Don Guttridge is the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Zone 5 Director. Zone 5 covers the eastern side of Clackamas County and includes the communities of Estacada, Springwater, and Colton. Director Guttridge was first elected to represent citizens in Zone 5 during the 1994 general election. He was re-elected to a new four-year term in November, 2022.
Almost 30 years on the CSWCD Board of Directors
“The Conservation District was very different when I first joined,” says Guttridge. “When I was elected, we had one, half-time employee, the district manager.” He noted that the annual budget at that time was $10,000 and that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided much of the District’s direction and guidance. As a result of the 1996 flood, Emergency Watershed Protection funds catapulted the District into a larger conservation leadership role in Clackamas County.
Guttridge has been instrumental in the growth of the District. He helped to secure stable conservation funding via a tax base approved by voters in 2006. This support from local citizens has resulted in quality, on-the-ground projects in both rural and urban Clackamas County. The District has been recognized many times for excellence by local, state, and national entities.
A Commitment to Service and Conservation
Director Guttridge’s relationship with the District extends beyond his service on the Board. His father, Joseph Guttridge, served two terms on the Board of Directors until he retired in 1995. Both his maternal and paternal family lines have a long history in Springwater, where their family property was designated a Century Farm in 1974 by Governor Tom McCall. The family has raised horses and cattle and has grown Christmas trees and hay. Director Guttridge and his family continue to farm the property today. He has great hopes that the property will continue to stay in agriculture in the future.
Trained as a draftsman and designer, Director Guttridge also served in the Marine Corps Reserve for 13 years. He is currently the self-employed owner of Springwater Design where he develops home and remodel plans with an emphasis on energy conservation and sustainability. “I always promote conservation ideals with my clients,” says Guttridge. He generously shared his knowledge and expertise as Chair of the District’s Building Committee. His input was invaluable in the design and construction of the District’s Conservation Resource Center in Beavercreek.
Engaged and Involved in the Community
Director Guttridge currently serves on the Beavercreek Demonstration Farm Guidelines and Budget Committees. Over the years, he has served in every role on the Board of Directors, including Board Chair, and is currently Board Secretary. “It’s been a joy to watch the positive and upward movement of the Conservation District here in Clackamas County,” he shares.
Guttridge takes great pride in the District’s growth from a sole, part-time employee to a highly professional staff of nineteen. “I’m gratified by how many valuable projects we’ve undertaken for the people of Clackamas County,” he notes. “I’m also proud of the way our Board of Directors has positioned ourselves for further success in the future.”
In addition to raising beef cattle and growing hay, Guttridge manages woodland acreage with other members of his family. In 2018, they were awarded recognition as the Clackamas Woodland Farmer of the Year. Guttridge is a 7th Degree Grange member and currently serves as Assistant Steward at the Springwater Grange. He has also participated in a local theater group!
Well-Positioned for the Future
Guttridge is very excited about the District’s new Conservation Resource Center in Beavercreek. “We’ll now be able to bring people in and demonstrate various conservation practices and techniques,” he says. “Some people learn fine from a webpage or video, but other people need to see it, feel it, and experience it in application. I see it as a one-stop shop for people who are interested in conservation to come and see how it’s done.”
The Conservation Resource Center includes ponds, ditches, wildlife habitat, riparian buffers, pastures, and a wood lot. “We can demonstrate it all,” he notes. “When people come in to meet with a planner, they can see right here what the practice looks like.” He anticipates the District adding permeable pavers, rainwater catchment , and other urban practices as well.
Guttridge is glad to have a permanent home for the District. “Having our equipment, our programs, and our demonstrations on one site is so valuable.” He adds, “Not having money going down the hole as rent is a smart investment. Long term, it will give us more money for our programs and the people of Clackamas County.”
Don Guttridge, Your Elected Representative
Guttridge encourages people to reach out to him regarding conservation concerns in Zone 5.