Since first opening its doors in 2001, Patagonia Portland has been a gathering place for outdoorspeople looking to gear up for mountain summits, camping trips, or simply surviving long, rainy winters in the Pacific Northwest. In that time the store has also become a focal point for environmental protection efforts both in Oregon and nationwide.
This is, of course, in keeping with the company’s overall commitment to environmental stewardship (Patagonia, Inc. raised over $10 million during its 2016 Black Friday sales, all of which is earmarked for environmental grants). But the Portland store in particular has made grassroots activism —and relationships with local conservation groups—part of its business model.
“As a brand promoting outdoor recreation, it’s a priority for us to help protect some of these wild places,” says Aaron Altshuler, manager of the Patagonia Portland store. “Ultimately, the wellbeing of these ecosystems is vital not only to our health as local residents, but also to the health of the entire outdoor industry.”
To this end, Wild Salmon Center and Patagonia Portland have worked together for over five years to conserve some of Oregon’s most important wild salmon and steelhead watersheds—many of which can be found in the nearby Tillamook, Clatsop, and Elliott State Forests. Since 2012, the store has helped WSC convene conservation-minded locals and drive action by hosting outreach events, funding educational short films, sponsoring outings to focus watersheds, and donating gear for special giveaways and fundraising campaigns.
Most recently, Patagonia Portland stepped up as major supporters of WSC’s efforts to prevent the sale of Oregon’s Elliott State Forest to a private logging company. The store highlighted the Elliott issue during the unveiling of its new downtown location, made a special $10,000 grant in support of the campaign, and hosted a night of activism to educate Portlanders about the Elliott and inspire them to contact their elected officials.
“We’re thrilled to support WSC’s work and to provide a platform where they can amplify their voice, bring people together, and inspire greater protection for these places that will benefit our kids and grandkids,” says Altshuler. “Old-growth forests, clean rivers, and abundant fish are hallmarks of the Pacific Northwest – and we want to make sure it stays that way.”
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