The Land Trust's first-ever engagement program manager, Rahul Devaskar, shares his experiences as someone new to the Northwest and his hopes for bringing people together.
When you move to the Northwest, you get used to a few things—strong coffee, rain, Subarus with a lot of bumper stickers—and slowly you realize just how unique the “Upper Left” region really is. I used to complain to a close friend of mine (another Bay Area transplant) that there wasn’t a decent chaat café or kottu roti in Oregon, and while of course he agreed, he continued to assure me that the best part of the Northwest was in the land.
“Wait until the summertime”, he’d say, “Wait until you get out into the Gorge.”
I’d never heard of it. I’d never really known where it was. Then finally while driving down Highway 14 for the first time during Columbia Land Trust’s Eagles, Salmon, & Tribal Treaty Rights field tour this past January, it all started to make sense. Even though we all come here at different times, with different attitudes, the common denominator is the region itself…Place Attachment is what people call it. We all have this in common.
Whether you’re first generation (like me), fifth generation, or generations immemorial, we all seem to appreciate this beautiful landscape, though maybe for different reasons. For some, the Northwest defines a way of life and for others, we’ve moved here to create a life. I want to know those stories. I want to know what can make people care enough about this place to ensure its ecological integrity for future generations.
Over the next few months, in my new role as Engagement Program Manager at Columbia Land Trust, I’m hoping to hear from you—the people. I want to understand why you care about this place, and more important, what first made you care. I hope we can find a time to sit down over a cup of coffee, and I can better understand why this region—why the Columbia River and its surrounding landscapes—matter to you.
Don’t be a stranger. Call me anytime (preferably after 8:00 a.m.) and let’s chat! At times, it may not seem like we are a collective people working together to protect the lands, waters, and wildlife of the Northwest, but we all play a role in the future of the Upper Left. Join me. Let’s be a part of a revolution.