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A night in Hood River, Oregon
by: Andy Maggi | May 3, 2011 - 10:56
While it has been a few days since I was in Hood River, I am still riding high from getting to meet one incredible volunteer who cares deeply about ensuring Oregon is a great place to live, play and raise children.
Several weeks ago I was approached by Elaine Thompson from Hood River; I didn't know her, but I was quickly impressed. When I called her, Elaine immediately began to tell me her (and her daughter's) story about how they came to start working to ban single-use plastic checkout bags in Hood River.
Elaine and her daughter came to Portland one evening to see one of the screenings of "Bag It!" that OLCV and other conservation groups were sponsoring. She left the film knowing that something had to be done and when she got back to Hood River began to take action.
Quickly she went to her local movie theater and suggested they get the "Bag It" to screen there, and in a weeks time the film was scheduled. Elaine also knew that this would be a great opportunity to get folks plugged in to take action on the issues of plastics here in Oregon.
That is where OLCV comes into the picture. Elaine didn't really know about us, but she asked friends and they sent her our way. After a brief conversation on the phone, we knew we needed to get plugged into what was happening in Hood River.
The reality is that we had very little to do because Elaine, working with local activists and friends, was able to fill the theater for two showings of film on a Thursday night. OLCV was there to help with logistics and to be a resource for the community, but Elaine did the legwork.
I would also be leaving out a huge chunk of this story if I didn't also mention Elaine's daughter. Clearly the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. After seeing the film Elaine's daughter also began to take action of her own. She worked to give up plastic for Lent and before anyone asked she wrote letters to both her state Senator and state Represntative asking them to help ban the bag in Oregon.
I can't say enough about how great it was to work with Elaine and to meet her. Not only did she make a difference in her local community she has since joined OLCV to help continue her work. I am also completely impressed by how easy it is for just one person in one town to make such a huge difference for critically important issues.
To read Elaine's full story check out her profile on the OLCV website.
Thanks for everything that you do!
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In my role on the Clackamas County OLCV steering committee, I am presented with new and exciting avenues of personal engagement in environmental conservation and political action.
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