Defending Communities

Our Communities Program is focused on preserving the places where Pacific Northwesterners live, work and play. Since 2001, Crag has worked with clients to protect their communities from unsustainable development that could damage the scenic beauty, local environment, and character of population centers across the region. Many people lack tools to effectively engage in decision-making processes that directly affect their lives.  Communities of color and low-income communities often experience a disproportionate share of the negative impacts of pollution and industrial development.

Our work supports public participation in local decision-making, helping to elevate the voices of those most impacted by governmental decisions.

Our Communities Program is focused on land use advocacy, environmental justice, environmental health (pollution), and protection of Oregon’s coastal resources through the Coastal Law Project.

Land Use

Over 40 years ago, Oregon adopted a land use system that aimed to protect farm and forestlands from urban sprawl, ensure fact-based review of land use decisions, and encourage community participation in the land use process. We support local residents and conservation groups who are invested in making sure Oregon’s farm and forestlands are maintained for rural uses through litigation and local action. In recent years, we have been working with a variety of community-based organizations to explore ways Oregon’s iconic land use program can be implemented as a tool for achieving environmental justice.

Environmental Justice

 Communities of color, Tribes, and low-income communities often experience a disproportionate share of the negative impacts of pollution and industrial development. Taking the lead from our clients and partners who are working in these communities, Crag helps strengthen organizing efforts by educating and advocating for legal solutions to remedy disparate impacts of environmental pollution. Crag’s first environmental justice case challenged under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to respond to complaints from the Rosemere Neighborhood Association in Washington. We have continued environmental justice work since that first landmark victory, including representing native communities in Alaska and Oregon to protect subsistence hunting and cultural values.

Environmental Health

Crag works with local residents, community organizations, and conservation groups to hold industry and local governments accountable for polluting our air, land, and water.  When industrial facilities violate permit requirements under the Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act, risking the health of local communities by degrading water and air quality, Crag seeks to enforce permit requirements in court.  Additionally, Crag advises clients on state-wide efforts to reform pollution prevention and control regulations.  By working to reform state legislation and enforce current laws and regulations, Crag strives to protect human and environmental health of current and future generations.

What We’re Working On

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