Communication Director

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

Hours: 40 hours per week Location: Portland, OR Status: Exempt Supervisor: Executive Director



Friends of the Columbia Gorge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the spectacular landscapes within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Friends of the Columbia Gorge, along with its 509(a)(3) support organization Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, uses advocacy, litigation, public outreach, land acquisition and trail building to protect and enhance the Columbia Gorge. Founded in 1980, Friends of the Columbia Gorge has over 6,000 members in Oregon, Washington and beyond, a staff of seventeen permanent employees and offices in Portland and Hood River, OR and Washougal, WA. View our 2015-18 Strategic Plan.   Friends is one of the best conservation non-profit organizations to work for in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been recognized as one of the 100 Best Places to Work for in Oregon by the Portland Business Journal and our average tenure per employee is over seven years. Staff appreciates the compelling mission as well as generous vacation time and holidays, generous health insurance coverage (98% of individual benefit covered and 50% coverage for spouses and dependents), short and long-term disability insurance and an employer-contributed retirement plan. The organization even conducts day-long quarterly outings to Gorge sites to learn, enjoy and recharge.  

Summary of Position

With the threats and opportunities the Columbia Gorge faces on a daily basis, the organization is in need of a first-rate storyteller, a person who oversees the communications of both Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. The communications director will use all forms of channels and tools available including earned media, social media, marketing and organizational branding. The communications director will promote and respond to mission-related issues faced in the Columbia Gorge, as well as strengthen and broaden the brand identity of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust with members, stakeholders and general public. We are looking for an outstanding writer, visionary thinker, strong leader and gracious team player. This position interacts with all programs across a fast-paced organization.  


Strategy and Planning 

Develop and implement an organizational communications plan to advance strategic goals as well as the organizational brand identity.

Work with the board of directors, land trust trustees and staff providing the training and tools necessary to ensure they are effective communication ambassadors.

Ensure print, digital and verbal communications conform to standards laid out in communications plan.

Identify emerging communication strategies and recruit consultants and volunteers to assist in improving communication efforts. 

Earned Media Relations and Outreach

Build and maintain media presence and visibility, proactively seeking out and securing earned-media coverage.

Cultivate relationships with media reporters, editors and bloggers; field media inquiries.

Draft and distribute press releases, advisories and statements; prepare press materials and organize press events as necessary.

Develop occasional paid-media campaigns and help identify funds to market them. 

Program Communications

Develop and work with program staff to implement project-specific outreach and communications efforts, including effective messaging and communication strategies.

Provide support to organizational spokespeople as they work with the media regarding mission-related issues, challenges and opportunities. 

Social Media Outreach

Ensure social-media activities achieve goals of the communications plan in terms of creative content, messaging and audiences.  


With the support of consultants, staff, board and trustees, lead a marketing and branding process and incorporate outcomes into communications plan.     


Supervise outreach and communications staff, as well as contractors and consultants as necessary. 

Required Skills, Experience and Abilities

Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing a comprehensive strategic communications, media relations and marketing program to advance an organization’s mission and goals.

At least five years of experience with communications and media relations.

Knowledge of environmental issues and a commitment to protecting and enhancing the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interact with Friends’ staff, board and members.   

Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience

Application Instructions: 

Application Guidelines:

Email résumé, cover letter and writing samples to with “Communications Director” in the subject line. Applications accepted until February 17, 2017. No phone calls please.