Director’s Message: For the River

From the first time I learned about Columbia Riverkeeper in my early days of law school, I was drawn to the organization’s passion for justice.

By Lauren Goldberg, Executive Director
Originally published in Columbia Riverkeeper “Currents” Issue 3, 2023.

columbiariverkeeper · Currents2023 Issue3 P2 – 3 Director’s Letter

What draws you to Columbia Riverkeeper?  

Columbia Riverkeeper Executive Director Lauren Goldberg standing at the Columbia River.
Lauren Goldberg. (Photo by Leah Nash.)

For me, the list runs long. (I began volunteering at Columbia Riverkeeper as a legal intern 18 years ago!) But it starts with my  kids and my commitment to fight for justice.

My kids love playing in the Columbia River. Swimming. Fishing. Burying each other in the sand. After my older daughter, Talia, caught her first spring Chinook, she could hardly spit out the story to her grandparents; she was literally shaking with excitement. That’s why we do this work. For all the kids who just want to go fishing and dunk each other in the Columbia. For a river that nourishes and unites us.

From the first time I learned about Columbia Riverkeeper in my early days of law school, I was drawn to the organization’s passion for justice. This includes a deep, abiding belief that working in solidarity with Tribes and Indigenous people matters if you call the Columbia home. Columbia Riverkeeper’s commitment to engaging with Tribes—both stepping up and stepping back—is inextricably tied to our success protecting clean water, fighting for strong salmon runs, and stopping dirty fossil fuels.

What keeps you partnering with Columbia Riverkeeper? For many, it’s impact. The organization punches above its weight, year after year, delivering big wins for clean water, salmon, and our climate. In 2023, Columbia Riverkeeper celebrated another year of victories and important progress in underdog fights. You make these victories possible.

  • You stopped years of illegal toxic pollution at one of the largest ports in the Pacific Northwest, the Port of Vancouver USA, by enforcing the law and holding the port accountable.
  • You worked with Tribes to secure a fish passage agreement at dams on an important tributary of the Columbia, the Lewis River.
  • You stalled a proposal for a massive non-conventional diesel refinery in the heart of the Columbia River Estuary. No, the developers haven’t thrown in the towel, but we know from experience that big victories follow years of smaller victories.

As a Columbia Riverkeeper supporter, those are just three of your many accomplishments in 2023. Turn the page for highlights from our five program areas that showcase a year of big wins for clean water and our climate. Let’s  keep fighting for what we love. Thank you for partnering with our talented  staff and knowledgeable board to make a difference for the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest.

Lauren Goldberg, Executive Director