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26 Jun 2021

Full-Time Community Engagement Specialist

Friends of the Columbia Gorge – Posted by Portland, Oregon, United States

Job Description

Hours: 40 hours per week
Location: Portland, OR; Hood River, OR; or Washoughal, WA Home Office
Status: Non-Exempt
Supervisor: Communications Director
Salary: $19.00 – $21.00 / hr.
Start Date: August-September 2021


Friends of the Columbia Gorge was founded in 1980 and has over 6,000 members in Oregon, Washington, and beyond dedicated to preserving, protecting, and stewarding the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. With offices in Portland and Hood River, Oregon and Washougal, Washington, the organization uses an array of tools (advocacy, litigation, land acquisition, and public education) to ensure the Columbia Gorge remains a wondrous and vibrant place. In 2005, Friends launched the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) support organization to acquire and steward spectacular landscapes within the Columbia Gorge.


Building a large and diverse cross section of public support across the Pacific Northwest is critical to sustaining Friends’ efforts to preserve the Columbia Gorge for future generations. Friends’ Public Engagement team works to develop innovative and creative strategies and accompanying tools and tactics to effectively educate and engage the public in efforts to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge. Friends’ community engagement and youth education programs are vital tools in building a strong and diverse coalition of enthusiastic Gorge stewards.

The community engagement specialist will work with Friends’ communication director—in cooperation with colleagues across Friends’ teams—to design and implement community engagement efforts; oversee Friends’ outdoor youth education programs; plan and organize public events; and coordinate Friends public education projects. The community engagement specialist will play a leading role in a project to develop new multimedia educational tools to expand the reach and impact for Friends’ youth education program.


Community Engagement

  • Help cultivate strong, enduring community partnership opportunities to support Gorge conservation and stewardship initiatives.
  • Design and implement creative strategies to engage, empower, and elevate the voices of communities of color, regional tribal partners, LGBTQ+ community, and other historically marginalized groups around the Pacific Northwest on key Gorge conservation challenges and issues.
  • Organize public forums, webinars, and community activities to increase public support for the Gorge.
  • Help develop Friends presentations, respond to Friends public speaking and general email inquiries.
  • Develop effective tools and tactics to gather, analyze, and summarize community feedback as well as Friends’ community engagement opportunities and challenges.

Outdoor Youth Education

  • Oversee Friends’ outdoor youth education efforts.
  • Serve as primary liaison with school officials, volunteers, and other education partners, including help scope new projects.
  • Recruit, train, and retain outdoor youth education program volunteers.
  • Maintain and develop Friends educational tools, materials, curricula, and goals.
  • Help develop effective systems and maintain metrics and to analyze and evaluate the impact, reach, and effectiveness of Friends outdoor youth education initiatives.

Strategic Communications 

  • Develop and coordinate Friends’ public education and communications initiatives, as needed.
  • Help create engaging print and digital storytelling content (e.g. newsletter articles, web features/ blogs, social media posts, etc.) on the importance of protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Columbia River Gorge.
  • Work with communications director to identify opportunities to advance Friends’ public engagement efforts through creative (written and visual) storytelling utilizing print, web, and social communication channels.
  • Help support community engagement and outdoor youth education-related communications and fundraising efforts.

Special Projects 

  • Work with Philanthropy, Land Trust, and Conservation team members and other colleagues to help support ongoing efforts (events, presentations, etc.) to help recruit and engage Friends’ members, volunteers, and partners.
  • Manage special communications and engagement projects; conduct research on issues and initiatives; and collaborate with colleagues to help advance Friends’ public engagement initiatives through social media, advertising, public events, and other communication channels, as needed.
  • Assist communications director in support of Friends’ diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.


  • 4-6 year working or demonstrated experience in planning and implementing effective public engagement strategies that involve a variety of people and partners (could include work in community outreach or organizing; youth or outdoor/environmental education; communications and public education; or diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives).
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in education, community development, conservation, communications, or other relevant field.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including public speaking and developing presentations.
  • Experience successfully coordinating programs and events with the ability to handle all aspects of organizing public meetings, workshops, or community events—including working effectively with a wide-range of people from diverse background and lived experiences.
  • Demonstrated problem solving and program evaluation experience.
  • Valid, insurable driver’s license.
  • Able to work, or be on call, some non-standard hours, including evenings and weekends.


  • Previous experience as an educator or in another capacity instructing, designing or implementing programs to engage youth in educational outdoor programs and/or teach students (grades 4-8) about ecology and other related natural sciences.
  • Multilingual and previous experience working with communities of color, immigrant populations, LBGTQ+ communities, and youth organizations.
  • Certification in first aid, CPR, or wilderness first aid and knowledge of ecology, outdoor education, and Pacific Northwest conservation useful.
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, and MailChimp or other targeted email system software.
  • Commitment to the protection, preservation, and stewardship of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.


Salary range is $19 – $21 hourly, commensurate with experience and education. Excellent benefits include generous vacation time and holidays, generous health insurance for employee and dependents along with an employer matched retirement plan.


Bringing together a broad and diverse coalition of people who share a common love for the Columbia Gorge is vital to Friends’ long-term success. The Gorge will be a healthier, more vibrant place when a diverse and inclusive collection of advocates, stewards, and volunteers are at the table.

Friends has included a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) process as one of three overarching goals in its 2018-21 strategic plan. Every department and individual are expected to understand and work to integrate relevant components of this plan into their work.

All staff members are expected to commit to personal growth and learning, taking initiative to expand your understanding of DEIJ and related principles, issues, and practice and how they apply to our work. Staff members will participate in organizational trainings and workplace groups (DEIJ committee, staff social committee, lunch & learns) and other opportunities to shape our organizational culture.

Everyone will work to apply the skills and practices needed to create an inclusive organizational culture where everyone feels they belong including (but not limited to): clear and kind communication, giving and receiving feedback, mutual accountability, self-care, and boundaries.


Friends is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other protected status in accordance with local, state and federal law.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoffs, recalls, leaves of absence, compensation and training.


This position requires sitting or standing at a desk, using a computer, talking on the phone, driving, hiking, and participating in outdoor activities. The ability to lift up to 30 pounds, various outdoor environmental conditions, and to respond appropriately to situations requiring first aid.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

How to Apply

Please send cover letter, resume, and writing sample of less than 1,000 words to with Community Engagement Specialist and where you saw the job ad in the subject line no later than July 28, 2021.

Job Categories: Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: and steward the Columbia Gorge, preserve, and We work to protect. Salaries: 40,000 - 60,000.

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