Janna Orkney Biography


me.250.7.15The story of Janna Orkney’s early years can be found in her book, Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s.  There, she tells of her growing up in mid-20th century Portland while her father was building and transforming his small war surplus store on the bank of the Columbia Slough into a multi-million dollar retail chain.

Janna was born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1944 while her father was serving as a bomber pilot in New Guinea in World War II.   When he returned to civilian life in 1946, he began selling army surplus on Portland street corners, and soon after, was able to start a small war surplus store in Salem, Oregon.  That was the beginning of the involvement of Janna’s family with retail in the Pacific Northwest that lasted for over sixty years.

As a teenager, Janna found that she enjoyed writing.   She began keeping a journal and went on to study at Stanford and at Portland State University.  She eventually started Nizam Media, a public relations and advertising business in Lake Oswego in the late 1980s, where she promoted business clients and the Lake Oswego Festival of Arts.

After a move to Southern California in 1996 to be near her three grown children and their families, Janna joined a successful grass roots campaign to save open space for a state park.  Her conservation efforts led to her election to the governing board of her local water and wastewater treatment agency, where she still serves. 

In 2008, Janna wrote a quite abbreviated story of her dad starting G.I. Joe’s and of her childhood by the Columbia River and put it online as a blog.  In 2012, she decided to expand the material into the book, Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s.

Janna loves being outdoors, especially at the beach, and she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.


Contact:    GrowingUpWithGIJoes22@gmail.com

More info:  Facebook page:  Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s

Twitter:  @JannaAuthor