How We’re Advocating for Land Trusts this Legislative Session

Our 2023 Oregon Legislative Priorities

Today marks the first day of Oregon’s 2023 Legislative Session—running from January 17 to June 25, 2023. For the next 160 days, COLT will be tracking bills and hearings in Salem and working to represent land trust interests in Oregon.

This year we are focused on policies and programs that protect working farm, ranch, and forest lands and increase funding for land acquisition.

Session Background

This year we have a new Governor, new leadership in the Senate, and many new legislators experiencing their first in-person session. 

Here is what you need to know: 

  1. Governor Tina Kotek’s top priorities include housing and homelessness, mental health and addiction care access, and education. Here is a list of her new staff.
  2. The Oregon Senate has new leadership, electing Rob Wagner (D- Lake Oswego) for Senate President, Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) as the new Majority Leader, and Tim Knopp (D- Bend ) as Senate Minority Leader.
  3. In the House, Rep. Dan Rayfield (D- Corvallis) will hold the speaker’s gavel. Rep Vikki Breese Iverson (R- Prineville) is the House Republican Leader and Rep. Julie Fahey (D- West Eugene and Veneta) will serve as the House Democratic Leader.
  4. There are 6 new members of the Oregon Senate and 21 new members in the Oregon House of Representatives.
  5. It’s budget season! We expect the Governor to release her Recommended Budget (GRB) on February 1st. This budget will fund Oregon programs and Agency Budgets for 2023-2025, and will be adjusted and then adopted by the Oregon legislature.

Oregon’s State Priorities

Priority 1. Continue funding for the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP). COLT is partnering with conservation and agricultural groups across Oregon to continue funding for OAHP grants and administration. Learn more about this important program.

  • POP 115: $800,000 for administration of the OAHP 
  • POP 215: $10 million in general funds for OAHP grants.  

Priority 2. Provide additional staff capacity for Oregon’s Forest Legacy program. With an additional $700 million for Forest Legacy in the Inflation Reduction Act, this POP will increase Oregon’s ability to get forest conservation projects across the finish line. Learn more about Forest Legacy in action in Oregon.

  • POP 100: Increase Forest Legacy Program Coordinator position from 0.75 FTE to 1.0 FTE. 


Priority 3. Ensure Safe Drinking Water in Oregon. COLT is supporting HB 2813 (Owens/Helm), a bipartisan bill that would establish a grant program for water suppliers to protect, restore, or enhance sources of drinking water. HB 2813 will help communities and water suppliers secure plentiful drinking water, increase resilience to climate change, and provide state funding to match and leverage private and federal funding to protect water resources and public health- while maintaining working forests and their economic benefits.

Get Involved

COLT will be sharing out regular updates and intel as the legislative session continues, but we need you in our corner during this session. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Sign up for our e-news to receive biweekly legislative wrap-ups as well as regular conservation news, jobs, and grant opportunities. 
  • Sign up for our Action Alert email list to receive in-depth session readouts and opportunities for advocacy action. 

Questions? Reach out to me at!

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Karsyn Kendrick

Karsyn Kendrick

Karsyn Kendrick is COLT's Conservation Program Manager

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