Job Description: Community Engagement Specialist

Job Description: Community Engagement Specialist
Sunrise above Crown Point, seen from the Portland Women's Forum viewpoint. (photographer: Theresa Peterson)

This position is now closed.

Hours: 40 hours per week
Location: Portland or Hood River, OR
Status: Non-Exempt
Supervisor: Communications Director

Deadline for Application: Sept. 30, 2019


Friends of the Columbia Gorge was founded in 1980 and has over 6,500 members in Oregon, Washington, and beyond dedicated to preserving, protecting, and stewarding the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. With offices in Portland and Hood River, OR and Washougal, WA, the organization uses an array of tools (advocacy, litigation, land acquisition, and public education) to ensure the Columbia Gorge remains a wondrous and vibrant place. In 2005, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) support organization to acquire spectacular landscapes within the Columbia Gorge

Summary of Position

Building a large and diverse cross section of public support across the Pacific Northwest is critical to sustaining Friends' efforts to preserve the Columbia Gorge for future generations. Friends' Public Engagement team works to develop innovative and creative strategies and accompanying tools and tactics to effectively educate and engage the public in efforts to protect, preserve, and steward the Columbia Gorge. Friends' community engagement and youth education programs are vital tools in building a strong and diverse coalition of enthusiastic Gorge stewards.

The community engagement specialist will work with Friends' communication director—in cooperation with colleagues across Friends' teams—to design and implement community engagement efforts; manage Friends' outdoor youth education programs; plan and organize public events; and coordinate Friends public education projects—including participation in the regional Trailhead Ambassador and Ready, Set, Gorge coalitions.


Community Engagement
  • Organize public forums and community activities to increase public support for the Gorge.
  • Help cultivate strong, enduring community partnership opportunities to support Gorge conservation and stewardship initiatives.
  • Design and implement creative strategies to engage and elevate the voices of regional tribal partners, communities of color, and other historically marginalized groups around the Pacific Northwest on key Gorge conservation challenges.
  • Help develop Friends presentations and respond to Friends public speaking inquiries.
  • Develop effective tools and tactics to gather, analyze, and summarize community feedback.
Youth Education & Outreach
  • Manage Friends' outdoor youth education efforts.
  • Serve as primary liaison with school officials and other education partners.
  • Recruit, train, and retain outdoor youth education program volunteers.
  • Help support outdoor youth education-related communications and fundraising efforts.
Public Education & Strategic Communications
  • Manage Friends' public education and outreach initiatives.
  • Help develop effective systems and maintain metrics and to analyze and evaluate the impact, reach, and effectiveness of Friends and partner public education initiatives.
  • Develop, write, and edit engaging storytelling content (e.g. newsletter articles, web features/ blogs, social media posts, etc.) on the importance of protecting, preserving, and stewarding the Columbia River Gorge.
Special Projects
  • Work with development manager, outdoor programs & publications specialist, land stewardship coordinators, and other colleagues to help support ongoing efforts (events, presentations, etc.) to recruit and engage Friends' members, volunteers, and partners.
  • Assist communications director in support of Friends' diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Manage special communications and engagement projects; conduct research on issues and initiatives; and collaborate with colleagues to help advance Friends' public engagement initiatives through social media, advertising, media outreach, and other communication channels.

Required Qualifications

  • 4-6 year working or demonstrated experience in planning and implementing effective public engagement strategies that involve a variety of people and partners (could include work in community outreach or organizing; youth or outdoor/environmental education; communications and public education; or diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.)
  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in education, community development, conservation, communications, or other relevant field.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including public speaking and developing presentations.
  • Experience successfully managing programs and events with the ability to coordinate all aspects of organizing public meetings, workshops, or community events—including working effectively with a wide-range of people from diverse background and lived experiences.
  • Demonstrated problem solving and program evaluation experience.
  • Valid, insurable driver’s license.
  • Able to work some non-standard hours, including occasional evenings and weekends.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous experience as an educator or in another capacity instructing, designing or programs to engage youth in educational outdoor programs and/or teach students (grades 4-8) about ecology and other related natural sciences.
  • Existing networks or previous experience working with leadership and staff of community-based organizations serving Gorge residents and PNW tribal communities, communities of color, immigrant populations, LBGTQ communities, and youth organizations.
  • Multilingual: Fluent in Spanish or another language.
  • Commitment to the protection, preservation, and stewardship of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
  • Knowledge of the Pacific Northwest conservation and political climate.
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, and MailChimp or other targeted email system software a plus.

Compensation and benefits: $ range is $18.00 - $20.00 hourly, commensurate with experience and education. Excellent benefits include generous vacation time and holidays, generous health insurance for employee and dependents along with an employer-matched retirement plan.

EEO policy: Friends of the Columbia Gorge provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoffs, recalls, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Working environment: This position requires sitting or standing at a desk, using a computer, talking on the phone, driving, hiking, and participating in outdoor activities, as well as the ability to lift up to 30 pounds.

ADA statement: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

Application Guidelines

Please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample of fewer than 1,000 words to with Community Engagement Specialist in the subject line by Monday, September 30, 2019.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge is an equal opportunity employer.
Women, people of color, people with disabilities & LGBTQ+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.