Director's Message

For the River

For the River: Director's Message

Lauren Goldberg
Lauren Goldberg, Executive Director

You accomplished incredible victories in 2022. From protecting vital salmon habitat in the Columbia River estuary to slashing toxic pollution to stopping climate-wrecking fossil fuel infrastructure, you made an impact. It has been a banner year of victories for our climate and clean water. Pause. Relish. Celebrate. We head into 2023 with momentum, and we set our sights high to tackle the pressing issues facing Columbia River communities.

With your continued partnership, we will:

Restore Clean Water. We will use the law and grassroots organizing to ensure corporations and the federal government clean up toxic waste sites on the Columbia River. We will continue our water quality monitoring program at numerous swim beaches in the Portland area and Columbia River Gorge.

Fight Like Hell for Our Climate. For the fossil fuel industry, the Columbia River is the holy grail: rail, shipping, markets. For us, the Columbia is a home to communities who care about our climate and unite to fight back. In 2023, we will continue to challenge fossil fuel infrastructure while advocating for state and local actions to tackle the climate crisis.

Stop Salmon Extinction. I adopted a manatee in grade school—brilliant fundraising strategy, by the way—and received a postcard in return that noted, “Extinction is forever.” The cherished animals of the Columbia deserve the same dire warning. In 2023, we will continue to fight for salmon, steelhead, Southern Resident orcas, and the cultures that rely on them. We will advocate for dam removal and fish passage on the Columbia’s tributaries.

Inspire Kids to Care for the Columbia. In an increasingly virtual world, it’s our responsibility to inspire the next generation to love the Columbia. In 2022, over 400 students experienced hands-on environmental education. Oh the joy of in-person learning! We hope to double that number in 2023.

Stand in Solidarity with Tribal Nations to Protect Sacred Places. Yes, we will fight like hell for our climate, but we will not do so by perpetuating centuries of human and environmental injustices along the Columbia. For more than a decade, Columbia Riverkeeper has worked in solidarity with Yakama Nation to protect a site, Pushpum—a sacred place where there is an abundance of traditional foods and medicines and archaeological resources. We will continue to lend our legal and grassroots organizing acumen to advocate for clean energy that does not destroy the last remaining Indigenous sacred sites.

You power Columbia Riverkeeper’s vital work for clean water and our climate. Together, we will protect a place like no other, the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest, and a place I’m proud to call home. Onward!

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