It’s no Mt. Everest, but summiting Eugene’s Mt. Pisgah (elev. 1,531 feet) with lawyers from 25 countries poses its own challenges. Some forgot to pack hiking boots, but did fine with shoes better suited to the courtroom.
The field trip is a favorite part of ELAW annual meetings and this year’s trip was enjoyed by all.
Our day started with a tour of the West Eugene wetlands with Neil Bjorklund. the city’s Parks and Open Space Planning Manager. As if on cue, it started pouring rain when we reached the overlook. As geese landed and birds flitted through the grasses, Neil shared the interesting story of Eugene’s nationally-recognized efforts to protect 3,000 acres of wetlands, including the restoration of hundreds of acres that had been previously converted into a grass seed farm.
ELAW’s partners got a break from the conference table yet continued collaborating — this time under umbrellas.
Paris Jackson at KEZI-TV braved the rain and filed the following report:
After lunch at Fifth Street Market, we continued on to Buford Park Arboretum and Mt. Pisgah. Led by Tom LoCascio, Mt. Pisgah Site Manager, most of the group fanned out along the trail to the top and enjoyed sweeping views over Eugene and the Cascade foothills as the clouds temporarily lifted. Fernando Dougnac, perhaps South America’s most famous environmental attorney, was the last to reach the top.
Someone teasingly shouted, “Fernando, great to see you, but it’s time to head back down!”
Compared to the climb, the descent was easy. Fernando brought up the rear with 2008 Goldman Prize winner Pablo Fajardo from Ecuador. He learned about Pablo’s work representing indigenous communities and settlers in the Amazon who are suffering from 30 years of pollution from multinational oil operations. Fernando has been successful challenging multinational logging operations in Chile, so they had much to share.
The rain came down again as the group retreated to the White Oak Pavilion where Bruce Newhouse, botanist with Salix Associates showed slides of Mt. Pisgah’s impressive birds, butterflies and native plants.
ELAW Communications Director