Our Team

Travis Williams, Riverkeeper & Executive Director - Travis has led Willamette Riverkeeper since June of 2000. Since that time he has helped to enforce the Clean Water Act with numerous examples of enforcement actions up and down the Willamette Valley. He has also led the charge for the cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, working on that issue since its inception in December of 2000 to the recent Record of Decision in January of 2017. He has worked since 2000 to decrease the impact of the US Army Corps Dams along the Willamette's tributaries, eventually enabling WR to sue the US Army Corps in 2007 that resulted in the Biological Opinion for the Willamette River system in 2008. He also helped to establish the transfer of 44 acres of Ross Island to the City of Portland. 

He has been a major proponent of river experience to help people of all backgrounds to see and experience the Willamette up close, providing free canoe and kayak trips to literally thousands of people. He also formed the first Paddle Oregon trip in 2001, and led the effort to establish the Willamette Water Trail in 2005. He has also led people on many other riverside walks, and power boat tours of the Portland Harbor area.  Williams also instigated the creation of the Great Willamette Cleanup which has removed literally tons of trash and debris from the river each year. He has helped to engage Willamette Riverkeeper in floodplain restoration projects, and led the transfer of Norwood Island to Willamette Riverkeeper which he helps to steward with volunteers today. 

He has actively engaged the media to cover Willamette River issues, from experiencing the river in low impact craft, to coverage of work to restore habitat, and to clean up Portland Harbor. 

Williams is author of the Willamette River Field Guide (Timber Press, 2009), as well as the two Water Trail Guides for the Willamette. He holds a BA from Portland State University in International Studies, and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University. 

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Marci Krass, Restoration Coordinator


Kate Ross Kuthe, Outreach & Education Coordinator


Kate Bemesderfer, Development - Kate B. has lived and worked within walking distance of rivers her entire life, from the Chicago to the Hudson to the Lehigh to the Susquehanna to the San Lorenzo to the Agua Fria to, of course, the Willamette (and a few others in between). With her background in social science, plus 20 years of experience working as an educator and development coordinator with a variety of schools and nonprofits across the country, Kate's primary interest has always been connecting people with opportunities to make a difference for social, cultural and environmental causes. Equal parts city mouse and country mouse, and a fiber artist in her spare time, Kate loves the Willamette for the way it weaves through farmland, forests, and metro areas, knitting together the diverse and dynamic communities that make up the heart of Oregon. kate.b@willametteriverkeeper.org


Michelle Emmons, Southern Valley Advocate