Category Archives: News

EMSWCD has a new Executive Director!

The entire Board and staff at East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) are thrilled to announce the selection of our new Executive Director, Nancy Hamilton!

our new Executive Director, Nancy Hamilton

Nancy Hamilton comes to EMSWCD from eight years managing a private consulting practice, and previously held leadership positions in the administrations of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter. Nancy brings rich experience in the public and private sectors, the knowledge to champion expanding programs around climate change and equity, and the management and leadership experience to bring people together around our mission to help people care for land and water.

“I could not be more honored to work with the extraordinary team of professionals at the EMSWCD,” said Nancy Hamilton. “The organization is doing critical work across such a broad spectrum of priorities, and with a strong commitment to seeing how we can contribute to addressing the looming climate crisis, I’m looking forward to getting started.”

“The board has full confidence in Nancy’s ability to lead the organization.” said Board Chair Carrie Sanneman, “District staff have continuously shown their resilience, creativity, and compassion through the COVID pandemic. We know they will continue to thrive with an experienced and empathetic leader like Nancy.” Nancy will start work with EMSWCD on November 16th.

Please join us in welcoming Nancy to EMSWCD!

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Upcoming EMSWCD Board and Committee Meetings

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), serving all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River, has scheduled Board meetings, an Annual meeting, and Land Legacy Committee meetings via teleconference for the months of November through June 2021.

Visit this page to see a calendar of upcoming meetings.

EMSWCD takes a “strategic pause” for the 2021 PIC Cycle (updated)

Recently-planted red flowering currant at a grant project restoration site

To EMSWCD grantees, partners, and supporters: We know how deeply all of you have been affected this past year by the upheaval and uncertainty that surrounds us. Here at EMSWCD, we have continued to do our work the best we can and to look for ways to support our communities. Ironically, it is in these extraordinary times that we are presented with a rare opportunity to consider how we may want to do things differently, to move in a direction that responds to the weight of this historic moment.

In this vein, EMSWCD has decided to take a “strategic pause” for the 2021 Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grant cycle – suspending the competitive grant opportunity for one year. While we will forgo the normal application process for PIC 2021, EMSWCD is committed to supporting our grantees and partners through this challenging time, and we intend to do this by extending some current grants and offering non-competitive new grants for our regular grantees for the fiscal year 2021/22. We have developed our initial criteria for this continued funding (please see below). The SPACE grant program will continue to operate as usual.

During this time, our staff will have the opportunity to address many aspects of our grant funding program with an eye toward greater equity and more strategic funding. We plan to conduct an evaluation of EMSWCD’s grants program in light of changes in the context of our regional funding, to implement new DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and other strategic initiatives, and to more fully engage with partners, grantees and other stakeholders about the future of our grants program.

Our hope is that through the work we accomplish during this “strategic pause,” our grants program will become more effective and more responsive to our diverse communities.

Please contact Suzanne Easton, Grants Program Manager, if you have any questions: suzanne@emswcd.org.

November 18th, 2020 Update

We recently informed you of EMSWCD’s decision to take a “Strategic Pause” for the 2021 PIC cycle, suspending the competitive grant opportunity for one year. As stated, EMSWCD is committed to supporting our grantees and partners through this challenging time, and we intend to do this by extending some current grants and offering non-competitive new grants for our regular grantees for the fiscal year 2021/22.

Our priority is to support those organizations that have come to depend on PIC funds to carry out their regular programming. While this will certainly leave some worthwhile projects ineligible, we believe this pause in the EMSWCD grant program will reap long-term benefits for all the communities we serve.

With these goals in mind, we have developed specific eligibility criteria for continued funding during this period. To receive 2021 PIC funding, the prior PIC grantee will:

  • Have been awarded at least 2 PIC grants within the last 4 years.
  • Be in good standing with solid past performance (COVID impacts taken into account).
  • Have demonstrated project need and ability to continue with activities consistent with prior grants.

While these criteria will be used for granting extensions and renewing grants, in unique and urgent circumstances we may make allowances for awarding a grant that does not meet these requirements.

We anticipate that funding decisions will be made in February/March of 2021 through an internal staff review process. The level of funding will be decided on a case-by-case basis but will likely be in line with the annual amount an organization has received in its most recent grants. New funds will be available on July 1st, 2021 as extensions and new Funding Agreements are completed.

Please contact our Grants Manager, Suzanne Easton (suzanne@emswcd.org) by January 10th, 2021 if you believe you meet the above criteria and would like to be considered for a funded extension or a new grant.

updated November 18th, 2020

EMSWCD is suspending the 2021 Native Plant Sale

Here at EMSWCD, our highest priority is the health and safety of community members, volunteers, and staff. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, EMSWCD has made the extremely difficult decision to suspend its Annual Native Plant Sale for 2021.

Under normal circumstances, this event consists of plant sorting (in an enclosed tent), additional event preparations, and pick-up day activities that bring together over 100 volunteers, over 20 staff, and over 1000 plant sale customers within a one-week period. Given the pandemic-related restrictions, we realize that holding an event of this scale is not feasible or safe.

We are taking time this year to examine ways to make future plant sale events even better. We appreciate your patience while we work to identify how we can best serve our wonderful community of native plant enthusiasts.

Although we will not be holding our annual sale, we are fortunate here in the metro region to have so many avenues to purchase native plants. For your convenience, we have pulled together this list of sales, nurseries, and other avenues to buy native plants:

Visit our Local Sources of Native Plants page here

We regret that we won’t get to see your smiling faces and share our mutual love of native plants in person this coming year, but we very much look forward to improving and expanding our services going forward!

We’re now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program!

Headwaters Farm fields

We are now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program 2021 growing season! The Incubator Program leases farmland and equipment, provides trainings, and offers other supports to experienced growers seeking to establish a farm business. We encourage all interested individuals to apply!

Visit the Incubator Application page for information about the program and instructions on how to apply! You can also contact Rowan Steele, our Headwaters Farm Program Manager, at rowan@emswcd.org or (503) 935-5355. All application materials are due by 5 PM on Saturday, October 31st, 2020.


Watch these two videos to learn how the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program helps farmers as they launch their farm businesses.

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