The EMSWCD Board of Directors is the governing body of the District. The Board of Directors set policy, adopt the budget, set program and strategic priorities, supervise the Executive Director and oversee the management of the EMSWCD’s affairs to ensure legal compliance and fiscal responsibility.
Read on to learn about our five Directors, two Associate Directors, and Director Emeritus. You can also learn about recent and upcoming Board meetings, find out about the eligibility requirements for Board candidacy, and explore the 3 Board Zones that comprise our District.
Gabrielle Rossi is a fifth generation East Multnomah County farmer, carrying on her family’s tradition. Gabrielle discovered how much she loved her family’s commitment to sustainable agriculture when she drove her first John Deere tractor at just 7 years old. She was soon a valued hand, helping her father with harvest and later becoming the company’s general manager. Joe Rossi, Gabrielle’s father, is a pioneer in sustainable methods to combat water and wind erosion. Gabrielle has passionately worked to learn traditional methods and combine them with efficient modern practices.
Rossi Farms has grown crops on the same soil continuously for 99 years of its 139 years in operations and has been an early advocate of neighborhood and government engagement. Gabrielle engages her neighbors and community through local events and on farm outreach, and continues to have an inquiring, open mind to the needs of the community. She passionately advocates for farms at the state and local levels, and is uniquely positioned to bridge urban and rural issues as she also serves on the board of directors for Multnomah County Farm Bureau.
Gabrielle graduated from the University of Portland with a B.A. in Business Operations and Technology Management. Gabrielle was elected as Director in the November 2018 election and took office in January 2019. She is serving a 2-year term, and her seat is up for election next in November 2020. Gabrielle serves as EMSWCD’s Board Treasurer and on the Budget, Land Legacy, and Ad-Hoc Committees.
Laura Masterson received her B.S. in cellular biology from Reed College and is now a widely respected organic vegetable farmer. Described in the local press as an "Urban Über-farmer," she manages farms in East Multnomah, Clackamas and Yamhill counties for a community supported agriculture (CSA) operation that feeds over 200 families year-round. She advocates on behalf of sustainable agriculture by serving on a variety of committees and citizen advisory groups, and on the Oregon State Board of Agriculture. Cultivating with a team of horses and an electric tractor, making use of rotational grazing, beneficial insect conservation, cover cropping, and utilizing a wide variety of other innovative or re-discovered techniques, Laura is a much-sought-after speaker and local expert.
Laura serves on EMSWCD’s staff-led Equity Team. The Team consists of representatives from each program area, the management team, and the board. Together they work to elevate EMSWCD’s awareness, sensitivity, and response to the equity concerns of our communities related to natural resource management and environmental justice. Reach out to Laura with questions or concerns about our equity work.
Laura was elected as Director with EMSWCD in 2004, and again in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She is serving a full 4-year term, and her seat is up for election next in November 2020. Laura currently serves on the Budget, Land Legacy, and Personnel Committees.
Mike Guebert earned his B.A. degree in geology from Humboldt State University and currently works for Metro as a Program Manager at the former St. Johns Landfill in North Portland. There, he works with a small staff to monitor and improve environmental quality, operate and maintain a landfill gas extraction and re-use system, and make habitat improvements on the reclaimed grassland that makes up the cap of the landfill. When not at his day job, Mike and his wife own and operate a small farm in Corbett, where they raise a variety of pasture-based livestock including dairy cows, goats, chickens, and turkeys. Their goal is to improve soil and water quality by practicing intensive rotational grazing, using chicken tractors (a portable chicken coop structure without a floor) to spread their fertility around the property, and excluding livestock from riparian areas.
Mike is very active in the small farm community, serving on several committees and panels, often testifying to the state legislature in support of bills to help family farmers, and is always willing to offer assistance and advice to beginning farmers.
Mike was appointed as an Associate Director in 2012, became the Zone 3 Director in 2015, and was last elected in 2018. He is serving a 4-year term, and his seat is next up for election in November 2022. Mike serves on the Budget, Land Legacy, Personnel, and Grants Committees.
Rick Till received his B.A. in Philosophy from Washington State University and his J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resource Law. Rick has several years of experience with land management issues, including working as a wilderness ranger in the North Cascades of Washington. Rick worked on the legal staff at Friends of the Columbia Gorge for nearly ten years. Rick recently switched careers and became an ISA Certified Arborist and is working for Honl Tree Care. When not working in trees, Rick enjoys his naturescaped yard, hiking, and wilderness river trips. Rick lives in Southeast Portland with his wife Katie and their cats.
Rick was elected as Director with EMSWCD in 2008, 2012, and again in 2016. He is serving a 4-year term, and his seat is up for election next in November 2020. Rick serves as Board Secretary. He currently serves on the Budget, Land Legacy, Grants, Personnel, and Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grant Review Committees.
Allison Hensey is the Director of the Willamette River Initiative of the Meyer Memorial Trust. The Willamette River Initiative works to achieve meaningful, measurable improvements in the health of the Willamette River and its tributaries by 2018 and to create a national model for effective philanthropic involvement in the restoration of large, complex ecological systems.
In prior positions, Allison served as the Food and Farms Program Director at the Oregon Environmental Council where she worked to support the environmental stewardship and economic vitality of Oregon's farmers and ranchers, and as a Policy Specialist in the Director’s Office of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board where she helped provide funding and policy support to agricultural producers, forestland owners, and others for watershed restoration and salmon recovery projects. Allison received her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and her J.D. from the University of Oregon.
Allison was appointed as an Associate Director in 2013, became an At-Large Director in 2017, and was last elected in 2018. She is serving a 4 year term, and her seat is next up for election in November 2022. Allison currently serves as Board Chair, and serves on the Budget and Land Legacy Committees.
Dianna received her nursing degree from the Emanuel Hospital School of Nursing, Oregon Health Sciences University Division of Continuing Education, and has worked as a nurse in hospital, educational, and home care settings. Dianna served on the Oregon Soil and Water Commission from 1989 to 1999 and has served on EMSWCD's board since 1984. During that time she has filled nearly every office and served on numerous committees as well as represented the District in various national, regional conservation and inter-agency coordination efforts. She is dedicated to the principle that conservation districts are local people working together to achieve consensus on natural resource issues, ensuring that all viewpoints are considered.
Dianna Pope began her service on the EMSWCD’s Board as an Associate Director in 1982. Elected as a full Director in 1984, Dianna was re-elected every four years through 2010. After 32 years of service to EMSWCD, Dianna stepped down in December 2014 from her Board Director Position. Residing in Corbett, Oregon, Dianna represented residents of the EMSWCD’s Zone 3, which comprises all of Multnomah County lying east of the Sandy River. During her 32-year tenure at the EMSWCD, Dianna served as Board Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary, as well as on numerous EMSWCD committees.
Carrie manages the Clean Water program at Willamette Partnership, a conservation non-profit that works across the Northwest. Her work focuses on demonstrating how nature can support clean water, finding new ways to fund good work on the ground, and building partnerships to support lasting change in how we manage water resources.
Previous to her role at Willamette Partnership, Carrie worked in conservation and restoration with state and federal agencies and research institutions for the better part of a decade. She has a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and a B.S. in Biology from Iowa State University.
Carrie was appointed as an Associate Director in 2017. Carrie currently serves on the Budget, Land Legacy, and Grants Committees.