History and Accomplishments
The inspiration for Friends of the Columbia Gorge came at a July 1980 picnic put on by The Committee to Save the Gorge at The Shire, a property across from Multnomah Falls and owned by John Yeon. The committee brought together a group of concerned citizens to discuss federal protection of the Columbia River Gorge.
A few months later, Friends of the Columbia Gorge was launched and it set in motion efforts for a bi-state, congressionally designated area. In 1986, Friends helped secure the passage of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act to create comprehensive and consistent Gorge protection across six counties and two states.
Since passage of the National Scenic Area Act, Friends has helped worked to ensure the bringing of more than 38,000 acres of private land into public ownership; commented on approximately 250 development applications in the Gorge per year; and educated the public about the Gorge with more than 100 free hikes annually. In 2005, Friends created Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) supporting organization to acquire critical lands in the Columbia Gorge. Since then, the land trust has acquired through purchase and donation nearly 1,000 acres of land.
Today, Friends of the Columbia Gorge is the only non-profit organization dedicated entirely to protecting the Columbia River Gorge. With a staff of 13, offices in Portland and Hood River, and over 5,000 members, Friends of the Columbia Gorge is uniquely suited to ensuring that the wild and beautiful Columbia Gorge remains a place apart, an unspoiled treasure for generations to come.
|1980||Friends of the Columbia Gorge founded.|
|1981||Friends’ lawsuit blocks 21-lot Rizor subdivision directly across from Multnomah Falls.|
|1986||Friends’ intensive lobbying with numerous conservation groups leads to passage of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act.|
|1990||Friends intervenes in lawsuit challenging constitutionality of the Scenic Area Act. U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, ending the threat.|
|1992||Friends intervenes in first major "takings" lawsuit. The Birkenfeld lawsuit is dismissed by the U.S. District Court.|
|1997||Friends works with the Fair Deal Committee, a Gorge landowner group, to secure $8 million in federal funding to purchase scenic and sensitive lands.|
|1998||Friends works with 30 other organizations, businesses and individuals to create the Columbia River Gorge Vision 2000 Campaign.|
|1998||Friends works with the Washington Division of Natural Resources to adopt the Columbia Gorge Forest Protection Rules, creating stronger logging standards in Washington State.|
|1999||Friends successfully lobbies Oregon Governor Kitzhaber to reject a proposed casino on Government Rock at Cascade Locks.|
|2000||Friends opens its first Gorge-based office and hires its first Gorge-based field organizer.|
|2002||Friends launches Lewis & Clark Landscapes Project and works with others to secure $5 million for federal land acquisition for 2003.|
|2002||Friends convinces the U.S. Forest Service to remove cattle from the Sandy River Delta and allow a public process and environmental assessment prior to issuing new permits.|
|2003||Friends works with local residents to persuade Washington State Parks Commission to lift the temporary closure of the 31-mile Klickitat Trail and allow public access.|
|2005||Friends establishes the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust.|
|2007||Oregon Court of Appeals upholds a Friends legal victory, confirming that Oregon’s Ballot Measure 37 does not apply within the National Scenic Area.|
|2009||Friends and allies convince UPC/First Wind to cancel its proposal to build the massive Cascade Wind energy project on Sevenmile Hill, thus protecting Gorge vistas and wildlife habitat.|
|2009||Friends works with others to convince the U.S. Congress to pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, including more than 22,000 protected acres in the National Scenic Area.|
|2009||Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust raises $4.2 million for the Campaign for Cape Horn, to secure two rim-view properties to allow public access and recreation at Cape Horn.|
|2009||Oregon Supreme Court rules in favor of Friends’ claim that the National Scenic Area Management Plan fails to prevent the cumulative adverse effects of development on natural and cultural resources.|
|2010||Friends and allies block the proposed shipment of 150,000 tons of garbage annually from Hawaii through the Gorge to a landfill in Klickitat County.|
|2011||Friends and allies secure the closure of PGE’s Boardman coal power plant by 2020, phasing out the biggest source of air pollution affecting the Gorge and establishing a $2.5 million environmental fund.|
|2011||Friends celebrates the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and the grand opening of the Cape Horn Loop Trail and the Nancy Russell Overlook.|
|2011||Friends and allies celebrate the breaching of Condit Dam, the first step in restoring a free-flowing White Salmon River.|
|2011||Friends stops the approval of a massive casino resort in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.|
|2012||The Oregon Court of Appeals holds that the Gorge Commission failed to protect natural and cultural resources from cumulative adverse effects.|