March Member Spotlight: Kingsly McConnell

Kingsly joined Columbia Riverkeeper’s legal team in January as a student extern from the University of Washington School of Law. In his short time with us, his tireless research and excellent writing skills have been a tremendous asset to our legal program. 

March Member Spotlight: Kingsly McConnell

Kingsly and Bugsy
Kingsly and his pug, Bugsy. Bugsy makes an appearance on page 15 of our latest newsletter.

Kingsly joins us from the University of Washington School of Law, where he is in his final year of a joint J.D. and LL.M program in Sustainable International Development. After his upcoming June graduation and a summer of studying for the Washington State Bar, he hopes to pursue a career in international environmental law. 

Originally from Florida, Kingsly was drawn to the University of Washington because of Seattle’s more liberal-minded culture. Now that he’s officially traded in his sunglasses for rain boots, he has fallen in love with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, especially the mountains — “there are no mountains in Florida,” he says with a laugh. He loves being just a short drive away from both the mountains and the rocky beaches of the coast and spends much of his free time taking his pug, Bugsy, for nature walks. Bugsy, a welcome visitor in Columbia Riverkeeper’s Portland office, is a bit limited by his little pug legs but that hasn’t stopped their adventuring. 

Kingsly came to Columbia Riverkeeper (Riverkeeper) having previously completed legal internships at other nonprofit organizations including Earthjustice and Crag Law Center. However, he feels his experience with Riverkeeper has really stood apart because of our unique mix of legal advocacy and community organizing. One of his favorite projects has been drafting public comments on a stormwater permit on behalf of Riverkeeper and a number of our partner organizations. With that project in particular, he notes that he feels “like I am doing something important and worthwhile.” 

Of course, we feel like all of the work he has completed during his time with Riverkeeper has been important and worthwhile! In addition to his many hours of work researching various fossil fuel and Clean Water Act issues and drafting legal documents and public comments, he testified before Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission and helped dig through piles of dusty paper files produced by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality in response to a records request. 

In his ten weeks with Riverkeeper, Kingsly has been a valuable member of Riverkeeper’s legal team. When asked to reflect on his time with us, he expressed that he is “really grateful to be here and so happy to have had the experience to work with all of the amazing people at Columbia Riverkeeper.” Likewise, we are incredibly grateful for all of his hard work and wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his legal career!


Columbia Riverkeeper's members are community leaders, volunteers, and donors who share a vision for clean water.