscar attended the Graduate School of Social Work at University of Houston focusing on Mental Health and School Social Work (1994-96), which facilitated his transition from (school-based) Clinical Social Work at Jane Long Middle School (Memorial Healthcare Systems) to becoming the founding Director of Student & Family Support Services (1998-2005) for the nationally renowned and critically acclaimed KIPP Academy. Oscar later served "KIPP Houston'" (1st Charter School District in nation) as Parent and Community Advocate, 2007-2009. From 2005-07, Oscar served as Guidance Counselor, Teacher, and Coach at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (Houston). In 2009, Oscar joined the world of Higher Education as an Academic Advisor, initially at Houston and Lone Star Community College Systems (TX), and most recently at Chemeketa and Lane Community Colleges, in OR (2011-2014). Prior to relocating to Central OR and becoming the Empowerment Programs Manager of the Latino Community Association (L.C.A.) in Dec. 2015, Oscar was the Title X: McKinney-Vento Homeless Youth & Families and Youth Gang Prevention Program Coordinator(s) for the Lane Education Service District (Lane ESD). Oscar is a resident of City of Redmond and remains extremely proud of his three grown daughters- Monica Inez, Jessica Nicole, and Sonia Marie who currently work professionally and/or reside in New York City, Houston, and Chicago.

More information at Latino Community Association

Regenerative Agriculture; Climate, Carbon Sequestration, Health

Speaker will be Klaus Mager, Proprietor, Food with Thought

Klaus has 40+ years of international work experience in F&B (Food & Beverage), including 21 years for the Walt Disney Co. developing a wide range of concepts for F&B operations in the Theme Parks and Hotels. He was leading teams to create the food systems for Disney's California Adventure and for Hong Kong Disneyland, from ideation, conceptualizing, supply chain development, to operational startup. Klaus also worked for 4 1/2 years for Metro C&C, a self-service wholesaler based in Germany with at the time 700+ locations in 25 countries. In his role as corporate head of target group marketing, his teams were responsible to set strategy for Hospitality sales for 6,000+ sales reps. He is retired and has lived in Bend for a little over 2 years.

More info at: Food with Thought

Shelter 4 Youth - a safe warm place for lgbtq kids

Speakers will be James Cook, Community Advocate from Redmond
More information about the speaker: coming soon

Youth Project info: Shelter4Youth