Background image of Gail Achterman standing by ODOT vehicle (image courtesy of: ODOT via Flickr)

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An Oregon champion

Gail Achterman, a force for conservation.

Oregon lost a force for conservation with the passing of Gail Achterman this past weekend.

Her career spanned the better part of 40 years in OR as a natural resource lawyer for Stoel Rives, a natural resource advisor to Governor Goldshmidt during much of the heated battles over the spotted owl, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy, and director of the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU. (More on her life and achievements is here.) Gail was a role model for women working in conservation and for me personally. Through personal and professional connections with Gail, I grew to know her as someone who cared deeply about the conservation of natural systems and the outdoors. She was a powerful leader, and she always had a big, warm smile and took the time to stop and check in with friends and colleagues even when on her way to her next appointment (or hike). Oregon is a better place because of Gail. She will be missed.