Mission

Legal aid for communities, climate, and the wild

Crag provides free and low-cost legal services to folks who are working on the ground to protect our environment, climate and communities. We believe that conservation and community groups deserve access to high-quality lawyers regardless of their ability to pay, and understand that effective legal aid extends far beyond lawsuits. We help our clients and partners understand the complex legal landscape and identify a set of tools to help them achieve their goals for a healthy environment and a sustainable future. Many of Crag’s clients are battling well-funded corporations with large teams of attorneys, and Crag’s advocacy elevates those who would not otherwise have a voice in decisions directly affecting their frontline communities. We take on the cases that others often overlook, including cases that have no possibility of recovering attorneys’ fees.

By nature, Crag’s work is long-term. Our strategy is to push back against the erosion of environmental protections on public lands, elevate the voices of Tribes and other traditionally underrepresented groups, and advance climate policy that will preserve the prosperity and safety of generations to come. We use our legal skills to defend Portland’s fossil fuel ban and support youth who are demanding that our governments take action on climate change. We help communities challenge dangerous fossil fuel projects and stopped Nestlé from bottling and selling their local water. We help conservation and recreation groups secure protections for old growth forests, wilderness areas and rivers, preserving critical wolf and native fish habitats. We aim to make our environmental laws work for everyone, support civic engagement, and hold decision-makers accountable for land management and environmental protections.

Values

Commitment to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion

We are all interconnected with the land, water and air. But not all people have equal voice in decision-making that affects our environment and our communities. This problem is rooted in settler colonialism, systemic racism, and corporate dominance leading to unequal access to social, political and economic power. Crag balances the scales of justice by supporting communities to achieve their goals for a healthy environment. To realize our mission, we must help to elevate the voices of diverse communities. There is no environmental justice unless all communities have access to justice. Implementing equity, diversity and inclusion principles will allow us to use our limited resources for the greatest impact, create space for new leaders, improve our own thinking and approach to our work, confront injustice and cultivate a culture of compassion at Crag. We can use our power and position as a leader in our community to promote these values and remain focused on the needs of our clients.

 

Our Commitments:

  • We will prioritize time and resources to support equity and inclusion within our organization and with our clients, our supporters, and our community.
  • We will recruit, train, and mentor diverse staff, board members, interns and volunteers.
  • We will acknowledge our privilege and step back, listen, and help to elevate diverse voices.
  • We will challenge assumptions about community values, the relationships of people to the land and how ecosystems function.
  • We will remain client-focused.

Crag staff worked collectively to draft this statement over the course of multiple collaborative, guided brainstorming sessions. We challenged ourselves to be brave in naming injustice, privilege, and racism in our statement and solidified our group understanding of the EDI themes we identified in an effort to more meaningfully integrate these into our work. We consider this an ongoing process. If you would like additional information about how we developed our statement and how we keep our work centered in these values, you can read more here.