Chris Winter – Co-Executive Director & Staff Attorney
Chris Winter received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1994 and then graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1998, where he focused on environmental and natural resources law. For three years, he practiced environmental law at Stoel Rives LLP in Portland, Oregon, representing corporate clients on complex matters relating to investigation and cleanup of contaminated industrial sites, regulatory compliance and business transactions.
In 2001, he founded the Crag Law Center to provide affordable legal assistance to groups promoting conservation issues. Since that time, he has helped dozens of groups throughout Oregon, Washington and Alaska, including municipal and tribal governments, conservation organizations, citizen groups, recreational clubs and individual activists. His current practice focuses on environmental justice, salmon habitat and water quality regulation, and public land management. He is a member of the Oregon, Washington and Alaska Bars and is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District of Oregon, and the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington, and the District of Alaska. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Lewis and Clark Law School, where for several years he taught a seminar on forest law and policy.
When Chris isn’t working, he spends time in the mountains with his wife and friends. His passion for high, wild places has led him across the continental United States and Canada and to remote locations in Alaska, Asia, Africa and Europe. He loves the mountains and wilderness of the Pacific Northwest for their unmatched opportunities for adventure and solitude.
Ralph Bloemers – Co-Executive Director & Staff Attorney
Ralph grew up on a cheese farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After high school, he left for Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to study political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He then worked abroad in Munich, Germany, and after that moved to Salem, Oregon, to attend law school at Willamette University. He completed an externship at 1000 Friends of Oregon and a fellowship at The Nature Conservancy where he learned about environmental, land use and natural resources work. He studied international environmental law in Holland and then returned to Willamette to graduate Cum Laude in 1998. After law school, he practiced intellectual property, securities and finance law at an established Portland law firm for almost three years. Through representation of new technology, entrepreneurs and inventors, the insane demand created by the Internet “boom” and a healthy measure of initiative, Ralph gained extensive experience with the nuts and bolts of practicing law. Ralph left to commit his energy to build upon his pro bono endeavors and progressive causes and founded the Crag Law Center.
Ralph is a member of the Oregon and Washington State Bars. He is admitted to practice in the Federal District of Oregon, the Western District of Washington and the Eastern District of Washington. Ralph has developed a specialty in public lands and natural resources law and has worked with dozens of clients throughout the Pacific Northwest since Crag’s founding.
Tel: (503) 525-2728
Courtney received her JD with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland. While in her first year of study, she interned with the Crag Law Center. As a law student, Courtney interned in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and San Francisco Baykeeper. Before joining Crag, Courtney clerked for a district court judge in Ketchikan, Alaska. While there, Courtney enjoyed the wilds of Alaska and its incredible wildlife by sea kayaking, hiking and snowshoeing.
Courtney joined the Crag Law Center in 2008 and focuses her energy on the Coastal Law Project. Much of her work at Crag has focused on protecting the health of coastal rivers, from gravel mining in the rivers of the south coast, including the Chetco and the Rogue, to addressing proposals for fossil fuel exports along the Columbia at Astoria. Courtney is a published author on topics of climate change adaptation and marine spatial planning. Courtney enjoys working with coastal residents to help develop their communities for lasting and sustainable economic and environmental health.
When she is not working, Courtney enjoys spending time with her husband and dog on the beaches and rivers and in the mountains of Oregon, hiking, skiing, kayaking, biking and surfing. She also keeps busy with her home garden, cooking, reading and traveling.
Tel. (503) 525-2724
Suzanne hails from the mountains of East Tennessee, where as a kid she hiked nearly every trail of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with her family. She received a BA from Warren Wilson College and holds a Masters Degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University. Her research emphasis was asset-based community development in rural, mountain communities, and she conducted research in the mining valleys of Southern Wales and in Ashe County, NC.
Suzanne has spent much of her life working on social and environmental justice issues. She worked at Appalshop, a non-profit media, arts and education center based in Whitesburg, KY. She directed Appalshop’s Traditional Music Program, and organized cultural arts education programs across Appalachia’s coal mining communities. During her time in Eastern Kentucky she became involved in the movement to challenge mountaintop removal coal mining practices and lobbied for better oversight and enforcement of the coal mining industry, including mine safety.
Suzanne came to Portland through her involvement with the Portland Old Time Music Gathering, where she serves on the Board of Directors and the organizing committee. Musically, culturally and geographically, she feels a deep connection between the Pacific Northwest and her Appalachian homeland, and enjoys exploring the region with her dog, Bella. She also enjoys living in a city where she can ride her bicycle to work! Before joining Crag full-time, Suzanne worked as an Arts Integration Facilitator for The Right Brain Initiative. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, gardening, cooking and playing banjo.
Tel: (503) 525-2722
Maura received a B.A. in sociology, with a minor in political science, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2010, Maura moved to Portland to begin law school at Lewis & Clark. During her first summer, Maura studied international law in India. She then interned with Crag Law Center during her second summer and third year in law school. As a Crag intern, Maura had the opportunity to argue a case in front of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. She also gained experience through work with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School. Maura received her JD with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law in 2013. She was awarded the Environmental Leadership Award and membership in Lewis & Clark’s Cornelius Honor Society.
Maura joined the Crag Law Center staff in October 2013 as a legal fellow. Her work consists primarily of land use challenges in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, federal administrative law, as well as Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act enforcement. Maura is a member of the Oregon and Washington state bars and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District of Oregon and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Environmental & Natural Resources Section of the Oregon State Bar.
In her free time, Maura enjoys skiing, hiking, backpacking, running, and exploring all the wonder the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Tel: (503) 227-2212
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Oliver returned home in 2013 after spending a decade in Washington. He first joined Crag as a Legal Fellow in October 2013, and is a member of the Oregon Bar. While in Washington, Oliver attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology. During that time, he spent summers working as a raft guide, and studied abroad in New Zealand. After traveling and volunteering in Ecuador, Oliver moved to Seattle where he worked for a non-profit land trust on land use and other conservation issues. Convinced that a legal education was the best way to make a difference in this field, he applied to law school, emerging three years later with a J.D. from the University of Washington.
While in law school, Oliver worked for legal counsel to the Washington House of Representatives and also did an externship with a Washington Court of Appeals Judge, learning about appellate law and procedure and about rafting through Hells Canyon (where he spent a week rowing a gear boat for the Judge). He also worked for Washington Forest Law Center on public interest environmental law cases, and was inspired to continue this work. Oliver’s Law Review comment focused on the nexus between clean water, endangered salmonids, and Washington State forest practices. He gained further environmental law experience as a research assistant, helping a professor write a paper about natural resource damages.
With Crag, Oliver works primarily on Southeast Alaskan forestry and fisheries conservation, representing clients concerned with the impacts of old-growth timber harvest in one of the world’s most critical temperate rainforests. He also works on Oregon cases, protecting Mt. Hood’s fragile alpine environment and watershed resources, and other cases involving NEPA, forest management, endangered species, and clean water. Outside of work, Oliver enjoys spending time with his wife when she’s not at the hospital (she’s a medical resident); together they like to backpack, cook, snowshoe, fly fish, kayak, travel, trail run, snowboard, play soccer, and spend time with family.
Emma Bruden – Legal Fellow
Emma attended college in Wisconsin, majoring in political science. She moved to Portland to take part in Lewis & Clark Law School’s exceptional environmental law program. Upon starting law school, she immediately began volunteering for Northwest Environmental Defense Center as a student board member and subsequently served as a project coordinator and student director. During her first summer, she drafted her first motion and found a love for forest law at Earthrise Law Center. Following her second year, she worked for the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species program, further inspiring her desire to protect our nation’s critters and forests. In her final year, she honed her advocacy skills and gained insight into the judicial process while externing for the Honorable Michael H. Simon. In 2016, she received her J.D. with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law. Upon graduating, she received the Williamson Public Interest Environmental Law Award for her dedication to the field and became a member of the Cornelius Honors Society. After taking the Oregon bar, Emma began working as a legal fellow for Crag Law Center. Her work focuses on protecting the natural resources in our forests and public lands, as well as advocating for clean air for everyone.
When not working, you’ll find Emma exploring the Pacific Northwest, biking, running, cooking, reading, knitting, and refinishing furniture. She also enjoys spending time with animals and loves returning to Wisconsin to see her two dogs, Ginger and Nutmeg.
Carrie Clore – Development Assistant
Carrie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Practices and a Minor in Writing from Portland State University. She first learned and became passionate about environmental advocacy while completing her Senior Capstone—Grant Writing for Environmental Advocacy. Carrie was awarded a Diversity Outreach Opportunity Grant through the Portland State University School of Art & Design. As a result, she was able to partner with Groundwork Portland to share the principles of environmental advocacy while facilitating a public art project with the students of Rosi Hinton High. She has over seven years experience working as a community relations manager for a specialty retailer and nine years experience working in the outdoor recreational industry.