WRI Staff

Meet the dedicated staff of the Willamette River Initiative.


Allison Hensey | WRI Director

Photo of WRI Director Allison Hensey.

Allison comes to Meyer after a childhood spent on Western rivers and a career in collaborative conservation. Her work supports people improving the health of the Willamette River and its tributaries, which run through the majority of Oregonians' lives.  Before joining Meyer in 2015, Allison led the Sustainable Agriculture and Watersheds Program at Oregon Environmental Council, and was a Policy Specialist at the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. She is a volunteer board member with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, which helps people care for land and water. She has a J.D. from the University of Oregon, and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.

Cynicism is a hardening, a calcification of the soul. Hope is a stretching of its ligaments, a limber reach for something greater. ~ Maria Popova

Cristina Watson | WRI Program Officer

Photo of WRI Program Officer Cristina Watson.

Cristina brings a deep-rooted love of Pacific Northwest salmon-bearing rivers and a dedication to strengthening the connection between people and nature. Prior to joining the Willamette River Initiative in 2012, Cristina worked as a non-formal educator focused on rivers and watersheds in Oregon and Idaho. As program officer, Cristina takes a lead role in WRI’s grantmaking and other non-grant activities, such as planning the Within Our Reach biennial conference. She also has served as co-facilitator of Meyer’s Equity Team since 2015. Cristina has an M.A. in education from Boise State University and a B.A. from the College of Idaho.

Cristina’s favorite freshwater fish is the sculpin, followed by a two-way tie between sockeye salmon and Pacific lamprey.

Kelly House | WRI Program Associate

Kelly House

Kelly comes to Meyer with a background in public service and a belief in our shared responsibility as stewards of the lands and waters we call home. She helps tell the story of our partners’ work for the river and supports WRI’s role as a grantmaker and convener. Before joining Meyer in 2016, Kelly worked as a reporter covering statewide environmental issues for The Oregonian. The work gave her a deep appreciation for the people laboring to improve Oregon’s environment for future generations. She has a B.A. from Michigan State University.

After the Willamette, Kelly’s favorite river is the Muskegon, which flows past her hometown in Michigan.