Portland/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 05, 2024
Oregon Bolsters Environmental Leadership with New Additions to Quality CommissionSource: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Oregon's battle for environmental probity is notching up with the appointment of two key figures to the state's Environmental Quality Commission. In what's mostly seen as a boost for sustainability enthusiasts, Matt Donegan and Karen Moynahan are the freshly tapped minds to drive Governor Kotek's green agenda forward. The inclusion of Donegan, who's got his fingerprints all over various sustainability boards and business councils, seems as strategic as it's timely. He's been vocal about his honor to help advance Governor Kotek’s environmental agenda, specifically his spotlight on the climate protection program—an area he's previously tackled as the head of Oregon’s Wildfire Response Council, as mentioned in an official DEQ announcement.

Donegan's history with the wildfire crisis is robust. His leadership in fostering public-private partnerships played out in a two-year effort that brought multiple stakeholders to the table, as stated in the same DEQ release. The goal is to fan the flames of a comprehensive wildfire response for Oregon. This work spiraled into historic wildfire legislation, a nod to his capability to stoke strategic synergy among federal agencies, scientists, and business leaders.

Joining Donegan is Karen Moynahan, a legal eagle veteran with over three decades of sparring in the courtrooms over environmental issues. With an equally impressive résumé, her previous role as Chief Deputy City Attorney for Portland threw her into the deep end of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site issues—she's not just paddling and making waves but navigating through the legal intricacies of state and federal cleanup laws. Moynahan's experiences likely make her a juggernaut in this realm. "I believe my lifelong experience in environmental matters, including as legal counsel to State environmental regulators and to the City of Portland in its dual roles of potentially responsible party and environmental steward in the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, has prepared me well for this new role in high-level environmental policymaking. I am honored to serve Oregonians and will do my best to surpass the Governor's expectations of me in this important position.” she professed, as noted in the DEQ's statement.

Leah Feldon, DEQ Director, has expressed eagerness to work with the pair, anticipating the important perspective they’ll bring as the Commission weighs the environmental needs of various communities. While Kathleen George and Sam Baraso step down after dual terms, Baraso's set to stick it out through the summer, presumably ensuring the new recruits are well-forged for the road ahead, the DEQ release notes.

Public affairs specialist, Jennifer Flynt, stands by for buzz and queries on this chapter of Oregon's environmental crusade.