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Public Interest Law Project

Kara Tebeau

June 01, 2013

Crag Law Center

This summer the Public Interest Law Project funded my work at Crag Law Center in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to work at Crag because of their nonprofit mission of providing “legal aid for the environment.” I learned about Crag through their . representation of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, fighting to get detrimental logging road stormwater discharges regulated as point sources under the Clean Water Act. 

During my internship, I had the opportunity to ground-truth with Crag at several sites of concern, such as Oxbow Springs, where Nestle is attempting to privatize water resources to supply a proposed bottling plant in the Columbia Gorge; the slopes of Mt. Hood, where Crag is working to protect sensitive stream habitats from landscape erosion; and Jordan Cove, in Coos County, where Crag is working to hold the Jordan Cove Energy Project accountable for the promises it has made about proposed liquefied natural gas terminal. 

At Crag, I sharpened my legal writing skills by having the opportunity to clerk, one on one, for Crag Staff Attorney Courtney Johnson. Under her guidance, I researched multiple land use issues, commented on a draft environmental assessment, drafted a motion, and wrote part of a petition for review to the Land Use Board of Appeals, in addition to memo-style writing. I primarily worked in the service of Crag’s client Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, whose mission is to preserve the natural communities, ecosystems and landscapes of the Oregon coast while conserving the public’ access. I was appreciative of Crag’s willingness to incorporate me into the culture and activities of practice, by including me in staff meetings, fundraising programming, client meetings, site visits, hearings, and conferences on topics related to their current projects. Additionally, I had the opportunity to present oral testimony on behalf of Oregon Shores regarding the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay. 

Without PILP’s support, my position this summer would have been unfunded. My summer with Crag was intensive, and highly educational in a hands-on way. PILP’s support allowed me to engage in a rewarding experiential learning opportunity.