Our Core Principles

Our actions, both among the partners who make up our organization and in our work with communities, are guided by these core principles:

Credit to Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District

Start with integrity. Ensuring our actions are consistent with our values is the foundation of everything we do at Willamette Partnership. We take responsibility for that goal and welcome accountability when we fall short. We welcome, embrace, and learn from feedback about how we can better live our values.

Respect and support the leadership of communities. The power to make decisions in our communities must be re-centered with the people who will be most affected by those decisions. We respect the right of all communities to make choices and take actions according to their own principals, values, and needs, and to have access to the resources they need to do so. Nested within this right is a responsibility to ensure individual choices and actions support and do not undermine the rights of others.

Look to nature for solutions. Nature is the ultimate source of human health and prosperity, our original infrastructure and the one we can least afford to lose. We look first to nature for solutions that provide more benefits to more people and help build resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges and changes.

Our strength lies in partnership. The most important challenges communities face generally can’t be resolved by a single entity working in isolation, or even by a small group of close partners working together on a single issue. Both within our own organization and in the external collaborations we lead and support, we strive to foster true partnerships. Building this kind of partnership requires a deep commitment to inclusivity, transparency, and care for relationships.

The Chiloquin Green Schoolyard Project is made up of a diverse group of community and project partners. The Green Schoolyard will be a multi-benefit space, bringing the health benefits of nature to children and restoring native habitat. / Photo courtesy of the Klamath County School District.

Trust in our ability to find common ground. Achieving our mission requires people to work together across differences. In fact, many of the challenges we work on look at the surface like intractable conflicts with no path toward a mutually beneficial solution. We step confidently and enthusiastically into these challenges because our experience shows that at a deeper level, we can find a great deal of common ground in human needs and values. We can help address conflict by focusing collaborative efforts at this deeper level and then working together to identify strategies that meet the needs of different partners.

Equity is part of all of our jobs. Building healthier ecosystems and communities requires a deep commitment to ensuring that all people have equitable access to clean air, clean water, green space, and the other benefits of nature. Contributing to more equitable outcomes for communities is a key part of our mission. Any system that perpetuates or reinforces inequities is fundamentally unsustainable and works against the mission and vision of our organization.

Find joy in contribution. The partners that make up our organization have come together because we find this work compelling and deeply satisfying. We each have a deep intrinsic motivation to contribute to our mission, and we work to help our community partners tap into a similar motivation. The contributions we make to communities, people, and places are what make our work meaningful.

“How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale…What we practice at a small scale can reverberate to the largest scale.”

adrienne maree brown,
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement

At Willamette Partnership, we are committed to creating an equitable future. 

Two children are problem-solving together. One child is slowly navigating the bumpy terrain, while the other one is trying to figure out how to pass safely. Through language and communication skills, they both solve this issue safely and cooperatively / Photo of Tygh Valley Head Start.

Our aim is to build an organization that fosters inclusivity, creates space for diverse perspectives, and invests in work with more equitable outcomes. To us, this means including everyone’s voice and perspective in our work regardless of their differences in backgrounds, ideas, thought, values, beliefs, or identities, including race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, migratory status, disability/abilities, geographic identity, political affiliation, and socioeconomic background. 

As a conservation non-profit, Willamette Partnership understands that equitable change cannot happen without the perspectives of our communities. We acknowledge the systemic injustices and inequities in our society and feel we have a moral imperative to keep this at the forefront of how we approach our work. Being an organization that lives its EDI principles makes us, the communities we serve, and the solutions we seek to deliver, better.

We know we have been slow to elevate equity as a core organizational value and have played a role in perpetuating inequity in the past, but it is our responsibility to do better. We will always use an EDI lens when doing our work, engaging with partners, and developing new opportunities. We are committed to being transparent about our EDI work and choices, and why they are important to us. This work is never done. As individuals and as an organization, we commit to being life-long learners and will continue to educate ourselves to better our work. 

Our 7 Commitments

Aligning Our Intent.

Our responsibility is to align our intent with the impact we are making in the communities we work in.

Contributing to Systems Change.

Using our access to policy and funding worlds, we commit to addressing the need for systems change.

Creating Space.

We commit to bringing diverse voices to the table, to amplify and hold space for them to be heard. 

Investing Equitably.

We will seek to understand who benefits and who is burdened by our actions and to work with partners to ensure resources are used and distributed in a more equitable way. 

Creating an Inclusive Workplace.

We will nurture an inclusive and welcoming culture that values the contributions of everyone and commit to reaching out to those who may not be represented to ensure we are including all perspectives in our work. 

Training to be Allies.

We are committed to training and educating ourselves to be the best allies we can be. We recognize that we will mess up from time to time but promise to take responsibility for our mistakes, learn from them, and continue to grow.

Continuing to Learn.

We understand that this work is never finished and it is our responsibility to continue to educate ourselves, learn from each other, and have honest conversations about our work and its impact. By revisiting and revising this statement regularly, we will hold ourselves and others accountable for this work.

Learn more about our policies around our responsibility towards equity and accessibility.