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Gail Achterman Papers, 1975-2012

By Maya Bergmann, Ruth Vondracek, and Elizabeth Nielsen

Collection Overview

Title: Gail Achterman Papers, 1975-2012

Predominant Dates: 2003-2011

ID: MSS Achterman

Primary Creator: Achterman, Gail L.

Extent: 1.35 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Gail Achterman Papers are arranged into 5 series: 1. Master's Thesis, 1975; 2. Speeches, 2003-2011; 3. Environmental Action Materials, 1995-2012; 4. Journals, Notebooks and Planners, 2003-2011; and 5. Project Notes, 1987-2012.

Date Acquired: 02/10/2016

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Gail Achterman Papers consist of materials created by Oregon State University Institute of Natural Resources' creator and director Gail Achterman. Achterman led the institute from 2003 to 2011 and was renowned in the areas of natural resources and environmental law and policy. The collection chiefly consists of journals related to the Institute of Natural Resources and educational materials she shared during her time as director, as well as items pertaining to the Gail Achterman Willamette Legacy.

Scope and Content Notes

The Gail Achterman Papers are composed mainly of documents related to Achterman’s extensive outreach throughout Oregon. The collection includes notes from meetings, speeches, reports, and notebooks of her time as director of the Oregon State University Institute of Natural Resources (INR). This collection also houses her master’s thesis, notebooks on the Willamette project, as well as some of her personal rowing journals.

A sizable portion of this collection is made up of the notebooks Achterman kept while she was director of the Institute of Natural Resources. These notebooks include potential project ideas that she considered, research proposals, and notes for presentations and speeches and from meetings with various individuals. These notebooks span from September of 2003 to July of 2011.

Notably, this collection also contains her masters of science thesis on the judicial control over land classification policy as well as information on the courses that she helped develop or change during her time as INR director. It also houses the files on the proposal for the Natural Area of Hayden Island , which has been named the Gail Achterman Natural Area.

The speeches include a digital  video recording of a 2011 presentation by Achterman on the long-term impacts of a higher population on the Willamette Valley.   The born-digital recording is available for viewing in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Gail Achterman was born in Portland, Oregon on August 1, 1949 to Walter and Patricia Achterman. She attended and graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree with honors in economics. She went on to attend the University of Michigan to receive a law degree as well as a master’s degree in natural resource policy and management. She began working in Washington D.C. for the Office of Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Interior.

In 1978 she returned to Oregon and joined the Stoel Rivers, LLP law firm, specializing in natural resource and environmental law. She held a position there until 1987, when she assumed a position as the natural resources assistant to the governor of Oregon. In 2003, she began working at Oregon State University as the director of the Institute of Natural Resources (INR). She held this position with INR until 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, Achterman was also the chairperson of the Oregon Transportation Commission. In this position, she helped spread awareness about transportation laws, as well teaching others about the effects that motorized vehicles have on the environment. After retiring from Oregon State, she began her Willamette Strategies legacy project. The focus of this project is to promote awareness of our relationship with the Willamette Valley. Gail Achterman passed away on January 28, 2012.

Author: Maya Bergmann

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 4 boxes; 3.22 Gbytes (3 files)

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The materials were donated to Special Collections and Archives in 2016 by Christopher Achterman.

Related Materials: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds many collections documenting research and public policy pertaining to natural resources in Oregon and the region. Some photographs of Gail Achterman can be found in The Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society Records (MSS Wildlife). Achterman also appears in A Century of Oregon Forestry: Challenge, Change, and Opportunity, a DVD produced by the College of Forestry and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute that is part of the College of Forestry Moving Images (FV 061) . Her course lecture "Water rights: Law and ecology," is available in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department Films and Videotapes (FV 243).

Preferred Citation: Gail Achterman Papers (MSS Achterman), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: A flashdrive that was received with the collection included 73 files (in 18 folders) that totaled 3.22 Gbytes.  Only 3 of those files (3.22 Gbytes) have been described as part of the collection.


Achterman, Gail L.

People, Places, and Topics

Environmental policy--Oregon
Environmental protection--Planning
Natural Resources
Oregon State University--Research.
Oregon State University. Institute for Natural Resources
Oregon Transportation Commission
Research institutes--Oregon.
University History
Willamette River Valley (Or.)
Willamette River Watershed (Or.)

Forms of Material

Born digital.
Digital moving image formats.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Master's Thesis, 1975
Series 1 consists of Achterman’s Master of Science Thesis that she completed in 1975 at the University of Michigan, which focuses on the Judicial Control of Administrative Discretion in the Development of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land Classification Policy.
Box-Folder 1.01: Master of Science Thesis, 1975
Series 2: Speeches, 2003-2011
Series 2 consists of speeches that Achterman gave throughout her years as the director of the Institute of Natural Resources.
Box-Folder 1.02: Land Grant Speech, circa 2003
Box-Folder 1.03: Various Speeches, 2003-2004
Box-Folder 1.04: Transportation Lessons from Scandinavia, 2008
Box-Folder 1.05: Conservation to Sustainability Speech, 2010
Digital Folder 1: Bright Lights: Discussion of the City, 2011
Bright Lights: Discussion of the City, an event held on March 21st, 2011, features Gail Achterman speaking about “The Next Great Migration” that is expected to be seen in the Willamette Valley in the future. Achterman focuses on the affects that a higher population will have on the Willamette Valley, including a lack of water, higher temperatures, and changes in population distribution. Achterman presents a project called Conservation 2050, which is a Land-Use Planning System that approaches a way to maintain the current condition of the Willamette Valley, while also preparing for a 5-million-person increase in the Valley’s population. This digital folder consists of three digital files of Achterman presenting this plan;  the first clip documents her speech, while the second and third show her answering questions from the audience.  The files are available for viewing in the Special Collections and Archives Research Reading Room.  While the file names indicate that there are 4 fiiles, only 3 files were received.
Series 3: Environmental Action Materials, 1995-2012
Series 3 consists of environmental action materials, which includes projects plans and reports, as well as materials from when she helped to build the Natural Resources Policy and Law Course Curriculum at Oregon State.
Box-Folder 1.06: Oregon Water Resources Research Institute (OWRRI) Summary Report, 1995
Box-Folder 1.07: Law and Policy Courses, 1996-2005
Box-Folder 1.08: Joint Interim Task Force Report, 1998
Box-Folder 1.09: Prelim Summary of Aggregate Mining in Oregon, 2005
Box-Folder 1.10: Upper WIllamette Recovery Plan, 2007
Box-Folder 1.11: Ecotrust 20 Year Report, 2011
Box-Folder 1.12: Gail Achterman Willamette Legacy, 2012
Series 4: Journals, Notebooks, and Planners, 2003-2011
Series 4 consists of the notebooks that Achterman kept while holding the position as director of the Institute of Natural Resources (INR), as well as notebooks from the Oregon Transportation Commission, and a handful of personal journals and planners.
Box-Folder 2.01: INR Notebook (#1), 2003-2004
Box-Folder 2.02: INR Notebook (#2), 2004
Box-Folder 2.03: INR Notebook (#3), 2004-2005
Box-Folder 2.04: INR Notebook (#4), 2005-2006
Box-Folder 2.05: INR Notebook (#5), 2006-2007
Box-Folder 2.06: INR Notebook (#6), 2007-2009
Box-Folder 2.07: INR Notebook (#7), 2009
Box-Folder 3.01: INR Notebook (#8), 2009-2011
Box-Folder 3.02: Retirement Notebook, 2011-2012
Box-Folder 3.03: Oregon Transportation Commission Notebook, 2007-2008
Box-Folder 3.04: Oregon Transportation Commission Notebook, 2008-2010
Box-Folder 3.05: Transition Notebook, 2010-2011
Box-Folder 3.06: Willamette River Basin Trip Journal, 2007-2008
Box-Folder 3.07: Weekly Planner/Notebook, 2011
Box-Folder 3.08: Weekly Planner/Notebook, 2012
Box-Folder 4.01: Rowing Journal, 2010
Box-Folder 4.02: Rowing Journal, 2010-2011
Series 5: Project Notes, 1987-2012
Series 5 consists of notebooks that Achterman kept during various projects, including notes on the Willamette river project and Research Office notes.
Box-Folder 4.03: Visionary Leadership Notes, 1987
Box-Folder 4.04: Journal of Forestry Notes, 2004
Box-Folder 4.05: Environmental Literature Notes, 2006
Box-Folder 4.06: Research Office Notes, 2006-2011
Box-Folder 4.07: Water Policy Notes, 2008-2010
Box-Folder 4.08: Willamette Notes, 2008-2011
Box-Folder 4.09: Willamette Notes, 2011-2012
Box-Folder 4.10: Wild in the City Notes, undated

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