‘Pinchot Pete’ Krabbe, Chairman of Forest Collaborative, Commissioner Candidate Dies in Motorcycle Crash


Chairman of the Pinchot Partners Board of Directors and former candidate for Lewis County commissioner Pete D. Krabbe died in a motorcycle crash on state Route 508 west of Morton Thursday. 

Krabbe, 70, of Randle, was traveling eastbound near mile marker 31 when he failed to navigate a curve, went off the roadway and struck a tree at about 12:47 p.m., according to the Washington State Patrol. 

He died at the scene. 

Earlier in the day, Krabbe appeared before the Lewis County Board of Equalization at the Lewis County Courthouse in Chehalis to discuss his taxes after recent reevaluations. 

Krabbe lived in Lewis County for 34 years.

In 2022, he sought a position as the representative for District 3 of the Board of Lewis County Commissioners but lost in the August primary. He listed himself under the “Stop the Steal” party, later noting in an interview with The Chronicle he’d filed that way “sarcastically.”

“As you can imagine, we are all devastated,” wrote the Pinchot Partners in a newsletter on Friday morning. “His disarming warmth, his humble ways, his voracious curiosity to learn more and be involved, has left a gaping hole in our hearts.”

The Pinchot Partners refers to Krabbe as “Pinchot Pete” on its website. He was a longtime member of the forest collaborative’s board, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Advisory Committee and the Lewis County Water Alliance. He has a sister on the Oregon Coast named Virginia Tardeweather, the group noted.

In his candidate filing information last year, Krabbe wrote that he had an associate’s degree in auto tech and another in diesel and was certified in watershed management and restoration. According to the Pinchot Partners, he was a former mill owner, trucker, road builder and sculptor. He was rarely seen in anything other than a hickory shirt.

“This news hits hard as we have been working behind the scenes on Pinchot Partners’ 20-year anniversary as a forest collaborative,” stated the newsletter. 

The organization is set to hold a 20-year anniversary celebration and open house in Packwood at Longmire Springs Brewing on June 21. The newsletter stated details about any funeral services for Krabbe would appear online at www.pinchotpartners.org. 

“We extend our condolences to his family and loved ones,” the organization’s spokesperson wrote.