It is with sincere well-wishes that we bid Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Investments Program Coordinator Eann Rains a fond farewell as she moves forward into retirement. Rains has been with the District since 2007 and her leaving will be deeply felt by all who have had the experience of working with her.
Staff and Partners Gather to Express Appreciation
District staff and partners from Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) gathered together on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, to express their appreciation for Rain’s long commitment to conservation. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many partners, colleagues, and cooperators with whom Rains had worked with over the years were unable to attend, but a tribute video permitted them to share their farewells and best wishes. Many took this virtual opportunity to note her highly regarded attention to detail, as well as her commitment to bringing a true sense of joy and comradery to the District and its relationships with others in the conservation community.
She earned statewide recognition in 2000 as Outstanding District Employee for Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Districts by the Natural Resources Division of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. This year she received a 20-year Length of Service Award from the Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network OCEAN).
Rains’ Conservation Career Spans Decades
Rains began her conservation career at East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) in 1996 as an EnviroCorp Coordinator. This program became the Americorp program during the Clinton administration. In 1998, she became the district administrator, overseeing payroll and acting as the interface between staff and the board of directors.
When EMSWCD received its tax base in 2007, they hired an official district manager and Rains took over management of their grants and cost share programs. She also contracted with Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) one day a week to manage their accounting system. Impressed with CSWCD’s staff and programs, she decided to join the District in late 2007.
As the Conservation Investments Coordinator, Rains established and coordinated grants, cost shares, and loan programs, including the District’s grant plus loan program. She also managed the District’s Equipment Rental Program and served on the Safety Committee. Her most recent achievement was the creation and implementation of the District’s Septic System Repair and Replacement Loan Program. This program uses revolving funds from the Department of Environmental Quality to provide interest free loans to property owners in Clackamas County who need to repair or replace their septic system.
Rains is widely recognized as being very detail oriented. “I love to connect the dots and follow through and make sure all of the documentation is in order. I’m risk averse and believe that it is important to do things correctly. I’m a splitter, not a lumper,” Rains notes.
“Conservation is in my Jeans”
Rains was heavily influenced by her family’s experience. “My grandfather was born in 1900 and in 1903 they moved to a 160-acre farm in central Nebraska. We had that farm for 90 years. He was affected by the Dust Bowl, which was the root of the soil and water conservation district movement. Lots of people lost their farms to insurance companies. Insurance companies hired him to implement conservation practices to help reduce soil loss from wind and water erosion.”
“He did a lot of stuff to help reduce erosion and promote the conservation of soil during and after the Dust Bowl to make those farms viable for use in the future. On our farm, we had a pasture, a big garden, alfalfa, hogs, cattle, and a feeder strip for deer and pheasant for hunting. Our pasture was NEVER plowed in the history of the property. Belts of trees were strategically planted to block the wind’s effect on cropland. Growing up, we visited the farm every year for vacation. I had a lot of respect for him and he was a big influence on me.”
“My parents taught me to hold the land in trust, give back to the community, and do a job so that you’d be proud to put your name on it,” says Rains. “Conservation is in my jeans”, she laughs. “Helping farmers to keep manure out of streams or to improve irrigation techniques to conserve water is consistent with the lessons passed down by my forefathers.”
Happy Trails to You, Eann!
Please join all of the staff and the District Board of Directors as we wish Eann a fond farewell and happy retirement. We are hoping there are a lot of fly fishing and dog dock diving competitions in her future. Her impact on our District and our community will be felt for years to come.
Fare thee well dear friend until our paths cross again!