Rural & Equitable Partnerships

Bridging diverse perspectives from across the state

OEC Staff Stacey Malstrom & Karen Lewotsky visit a watershed in the Willamette Valley.

We bring people together. It’s OEC’s secret to lasting environmental solutions that keep on working for Oregon. It’s so critical, especially as Oregon grows and changes, that we’ve created new positions to increase our effectiveness and ensure that the solutions OEC advocates reflect diverse perspectives. As we face increasingly complex environmental challenges, we’ll need all the expertise and ingenuity that Oregonians have to offer.

OEC now has a dedicated rural partnerships director: Karen Lewotsky. She has her sight set on bridging the gap between state-level environmental decisions and on-the-ground work.

Karen Lewotsky

For example, she sees landowners and local groups who have figured out the best ways to maintain lands along the river’s edge to keep rivers cold, healthy and strong. Karen wants to make sure that these “best ways” are supported by state policy and shared with others across the state.

There are also communities of color and low-wealth communities routinely pushed to the margins of decisions.

Our team at OEC is committed to ensuring that communities regardless of race, ethnicity or income have a meaningful role in decisions that affect them.

OEC’s motto: “It’s your Oregon. Protect what you love,” serves as a reminder that our job is to raise the voices of Oregonians from all walks of life and across the state. No matter how our state grows, how our environmental challenges shift or our strategies evolve, our core strategy will endure: we bring people together for healthy land, water and air.


This story first appeared in our bi-annual printed newsletter, Summer 2017.

You can read the full Summer 2017 newsletter (PDF) or sign up to receive monthly email updates from OEC here.

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