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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Secretary Fagan, Goveror Kate Brown, Treasurer Tobias ReadEquity and inclusion values are woven throughout each of our strategic plan goals and focus projects. We embrace diverse backgrounds and experiences, actively identifying and addressing inequities toward people and lands, and engaging widely to provide inclusive public service and working environments.

Making Our Services and Information More Accessible 

We strive to provide equitable, fair, and inclusive service for everyone. We value prioritizing accessibility and transparency in the events and materials we provide, proactively communicating updates on the topics people are most interested in, and inviting feedback from the people we serve through regular surveying. “Exceptional Service” is one of our four strategic plan goals and is the focus of several large projects underway to increase access to our services, including: 
  • In 2024 the Department launched a redesigned website built to prioritize ease of access. We are continuing to work to enhance access to other digital resources online. 
  • The development of a modern permitting and information system is underway, and will offer a powerful database and an easy-to-use online service center by 2025. 
  • We are improving in-person services at the South Slough Reserve, including updated exhibits featuring inclusive representation with input from diverse communities. In 2023 construction began to upgrade the 30-year-old public restrooms: four separate restrooms that are fully accessible, non-gender specific, and energy efficient.

Engaging All Communities in Oregon

Listening to and working with communities that have been historically underrepresented in state government decision-making is key to successful and meaningful stewardship. In addition to ensuring documentation from the public process is easy to access online and sharing regular updates, we seek out public input through facilitating public forums, removing barriers to participation, and creating opportunities for diverse voices and perspectives to come forward. 

Working with Tribal Governments 

DSL is committed to our government-to-government relations with Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribal governments. This work is aligned with our values in collaboration, inclusion and natural resource stewardship. Read our latest Government-to-Government annual report here, and learn more about our work with Tribal governments here.

Collaborating on Environmental Justice

In 2022, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 4077 that codified the Environmental Justice Council (EJC) within the Office of the Governor. This statewide council is responsible for advising the Governor and state natural resource agencies on environmental justice issues. DSL is one of those thirteen participating agencies, and we are committed to protecting environmental justice communities from disproportionate environmental impacts. Learn more in our most recent Environmental Justice Annual Report to the Council.

Environmental justice is "equal protection from environmental and health risks, fair treatment and meaningful involvement in decision making of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration status, income or other identifies with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies that affect the environment in which people live, work, learn, and practice spirituality and culture.”​ (Oregon House Bill 4077​)

Environmental justice communities include communities of color, communities experiencing lower incomes, communities experiencing health inequities, tribal communities, rural communities, remote communities, coastal communities, communities with limited infrastructure and other communities traditionally underrepresented in public processes and adversely harmed by environmental and health hazards, including seniors,​​ youth, and persons with disabilities.​ (Oregon House Bill 4077​)​

The 2022 statute directs the Environmental Justice Council, with staff support from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority, to develop an environmental justice mapping tool. The purpose of this mapping tool is to provide geospatial information about impacts on environmental justice communities and to develop guidance for state agencies when adopting rules and policies. 

The act further requires the Council to follow an inclusive community engagement process to develop the mapping tool and directs it to establish technical collaboration with the Office of Enterprise Information Services; the Institute of Natural Resources at Oregon State University; and the Population Research Center at Portland State University to develop, maintain, and make the tool publicly available. ​

Fostering an Inclusive Workplace

We are proud to be members of the DSL team, and we all do our part to model our shared values, support professional growth and knowledge sharing, and make DSL a great place to work through a strong work-life balance. Our internal DEI Committee prioritizes a safe, inclusive, accessible, and belonging working environment for all. Our employees also attend trainings like Oregon’s Statewide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference.