Black Lives Matter.
The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the police have reinvigorated national conversations around racial justice, and police violence against Black people. We condemn this racial violence.
Environmental justice is inherently linked with social and racial justice. We cannot have a safe and healthy watershed unless we address the conditions that harm folks who live in our community. We envision a world where a black man can hike through our local parks and birdwatch without fear of surveillance or violence. Where everyone can breathe, and have access to clean air and clean water.
We are an environmental, place-based organization. We work on land that has been inhabited and stewarded by Native people since time immemorial. White colonists forcibly removed indigenous communities from the land and settled here, including the local violent removal of Clackamas, Kalapuya, and Cowlitz people. The State of Oregon was also founded on Black exclusion laws. And Lake Oswego is known for its aggressive Redlining (a state-sanctioned process by which banks and other institutions excluded people of color from owning homes here solely based on their race). While these laws have changed, the impact remains – many home deeds still include racist, exclusionary language, and Black residents make up less than one percent of Lake Oswego’s population.
We are a predominantly white organization. We must acknowledge that we have been inactive on issues of racial and social justice. In staying silent, we have been complicit in upholding systemic racial injustices. We pledge to do better. We pledge to use this moment as an opportunity to self reflect, to learn, to reform, and to act. We know that we will never be perfect. But to be anti-racist is to be constantly doing the difficult work, learning from our mistakes, unlearning, repairing harm, and moving forward.
This moment is about Black lives and Black people. We hear the voices of Black environmentalists and activists calling us in, to do better. We must find the balance between centering the voices of marginalized communities, and identifying how Oswego Lake Watershed Council participates in systems of oppression. We plan to initiate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts within our organization. This will not just be a “check the box” action- it will be a process of reform, restorative justice, and healing.
If you are confused about why we are sharing this message, please reach out to us. We are happy to clarify anything, and to provide additional resources and education. If you have read this far, thank you for taking the time to understand our position.
The Oswego Lake Watershed Council Outreach Team
Oswego Lake Watershed Council Meeting Minutes
TECHNICAL REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Healthy Streams and Watersheds
How to Get There from Here
Strategies and Partners for Success
(Prepared for the Lake Oswego Corporation by Harris Stream Services, LLC. Updated July 2014)
- Stream 101 – An Introduction to Stream Morphology, Functions and Management
(Prepared by Harris Stream Services, LLC. in March 2010)
- Phosphorus Loading: Landscape Interactions and Management Implications in an Urban Watershed (synopsis of the 2016 Master’s Project of Maddee Rubenson)
- Storm-event-transport of urban-use pesticides to streams likely impairs invertebrate assemblages (Carpenter, K.D., Kuivila, K.M., Hladik, M.L. et al. Environ Monit Assess (2016) 188: 345. doi:10.1007/s10661-016-5215-5
- MOVE OVER, DOUGLAS-FIR: OREGON WHITE OAKS NEED ROOM TO GROW (Published by the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Science Findings, issue ninety eight / december 2007)
- Where Rivers Are Born: The Scientific Imperative for Defending Small Streams and Wetlands (Published February, 2007, funded by Sierra Club Foundation, The Turner Foundation and American Rivers.)
- Oregon Water Quality Standards (Published by the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality)
- Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLS) applicable for the Oswego Lake Watershed. A TMDL is the calculated pollutant amount that a waterbody can receive and still meet Oregon water quality standards.