Protecting Oregon's Waterways and Mobilizing Oregonians

For nearly 30 years, Pacific Rivers has been a key player in protecting and maintaining healthy rivers and watersheds in Oregon.

Their mission: to use advocacy and policy work to assure river health, biodiversity and clean water for present and future generations. Since helping to pass the nation’s first and largest federal river protection act in 1988, Pacific Rivers has been dedicated to enshrining protections for rivers and watershed ecosystems in the Northwest.

Part of their focus is to ensure that Oregonians have access to drinking water free from chemicals and pollutants.

Pacific Rivers has prioritized educational initiatives to bring to light dangerous and harmful environmental practices affecting the watersheds in remote and rural communities, and they work to create space to educate the public about the environmental impact risky business can have on rural communities. A three-year, $150,000 grant for organizational development and communications in 2015 supported their efforts to increase the visibility of their work throughout 19 counties across Oregon.

At a recent standing-room only screening of Behind the Emerald Curtain, supporters in Portland learned about an endangered community 90 miles to the west. The film focused on the coastal town of Rockaway Beach, in Tillamook County, where logging and chemical spraying are having a negative impact on the health of neighboring residents and waterways. The event helped teach and mobilize Oregonians about harsh environmental practices affecting rural areas outside cities and what they can do to help. Pacific Rivers will be screening the film throughout western Oregon until February to engage and inspire community members to help reform the Oregon Forest Practices Act and then releasing it online for a national audience. A schedule of screenings can be found on Pacific Rivers' home page.

Following the film, Pacific Rivers Executive Director John Kober facilitated a group discussion led by local community members and field experts. During the Q&A, he exhorted Portlanders to do their part in defending the future stability of Oregon’s watersheds and the health of rural communities dependent upon them.

Along with the development grant, Pacific Rivers received a technical assistance grant of $15,000 to partner with the Center for Diversity and Environment to guide their ongoing diversity expansion efforts. Pacific Rivers, which was already committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, recognizes that environmental progress depends on a diversity of voices and residents, said Kober.

“Pacific Rivers plays a valuable role in protecting clean water and watersheds across Oregon. We also really appreciate their genuine commitment to equity,” said Jill Fuglister, director of Meyer’s Healthy Environment portfolio. “With the combination of support for branding, communications and diversity training, we’re grateful to help Pacific Rivers make its work more relevant to all of the state’s diverse communities.”