written by Bronte Dod
River guides for more than thirty years, Dave and Kay Loos know Oregon’s rivers. The rivers bend and flow with each trip. The water levels change, revealing or hiding rocks that form rapids. They read the rushing water and find the calm in the process. Their love for the water remains.
The couple started Oregon Whitewater Adventures after realizing they wanted life to revolve around the outdoors and the water. They live their passion, so have never worked a day.
Dave Loos moved to Oregon in 1985 from Nebraska, where he met Kay in high school. Once he started a river guide training program, Kay followed soon thereafter. The move came at a fortuitous time. Action sports, like rafting, took off in the 1980s. Oregon, with its abundance of rivers, became a destination for whitewater rafting.
In 1989, they started a guiding business. “We felt that there was a void of quality outfitters in the [Springfield and Eugene] area,” Loos said.
The Looses take different roles in the company. Kay manages the office while Dave trains the guides. Their three kids work in the business as well, guiding trips and helping organize equipment.
Oregon Whitewater Adventures offers half-day to week-long trips down seven Oregon’s rivers. Repeat clients come back not just for the rapids, but for the camping, hiking and the dutch oven peach cobbler.
One omission in their service, however, is that of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. In 1989, the same year the couple started Oregon Whitewater Adventures, they married on the deck of Paradise Lodge overlooking the Rogue. “People were floating by. It was just a wonderful setting,” Loos said. Since then, they’ve returned to the Rogue each year without clients to celebrate their anniversary.