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Columbia Slough Watershed Council


Equity & Inclusion

Diversity Statement

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council recognizes that human diversity is a fundamental strength of our community, that racism and oppression have caused long-lasting and grievous harm, and that this is fundamentally relevant to our work. We are committed to engage participants, volunteers, staff, partners, and council members who live, work, and play in the watershed. 

Why it matters

“The world around us is changing at all levels— our global atmosphere, the demographics of our country, the demands and uses of freshwater, and the nature of nonprofit organizations are all shifting beneath our feet. To meet the ever-growing needs of our planet, our watersheds’ citizens, the political and regulatory agencies we work with and our organizations’ members, we—watershed protection organizations—must embrace these changes by proactively planning to organize and support a more inclusive and diverse community of conservationists.” Cindy Lowry and Adam Johnston, Alabama Rivers Alliance.

The above quote comes from the most recent issue of River Voices published by the Portland-based River Network. The issue highlights a number of equity initiatives contributing to the national conversation around more inclusive programming in environmental non-profit work.  Watershed Councils around the Portland area and around the nation are realizing the great need to create space for all voices in watershed advocacy and restoration work, particularly those of people of color. As we become more familiar with the state of diversity in environmental organizations, it becomes clear that one of our most pressing needs in future watershed management is the meaningful engagement of watershed residents whose voices are historically and presently underrepresented.

What are we doing about it?

In the summer of 2015, we wrote about our intention to delve into an organization-wide assessment focused on racial equity and inclusive community engagement. Over an 8-month period, Council staff members actively participated in the development of a Racial Equity Action plan based on the findings of our assessment.  Over the last year, our organization has been making modifications to individual program delivery by prioritizing the needs of our watershed community. You can find the most updated list of goals and actions that we are currently implementing below.

Accountability: walking the talk

We view diversity as a strength and seek to create social changes by giving leadership to the community itself. The Council is currently seeking leadership in the implementation of the Council’s Racial Equity Action Plan. The Community Engagement & Inclusion Committee provides support and guidance to the Council with the development and implementation of proactive equity and inclusion initiatives in decisions, including policies, programs, and budgets. 

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity to serve on this committee, please contact Karen Carrillo at or call 503-281-1132.


Resource Description
Equity Action Plan, 2016-17 Update
Current development and implementation of proactive equity and inclusion initiatives