October 26, 2011
Oregon Natural Desert Association
Oregon Natural Desert Association, Portland, OR
I had the pleasure of spending the summer working with the attorneys for the Oregon Natural Desert Association. ONDA is an environmental group based in Bend, and as its name suggests, its members advocate for the state’s desert environments. Though much of this land is little-known to most, beautiful and unique locations in the Oregon high desert abound.
For many years, ONDA has been instrumental in the protection of these special places both through policy work and litigation. Its lawyers have been remarkably successful in cases addressing issues like endangered species, off-road vehicle use, wilderness, grazing management, and wild and scenic rivers, among others.
Much of my work this summer involved Steens Mountain and the surrounding areas south of Burns. Specifically, I researched administrative and environmental law to support a challenge to a long-term juniper removal project there, and reviewed environmental impact analyses for a proposed industrial-scale wind energy development within the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. I was also fortunate to spend 5 days hiking and camping on Steens Mountain with a group of desert enthusiasts in August. All of these were valuable and meaningful experiences.
I am grateful to PILP for its role in providing me the opportunity to help defend one of Oregon’s most iconic and stunning places, and appreciative of ONDA’s dedication to preserving some of the wildest remaining places in the country.