We share our deepest condolences on the passing of Jake Jacob—a good friend, visionary, and fierce advocate for the Columbia.
In Memory: Robert “Jake” Jacob
Astoria and the Columbia River lost one of its most colorful, innovative, homegrown business leaders this month when Robert “Jake” Jacob passed away at the age of 69. I met Jake in 2005 when the Columbia River Estuary was being targeted for massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and pipelines, one of which would have loomed across Youngs Bay from Jake’s Cannery Pier Hotel. Jake became one of the most unusual and incisive voices advocating for a better, cleaner future for Astoria. Jake exemplified the fierce—and often underestimated—love that people have for Astoria and the Columbia River.
Jake often told a story about overhearing LNG executives at his Cannery Pier Hotel talk about their expectation that they could easily persuade local “bumpkins” (their word) to accept an LNG mega-proposal to industrialize a salmon nursery. Jake’s response: he told them that they were wrong, ignorant of Astoria’s talent and savvy, and that their business was no longer welcome at the Cannery Pier. Jake was similarly blunt with the Oregon legislature when he traveled to Salem to testify against LNG fast-track bills. Jake didn't stop there: he supported the formation of the Columbia River Business Alliance, a local business coalition that explained how the Lower Columbia River would be better off economically without LNG terminals. Most importantly, he stood up for his hometown and the community he cared about.
I didn’t know Jake as well as many others, but I will always be grateful that he was willing to speak up so effectively for the Columbia River and the locally grown businesses that make Astoria special. I learned from both Jake and his brother, Greg, who was also deeply involved in the fight against LNG, that Astoria is a place worth protecting and nurturing. Our team at Columbia Riverkeeper extends our condolences to Jake’s family, friends, and colleagues. He’ll be deeply missed.