Social Justice


The McKenzie Watershed Council recognizes the reality of modern-day systemic racism and the fact that U.S. society has largely failed to address or acknowledge a history that has created and maintained disparities and barriers that limit opportunities for certain groups of people based on race, culture, and other characteristics. 

For over 25-years, the Council has worked to ensure a sustainable watershed through stewardship of its natural resources with the understanding that nature knows no boundaries, and that we are all connected regardless of where we live. Our current programs, partnerships, and funding priorities are however constructs of the society in which they were developed and reflect systemic elements of power and privilege. More can be done to help ensure the fundamental human rights of clean water and healthy habitats for all.  

It is in that spirit that we affirm our commitment to the community and stand in support of the social justice movement lead by Black Lives Matter and others. We commit to continuing to listen, learn, and grow with our community. We will do this with a deliberate focus on equitable treatment, access, and opportunity for all residents of the McKenzie watershed. The river links us all. 

McKenzie Watershed Council Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The McKenzie Watershed Council recognizes that:

  • An organization with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds, experiences and identities will foster greater organizational strength and increase the probability that desired outcomes will be achieved.
  • An organization with a broad representation of lived-experiences and perspectives is better equipped to effectively and authentically work with and for the communities it seeks to serve.
  • A wide variety of people and perspectives enables the organization to retain and strengthen relevance in the face of climate change and communities in the Upper Willamette River Basin disproportionately impacted by those changes.
  • History has created and maintained disparities and barriers that limit opportunities for certain groups of people based on race, culture and other characteristics, and that striving toward fair and equitable treatment, access, and opportunity for all people is required to create positive change.

To successfully achieve the McKenzie Watershed Council’s mission, input from a wide variety of people and perspectives with a connection to, or an interest in, the McKenzie River is crucial. As a group of individuals and organizations voluntarily working together to protect, enhance, and sustain the McKenzie River watershed and its people, the Council seeks the valued opinions of the public; resident partners; and representatives from schools, utilities, conservation organizations; the commercial and recreational sectors; and local, state, tribal and federal government.

A broad range of diversity with regards to (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, geography, socioeconomic status, mental/physical ability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or religion among Council partners makes the organization stronger and better equipped to help ensure the responsible use and protection of the McKenzie River through sustainable practices with consideration of future generations.

The McKenzie Watershed Council recognizes that fostering equity within our organization and within our community requires collaboration, communication, and dialogue with current and historically underrepresented groups of people in our community. The relationships built through these efforts are key to ensuring equitable opportunities, programs, and policies.

Environmental equity in our watershed means that no single group or community faces disadvantage in dealing with environmental hazards, disasters, and pollution. All individuals and communities have the ability to offer input regarding decision making and that input is taken seriously. The McKenzie Watershed Council believes that environmental equity is a basic human right.