Soon after graduating from Pacific U., I signed up as one of the first volunteers to join the Oregon Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Our main priority was retiring Oregon’s only coal-fired power plant, the Boardman facility — and I soon became a member of the volunteer steering committee coordinating grassroots activism in support of this goal.
My most important work with the campaign involved doing outreach to student groups at schools including Linfield College, Pacific University, Mount Hood Community College, Clark College, University of Oregon, Lewis and Clark College, McMinnville High School, and others, to engage students by inviting them to attend hearings, contact decision-making officials, and pass student government resolutions in favor of closing the Boardman plant for good. I also participated in Sierra Club strategy sessions that charted a course for the campaign, and attended Sierra Club trainings for volunteers to improve my activist skills.
In 2010, the Oregon Beyond Coal campaign succeeded in securing a retirement date for the Boardman coal plant, winning a precedent-setting victory that gave momentum to the Sierra Club’s national push to phase out U.S. coal power.