Looking Back & Looking Ahead

We're in an unprecedented, uncertain time filled with hope and anxiety, challenges and the opportunity for real change. That's why we believe it's so important to foster greater connection, trust and collaboration, now more than ever. We're stronger when we help each other and have each other’s backs.

A year ago, partners in the Willamette River Initiative (WRI) celebrated ten years of successful collaboration working to improve the health of the Willamette river basin. Knowing the WRI would sunset at the end of 2019, Meyer Memorial Trust convened a board to lead creation of a new Willamette River Network (WRN) to continue and evolve the impressive work accomplished during the WRI, expand the community of people and organizations engaged, and center equity and inclusion. 

Creating a new Willamette River Network was envisioned by an exceptional, committed team of advisors over the last several years to engage a broader network of partners and communities to work together to ensure people and rivers thrive together in the basin. We want to share where we’ve been, and invite you to engage and help shape what comes next.

Learning & Taking Root

Over the last 12 months, the Willamette River Network board has been taking root. We’ve been exploring questions such as:

  • How to lead with inclusion and equity? 
  • How do we evolve into a multicultural, intergenerational, cross-sector network?  
  • How will we center people in this work and ensure the health of the river? 

Critical questions like these, and others, continue to be at the forefront of our minds. These are conversations we have begun, and we want to continue them with you.


Timeline of WRN's progress over the past year

Click to view full-size image


The Year Ahead: Co-creating & Activating

In the coming year, we're planning a number of network-weaving activities to engage existing and new partners in caring for the Willamette and its communities. Here's what you can expect to see from us moving forward:

  • Regular cadence of communications
  • Lots of 1 to 1 and small group conversations on key questions
  • Engage with Indigenous elders, communities of color, youth, and others to ensure a multicultural and intergenerational network 
  • Co-create how to take a decolonized approach
  • Form planning team for convenings
  • Regional convenings starting in early 2021
  • Large network convening in spring 2021
  • Begin network funding development
  • Clarify what it means to be part of the network and what we want to achieve together
  • Expand and evolve the board

We're thrilled to connect with you. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us with your ideas—or just to say hello!

– WRN Staff & Board