Director Ron Oberg has had a long and rich relationship with the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, starting years before he was appointed to the Board as an Associate Director in 2009. “I’ve always had a deep love of conservation,” says Oberg,” and collaboration and partnership has been central to everything I’ve done over the years.” His relationship-based working style and wealth of professional experience has made him a valuable addition to the District Board and has helped guide the advancement of the District.
Strength in Partnership
Deeply involved over the years with the Clackamas County Fair Board, OSU Extension and the North Willamette Research and Education Center, Oberg says that he is most proud of the deep relationships the District has formed with these important organizations in our region. “These partnerships strengthen the District and we are able to accomplish so much more by working together.”
As an engaged community member, Oberg supported the work of the District for many years and helped the District secure stable conservation funding via a tax base approved by voters in 2006. In 2009, he was appointed as an Associate Director to the District Board. In July 2010, after fulfilling the necessary requirements to become a Board Director, Oberg was appointed to a vacant seat as Zone 2 Director, representing Oregon City, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, and the County’s urban/rural interface. He was elected to this same office in November 2010 for a two-year term, and re-elected in 2012 for a four-year term, during which time he served as Treasurer, and more recently, Board Chair.
Farmer, Writer, Educator, Public Servant
Oberg’s family has agricultural roots and his love of the land was formed at his grandparent’s farms in Parkdale and Hillsboro. After completing military service in the Marine Corps and graduating from Oregon State University, he began his own farming career on 700 acres in Central Oregon, growing a wide diversity crops including peppermint, garlic, wheat, and alfalfa. For many years he supplemented his farming income as a free-lance writer for a host of agricultural periodicals and newspapers including the Capital Press, Farm Journal, Mother Earth News, the Small Farm Journal, and the Oregonian. His writing career eventually led him to be the editor for the Clackamas Review where he worked until 1993.
Oberg holds a B.S. in Microbiology was working towards his Masters Degree in Agricultural Education from Oregon State University when he was hired to teach at Clackamas Community College. He taught agri-business and helped to start the Part-time Farmers Program, an earlier form of the currently popular and successful Small Farm School, an annual event produced jointly by OSU Small Farms Program, Clackamas Community College and the Clackamas SWCD. He is proud of the combined technical and hands-on experience offered by the event. “It’s important to teach people how to do things the right way so they can be successful,” he notes. “Healthy land and an effective skill set makes for a better farming experience.”
In 1993, Oberg was hired as the first public information officer for Clackamas County, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. Deeply committed to serving his community, he also acted as a Public Affairs Officer for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and nurtured his Happy Apple Farm in Oregon City during his tenure with the County. He happily continues to farm today, producing vegetables, herbs, eggs, apples, and vegetable starts for over 40 families in Clackamas County.
Director Oberg helped write The Rural Living Guide and other documents that have been valuable to District residents over the years. During his tenure as Chair, the Board acquired the Beavercreek Demonstration Farm where he envisions ongoing educational and agricultural opportunities for the District and its many partners. “The District is doing such good work, and I can’t speak highly enough of our staff,” he noted proudly. “They possess an incredibly high level of expertise and folks who work with them are happy to spread the word about our work in the community.”