4 Oregon nonprofits working on environmental issues

For local organizations working on our planetary health, the effects of climate change, and our local environment, check out the four nonprofits below.

Adopt a block

Portlander Frank Moscow was exasperated by the amount of trash he found by the roadsides on his daily walks near the city center. So he started picking up trash in his own neighborhood, one block at a time. Then he imagined a whole army of people doing the same thing. Soon he launched Adopt a Block to encourage others to choose a square block to maintain and provide them with the tools to do so.

“Adopt One Block is reinventing the way we make our city cleaner and happier,” Moscow says. “We make it possible for anyone to take care of the OR they love the most, when and how they want it, with cleaning supplies that we deliver to them for free. ”

The group wants to make cleaning up your neighborhood as easy as possible. First, it eschews the traditional “meet and greet” volunteer model, so there are no competing schedules to coordinate. Transportation is easy when the job site is right outside your door. And if you need any tools, once you register with adoptoneblock.org, you can order pliers, gloves, and buckets for free.

“I think the whole city is going to benefit from more engaged and involved community members, each doing their part to make Portland a better place,” Moscow said.

In just over a year, Adopt a Block has grown to include 4,800 boulder ambassadors and volunteers who have pledged to keep more than 5,600 square blocks in Oregon and Washington clean. —Cami Hughes

Wild salmon center

Salmon is more than just a meal – as one of the best indicators of a healthy ecosystem, its survival is essential to the health of our forests, food supply, drinking water and natural resources. coastal communities. Wild Salmon Center, a Portland-based international nonprofit, works across the United States and as far as Russia to protect this key species, an effort that spans 71 rivers and more than 3 million acres. Their objective? Focus on rivers with strong salmon populations or strongholds, and keep them that way.

Founded in 1992 by fly fishermen Pete Soverel and Tom Pero, the Wild Salmon Center initially focused on research expeditions, mapping not only salmon, but the many species that depend on fish for their survival ( 137, to be exact, including orcas, bears, and seals). They found that rivers with severely damaged salmon populations were considerably more unhealthy than those with high salmon populations. After these first years of exploration, the group hired its first executive director, Guido Rahr, and proposed to create a network of protected rivers around the Pacific.

“It is much easier to anticipate the threats and damage that can arise in salmon rivers. ... and try to put protections in place and build on local support for salmon, ”says communications director Oakley Brooks. In addition to establishing protection status and conservation plans for rivers, the center supports other local animal or environmental protection organizations with funding, policy and research support that can help. to strengthen the capacity of these groups to make their own difference. —CH

Volunteers in cascade

In late summer and early fall 2020, millions of acres of Pacific Northwest land burned in fires that blanketed Portland and beyond with smoke and ash. For many, it was a sign of irreparable damage to our planet. But in the weeks and months since this historic wildfire season, others undeterredly set out to restore and fix what they could. Among those that are intensifying: the McKenzie Regenerative Travel Project.

A collaboration with Springfield-based non-profit Cascade Volunteers, First nature tours, and others, the travel plan trips this past spring and summer (more are slated for 2022) brought over 100 volunteers to the McKenzie River Corridor just east of Eugene to work on forest restoration, trail maintenance, tree planting, and more. In addition to being part of the hands-on catering job, the travel packages, funded by Travel Oregon’s Destination Ready program, allowed attendees to experience some of the area accommodations, local restaurants, and hikes nearby. and bicycle tours, all with the aim of bringing back tourism money to severely devastated areas.

“[We wanted to] bringing in visitors who would have a positive impact, making the community more comfortable with visitors coming back after the pandemic, and then also having those visitors improve public lands and then spend money staying in local accommodation and eating locally as well, ”says Alyssa Archer, executive director of Cascade Volunteers. She says this convergence of tourism and stewardship is about building a lasting relationship with the areas where we recreate.

“You look at the world around you in more detail and you really start to notice these human impacts. And that’s something that really sticks to your mind, ”says Archer. —Gabriel Granillo

Thug climate

Because 2013, this Rogue Valley-based non-profit organization’s mission is to empower communities in southern Oregon most affected by climate change through education, leadership development and legislative action. . But the 2020 fires, particularly the Obenchain and Almeda fires, which burned down some 2,500 homes and hundreds of businesses (including the Rogue Valley office at Rogue Climate), brought a new sense of urgency to their mission.

To be fair, that emergency has always been there, says Maya Jarrad, volunteer and Rogue Climate fire relief coordinator, but when the organization saw the direct impacts of climate change on low-income residents and communities of color of the region, she intervened. “It is not a generalization to say that climate change is impacting communities of color, communities of the elderly or people with disabilities first and foremost,” says Jarrad.

Along with other local groups, Rogue Climate has helped organize supply and collection points in the area, the Rogue Valley Relief Fund, which raised some $ 1 million for families and community members displaced by the fires, and helped run the Phoenix Fire Relief Center. The center, which closed in August after the need for immediate fire resources abated, operated for a full year and provided food and supplies to between 450 and 800 households per week.

Rogue Climate has also pledged to take legislative action to address the long-term effects of climate change, advocating in 2021 for the Healthy Homes Repair Fund and the 100% Clean Energy for All bill.

“Rogue Climate really focuses on the ability of people to make changes in their own lives,” Jarrad explains. “It seems natural for us to work on immediate issues that we believe need to be addressed, while also advocating for changes that will make it easier for us in the future. ” —GG