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8 Aug 2022

Full-Time Conservation Director (Portland or Columbia Gorge region)

Friends of the Columbia Gorge – Posted by [email protected] Portland, Oregon, United States

Friends of the Columbia Gorge logo

Job Description

Job Location: Portland or Columbia Gorge region


Friends of the Columbia Gorge was founded in 1980 and has more than 5,000 members in Oregon, Washington, and beyond dedicated to preserving, protecting, and stewarding the Columbia Gorge. With offices in Portland and Hood River, Oregon and Washougal, Washington, the organization uses an array of tools (advocacy, litigation, land acquisition, community partnerships 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) supporting organization, to acquire spectacular landscapes within the Columbia Gorge.


The conservation director is the leader of Friends’ policy and advocacy efforts in the name of Gorge conservation. The position manages staff and consultants charged with carrying out these activities. Beyond the advocacy team, the conservation director engages across teams with land trust, legal, government affairs, philanthropy and communications staff to create long-term advocacy campaigns to protect and preserve the Gorge and build public support for lasting Gorge protection.


Leading Friends’ Advocacy Efforts

  • Works with staff to develop, implement, and evaluate Friends’ conservation policies and advocacy strategies based on the organization’s strategic-plan
  • Manages lobbyist(s) and consultants carrying out advocacy strategies
  • Represents organization in coalition work that support Friends’ advocacy goals
  • Writes comments on advocacy issues and provides oral testimony at public hearings
  • Supports creation and implementation of Friends’ advocacy materials
  • Assists in implementing Friends’ public engagement strategies related to advocacy goals, including making presentations to groups and organizations, networking and coordinating with other conservation and community groups
  • Communicates progress to executive director, other staff, and board of directors
  • Works with staff directors to develop, implement and monitor advocacy budgets and fundraising plans
  • Collaborates with Staff and Teams to Increase Effectiveness
  • Works with staff to integrate advocacy, policy, and community partnership strategies into land trust, legal, communication, and fundraising objectives
  • Coordinates with legal staff when development issues and litigation involve advocacy and policy efforts for the organization
  • Serve as a staff director, advising the executive director and participating as a positive force within the director team

 Nurture and Strengthen Relations with Government Officials, Tribal Leaders and Key Partners

  • Navigates diverse stakeholders, building consensus on conservation issues within the organization, our coalitions and its partners, as well as community interests beyond the traditional environmental community
  • Creates strategies to engage, empower, and elevate the voices of communities of color, regional Tribes, LGBTQ+ community, and other historically marginalized groups around the Pacific Northwest on key Gorge conservation challenges and issues
  • Develops and nurtures partnerships with key local, state, and federal officials on common interests and explore dissenting viewpoints
  • Works with staff to develop relational/collaborative engagement strategies, including a tribal engagement plan, to support advocacy efforts
  • Serves as primary point person for engaging with the Columbia River Gorge Commission, working with commissioners and staff and attending monthly Commission meetings.

Supports Conservation Communications/Media Relations

  • Demonstrates media-savvy and ability to use media to communicate conservation needs and the impact of policy and legislative efforts
  • With communications director, develops and implements public relations and media efforts related to advocacy efforts
  • Serves as primary media spokesperson regarding advocacy issues
  • Updates Friends’ members through newsletter articles and other communications

Managing Staff to Support Growth and Excellence

  • Supervises advocacy staff, supporting training, and leadership development

Conducting Research and Staying Updated on Policy Development

  • Reviews professional literature and public documents on a continuing basis to assist in developing Friends’ strategies and policies
  • Identifies emerging issues related to conservation work and/or recruits consultants and volunteers to conduct research on conservation priorities as identified in the strategic plan
  • Prepares, edits, reviews, and disseminates consultants’ and volunteers’ reports regarding research findings


  • At least seven years of conservation-related or other advocacy experience and at least three years of management experience
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing strategic campaigns
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interact with Friends’ staff, board members, and larger community
  • Outstanding people skills
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice and its role in furthering the organization’s mission
  • Commitment to the protection and enhancement of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area


  • College degree or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge of Columbia Gorge land-use laws, conservation issues, and political climate
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish)

We are interested in finding the best candidate for the job, even if that candidate does not have all the skills listed above. The successful candidate may be someone who comes from a less-traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for this role as a wide variety of life experiences may equip you with the skills needed for this position. We encourage BIPOC folks, women, LGBTQ+ folks, religious minorities, immigrants, and differently abled people to apply.


Salary range is $78,000 – $85,000 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 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice as part of its 2018 – 21 strategic plan and we are using it as a lens as we finalize our new 2022 – 2025 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.


Full time within the typical 9:00 am – 5:00 pm office hours. Other hours would include earlier morning, evening, or weekend work for events or meetings. Friends currently works in a flexible hybrid environment and staff work with their supervisors to determine their schedule working from home or the office. Friends’ offices are interchangeable for staff and include work stations with sit/stand options. This position will spend time working in front of a computer.

How to Apply

Please combine cover letter and resume into one document and send to [email protected]  with “Conservation Director” in the subject line. Please state where you saw the posting. Deadline for applications is Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

Job Categories: Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 80,000 - 100,000.

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