Willamette River Network Board

Our Network board includes respected leaders in river health, sustainability, Tribal sovereignty, environmental justice and youth leadership development. 

 

Co-Chair Robin Morris Collin

Robin Morris Collin

Robin is the Norma J. Paulus Professor of Law at Willamette University. Her 35-year legal career has been defined by award-winning scholarship and activism on issues such as climate change, sustainability and environmental justice. Robin is the current Chair of the Oregon Commission for Women. She served as the founding chair of Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force and she has been awarded the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award from the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. She has authored numerous books and articles on the nexus between equity, environment and law. Robin was the first law professor in the U.S. to teach sustainability, and she has co-authored a three volume Encyclopedia of Sustainability. Robin is a contributor to Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril (a collection including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama, and others). A longtime resident of the Willamette Basin, Robin sees the pursuit of river health as our collective duty as inhabitants of this watershed. She believes that fulfilling our obligation to the river requires us to work together to reverse the consequences of past activities that have harmed our rivers and communities.

If you’ve received an email from Robin in the last decade or so, you’ll see her personal philosophy reflected in a quote from Karl-Henrik Robert in the signature block: “I don't believe that the solutions in society will come from the left or the right or the north or the south. They will come from islands within those organizations, islands of people with integrity who want to do something ... This is what a network should do, identify people who would like to do something good. And they are everywhere.”

 

Co-Chair Michael Pope

Michael Pope

Michael is Director of Greenbelt Land Trust, where he helps communities protect, restore and enjoy the Willamette Valley’s native habitats through land conservation and restoration. During Michael’s tenure, Corvallis-based Greenbelt has grown from a small local organization to a regional land trust that conserves land throughout the Mid-Willamette Valley. Before joining Greenbelt, Michael worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and WIldlife as the agency’s Wildlife Mitigation Coordinator and Oregon Conservation Strategy Coordinator. He holds a BA in History from the University of North Carolina and a BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University and was a research assistant and faculty research associate at the university from 1989 to 2004. Michael has extensive experience volunteering on local, regional and national boards and committees, including the Marys River Watershed Council board, the Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts board and the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Before embarking on a conservation career, Michael spent more than a decade as a professional boat builder in Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Alaska. He believes the key to achieving a healthy river lies in creating a diverse, passionate and committed coalition that advocates and acts for its future.  Rivers are a large part of Michael’s history. He was born in Salzburg, a river city along the Salzach River at the edge of the northern Alps in Austria. For the past 32 years he has lived a few blocks from the Willamette River in Corvallis with his wife, Becca who is a professional potter. One of his favorite pastimes is to float down the Willamette in his kayak on a summer evening observing kingfishers, osprey, bald eagles, and towering cottonwoods along the riverbank.

 

Queta Gonzalez

Queta Gonzalez

Queta is the Director of the Center for Diversity & the Environment, where she trains and collaborates with nonprofits, corporations, small businesses and governments to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within the conservation field. A lifelong river lover, Queta’s past professional experiences include managing a rafting company in the Grand Canyon and working in wilderness-based education. In her role as an equity facilitator and coach, she leads with compassion and a deep belief that we are stronger together. Queta also serves on the Governor’s Task Force on the Outdoors and on the Roadmap to the Outdoors advisory group. She lives in Portland with her partner and two cats, though the cats think they should be listed first.

Queta finds deep meaning in the Loren Eiseley quote, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

 

Clinton Begley

Clinton Begley

Clinton is Executive Director of the Long Tom Watershed Council, where he helps local communities in the Upper Willamette Basin work toward clean water and healthy habitats. An avid whitewater paddler and third generation family farm owner, Clinton’s personal connection to water runs deep. His professional work has focused on the intersection of human experiences with nature and their influence on stewardship values and behaviors. Clinton views community based conservation organizations foremost as cultural organizations that translate the values of their communities into action on the ground. He views humans and nature as mutually dependent, not separate entities. The river journal he has kept since 2004 records the details of his trips on 116 different rivers across the country. The first on that list is North River; which runs through Clinton’s family farm in Northeast Missouri. His home river, the North River is as special to him as any of the rivers he has spent time getting to know since. What Clinton loves most about rivers are the connections we make with them can be as meaningful as those we have with our human families.

 

Nabin Dhimal

Nabin Dhimal

Nabin is a graduate student at Portland State University with a long history of mentorship and advocacy for social and environmental justice. Nabin’s experience as a refugee has fueled a passion for dismantling systemic injustices against immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. He has been involved in environmental justice work since his teen years, first as an advocate for GroundWork Portland and later as a Community Youth Ambassador for the City of Portland, where he helped integrate new immigrants to the Portland parks system. Fluent in Nepali, Hindi, and English, Nabin is an advocate and a mentor for ESL students in Portland Public Schools (PPS) and first-generation college students at Portland State. He was instrumental in organizing the PPS Youth Leadership Council to increase access to leadership opportunities for historically underrepresented students. Within the broader community, Nabin works as a career counselor at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). He believes creating a healthy river system requires holistic leadership that engages and elevate marginalized and disenfranchised communities.

 

Debbie Craig

Debbie Craig

Debbie is a family lawyer and longtime champion of conservation, outdoor access and public education. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Meyer Memorial Trust, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Columbia Land Trust and Stand for Children. At the Meyer Memorial Trust, Debbie was instrumental in launching and growing the Willamette River Initiative, a 10-year river health funding program that was the genesis of the Willamette River Network. She believes good public schools and public green spaces are the fabric of a healthy community, serving as great equalizers available to everyone. A lifelong Oregonian and resident of Lake Oswego, Debbie has explored the parks and pathways of the Willamette Basin with her family through sun, rain and snow. 

 

Gabe Sheoships

Gabe Sheoships

Gabe is Education Director of the Friends of Tryon Creek, where he founded a Cultural Ecology program that teaches environmental education through the traditions of Northwest tribes. As an Indigenous person whose family has lived since time immemorial on the land now known as Oregon, Gabe has dedicated his life’s work to protecting First Foods, encouraging healthy ecosystems and empowering people to act as stewards of the land and water. He has strong professional, cultural and personal connections to the Willamette and has centered his career around equity, inclusion and decolonization within the environmental field. Gabe brings these teachings to his work as an adjunct instructor at Portland State University. Gabe serves on the board for both the Center for Diversity and the Environment and Freshwaters Illustrated, along with chairing the diversity, equity and inclusion committee for the American Fisheries Society’s Oregon chapter. He is a proud father, and lives in Portland with his family, including his trusty rez dog.