MORE ABOUT MICHELLE EMMONS
"Michelle has inspired me through the years with her strength of conviction, her care and concern about the success of the partnerships she participates in, and her willingness to get dirty while getting things done. She walks her talk."
- Angela Stevens, Stevens Transport, Creswell, OR
I was grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and have served in public service for both urban and rural areas throughout the Willamette Valley. I am proud to be an Oregonian of 45+ years! There's no place else I'd rather call home! I earned a BA in public relations from the University of Oregon, and over the course of my career, I have led numerous community development and advocacy initiatives. I have spent the last decade working in the upper Willamette watershed as an entrepreneur, educator, and supporter of clean, healthy rivers while tying together efforts to address social-environmental justice, economic development, and stewardship.
It has been difficult to watch my two daughters struggle living on a single average income that isn't enough to cover the rent, much less cover childcare costs or put food on the table without help. However, I'm aware that many people are all too familiar with this tale—especially in light of the additional challenges that come with living outside of cities. Working families shouldn't have to sacrifice quality of life just to access to essential services, which should be available to everyone, regardless where they live.
I believe deeply in PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS. In 2016, my husband and I temporarily relocated to Westfir part-time, eventually moving to Oakridge right before the pandemic began. We experienced "snowmageddon", flooding, and landslides during that time, which prevented us from accessing electricity, food, gas and other basic goods and services. However, our community came together ton ensure all our residents' well being and safety.
A couple years later, I helped our community successfully appeal a land use decision that would have prioritized a sizable private enterprise over the health of our township, threatening to deplete nearby groundwater sources and exacerbate air quality problems. And just last year, many of us evacuated our homes due to a wildfire, now working together to prepare and monitor properties for public safety concerns. No matter how bitter the politics, in each of these situations, our neighbors stood by each other and we continue to do so for the benefit of our greater community.
This is the true spirit of RURAL OREGON: it is this connectedness that drives me to keep working toward positive change and solutions to help elevate our communities, starting with our most vulnerable and underserved populations, while maximizing public resources to work for everyone, despite the hardship and partisanship of the past few years.
Please join me on this journey.
My professional experience spans more than 30 years of developing and executing communication strategies, community partnerships, and interactive events to aid in uniting people in celebration, education, or problem-solving. The culmination of this work, which ranged from real estate projects and business development to volunteer coordination and promoting non-profit causes like clean water and public lands stewardship, has been crucial in forming my leadership skills and creating space for viewpoints different from my own.
I was a late college graduate who earned my degree from the University of Oregon in 1999 while raising two children as a single parent and working three jobs. I am aware of how difficult it is for underserved students to take this path. I have also worked as a non-profit education coordinator, delivering in-classroom and field trip curriculum for several HD-12 school districts. I have seen firsthand the increasing difficulties that educators and students are having in attracting and retaining qualified teachers and specialized personnel and experienced the ack of infrastructure required to support high-quality learning experiences at school, on the job, or at home.
ADVOCACY & MARKETING
In my first professional career experience, I served as the marketing and advocacy director for downtown Eugene, where I promoted increased investment in public space, housing, and mixed-use commercial real estate while concentrating on public safety, beautification initiatives and business recruitment. Later, I worked for a national outdoor retailer, managing experiential marketing campaigns, community partnerships, and branding programs across the West Coast and beyond. Eventually, I established my own consulting, hospitality and events business, as well as dedicating the last decade to my current employer in support of equitable conservation policies, environmental education, outdoor recreation tourism, and working and natural lands stewardship.
Learn more about our campaign progress, get connected to important policies and issues, and join us for special events and opportunities to support and celebrate our HD12 communities together!