About OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

Our mission: Building power for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in our communities.

Environmental Justice addresses how people experience the lived environment. Some areas are safe and healthy, while other areas are not. Not everyone has equal access to clean air, soil and water. Some of us lack safe housing, roadways, sidewalks, and bus stops. Some don’t have green spaces, active transit, and mass transit in our community. Some of us face disproportionate impacts due to climate change. Displacement ravages many of us. To make matters worse, decision-making on these issues often excludes our input.

Fighting Institutional Inequality

Environmental Injustice comes from systemic, historic discrimination, displacement, violence, and exploitation. Race, class, and social status impact our lived environments. OPAL amplifies the voices of negatively-impacted individuals to address inequalities. We are building a movement for Environmental Justice led by those who are most impacted. OPAL ensures decision-makers cannot ignore the experiences of the people who have the most to gain, or lose, from policy outcomes.

OPAL stands for Organizing People, Activating Leaders.

Founded in 2006 by and for people of color and low income, OPAL is the grassroots-driven hub at the center of our region’s movement for Environmental Justice. We develop community members’ leadership skills, and motivate them to take action. Together, we lead campaigns, impact public processes, and win victories in policy and procedure to achieve a safe and healthy environment where we live, work, learn, play, and pray. We have an 11-year history of making change at all levels of decision-making, from neighborhood-scale improvements to Federal policy shifts. Our work has been nationally recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency and Poverty USA, and statewide by the Oregon Public Health Institute. Decision-makers across Oregon recognize the vital importance of OPAL’s role in shaping the future of this region.