In the spirit of progressive community, many of the various environmental groups of the mid-Willamette Valley have begun to meet with the hope of participating in a working coalition. From these meetings, WE (Willamette Eco-Alliance) was formed in December, 1996, to begin lending cohesion to these diverse groups, and to further the environmental paradigm shift in Marion and Polk Counties. Our mission is to “Provide a community forum for promoting environmental education and sustainable, ecologically-sensitive values.” Specifically, we are organized to support the activities of established groups, provide opportunities for community education, and to provide a forum for intergroup organization.
WE members include a wide spectrum of groups, from mainline environmental nonprofit organizations to those that focus on boating, fishing and hiking. Although activism is not the foundation of our group, working coalitions between member groups are encouraged. We need to support each other in our seemingly diverse issues, because, as Benjamin Franklin admonished “we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.” The thread that runs through all of our organizations needs to be recognized and affirmed through our work together. All of our individual environmental issues are pieces that must be put together for us to see the whole environmental picture.
WE members will begin coordinating an intergroup newsletter as early as May, 1997, to sponsor four events (fun and informational) per year, and begin recruiting for specific study committees. Our first event will be a FUNdraiser in May, with delicious food and entertainment (date & location to be announced). WE’re gathering ideas for the Summer event, so please join us for our next regular meeting in April to share your ideas. All groups are encouraged to contribute an article about their activities and upcoming events.
For more information, please contact coordinators Laine Young at 503-361-2379, or Tom Duffey at 503-361-5450. Deadline for articles for May’s newsletter is April 1, 1997. To receive the newsletter, please send $15 to WE, 750 Cottage NE, Salem, OR 97301.
Laine Young has a BS in Botany and Plant Pathology and a Master in Environmental Studies. She endorses environmental education and specializes in water resources. She lives in Salem.