In this installment of “Where are they Now?” we talked with Jennifer Bragar, who worked with Crag during her first year of law school from 2004-2005, and then summer of 2005.

Jennifer originally heard of Crag through current Crag board member, Aubrey Baldwin.  Aubrey was a year ahead of Jennifer at Lewis and Clark Law School, and suggested Crag as an organization where Jennifer could gain environmental law and land use planning legal experience.  Jennifer’s career and background before law school involved campaign management and land use consulting, and she knew she needed some on the ground experience in the land use legal arena.  She sought out Crag as a volunteer opportunity that aligned with her goals.

During her time at Crag, Jennifer worked with Ralph Bloemers, Chris Winter, and JD Brown.  She gained experience working on important cases during her time here.  For Jennifer, the most memorable project she worked on was opposition to a land use proposal to build 1,000 houses on the coast at Indian Point in Coos County.   She met with community members opposed to the development and took to heart the on the ground opportunity see how dramatic a change the construction of 1,000 new homes would be to the existing community and environment at Indian Point.

“I remember travelling to Coos County and learning about the delicate tidal ecosystem at Indian Point that would be devastated by the construction of 1,000 new homes.  I knew that this was the environmental protection work I had gone to law school to advocate for – the invisible voices heard in the crashing waves.”   

Jennifer researched and drafted the briefs to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), which were eventually heard and decided in favor of Crag and its clients.  Following her time at Crag, Jennifer served a one-year term on Crag’s board as a student board member.

Jennifer’s time at Crag allowed her to meet and develop relationships with people in the field and that relationship building lead to her employment as an attorney with Garvey Schubert Barer,where works with Ed Sullivan, who is considered one of the fathers of Oregon land use.  She makes sure to maintain  pro bono cases on her docket and works with the 1000 Friends of Oregon’s Coordinating Attorney Program to protect farmland from urban levels of development.  Jennifer is also the president of Housing Land Advocates, a non-profit that ensures that local land use planning includes set aside of land available for affordable housing.   In addition, Jennifer is a board member of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, where she brings the political side of advocacy back into her life.  Her time at Crag helped prepare Jennifer for all these responsibilities by teaching her the nuts and bolts of advocacy, as well as how to achieve the right tone, particularly for various decision makers at the local level, LUBA, and the Court of Appeals.

In the legal arena there is a range of private firms, and Jennifer’s made a good match with Garvey Schubert Barer – a firm that allows and supports its attorney to provide pro bono services and encourages young attorneys to participate on various boards and community service organizations.  She is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with Crag, both for private clients who align with Crag’s mission or by creating connections between the boards she serves on and the Crag team.  Professionally, Jennifer is most passionate about looking at and understanding the connection between affordable housing, transportation, and the environment; and believes we need to pay close attention to our impacts on the environment while planning for the infrastructure necessary to serve the residents of Oregon.

Erin Elliott is a rising junior at Duke University working with the Crag Law Center for the summer as part of the DukeEngage Portland program. She is majoring in biology with a minor in environmental science and policy.

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