Portland Audubon Changes Name to Bird Alliance of Oregon

Portland, OR Portland Audubon, a 121-year-old nonprofit dedicated to environmental advocacy and education, has officially changed its name to Bird Alliance of Oregon. A year ago today, the organization shared its decision to drop the name “Audubon” and launched a community listening campaign to help find its new name.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron / Tim Lumley

“We couldn’t be happier to become the Bird Alliance of Oregon,” said Stuart Wells, executive director. “John James Audubon’s legacy as an enslaver who opposed abolition and as a man who desecrated the graves of Native Americans still causes harm today. Our adoption of a new name is one of many steps in our years-long equity journey to create a more welcoming place.”

The organization spent four months reaching out to the public to help find a name that would connect with broader, more diverse communities, especially those who have historically been excluded from the environmental and birding movements. Nearly 2,000 people shared their thoughts, providing insightful feedback that was foundational to selecting the name Bird Alliance of Oregon.

“We knew that community feedback was going to be the key to finding a name that resonated with more people,” said Stuart. “Across all demographics, the same themes kept emerging. People wanted a name that was clear and accessible, that referenced birds, that created a sense of unity, and that shared our geographic reach. We listened, and found a name that we hope everyone can be proud of.”

In addition to dropping the name Audubon, the new name also better reflects the organization’s geographic reach. The word “Portland” in the prior name consistently created confusion since the organization’s work has been statewide since its foundation in 1902. The organization’s earliest advocacy efforts were essential in establishing Malheur, Klamath, and Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuges. More recently, statewide work has been pivotal in helping to establish Oregon’s first marine reserves, increasing protections for forests across the state, and gaining more protections for endangered species like the Marbled Murrelet. Advocacy and education programs touch every part of Oregon, with staff on the coast, in Portland, and in Harney County. And in some instances, our work stretches beyond Oregon borders, following bioregions, like in the Klamath Basin, where our work extends into Northern California.

Bird Alliance of Oregon is pleased to join other former Audubons around the country, including Chicago Bird Alliance, Detroit Bird Alliance, Badgerland Bird Alliance, and Golden Gate Bird Alliance. By also becoming a “Bird Alliance”, the organization hopes to continue the momentum to inspire other Audubons to adopt a name using that phrase to help maintain connectivity between more than 450 Audubons around the country. 

“Our name has changed, but our work remains the same,” said Debbie Elliott, Board President. “We continue to fight for the survival of birds, other wildlife and their habitat. We are dedicated to educating youth and adults in environmental education, rehabilitating injured wildlife, and increasing equitable access to nature for all people. Our new name can only make us stronger, removing barriers to participation, and creating an alliance of people working together for nature.”

About Bird Alliance of Oregon

Bird Alliance of Oregon’s passionate and growing community has loved and advocated for Oregon’s wildlife and wild places for more than 100 years. With the help of our vast network of advocates, nature enthusiasts, and partners, we inspire and connect people to nature through a variety of programs that are grounded in science and learning.

Our mission: To inspire all people to love and protect birds, wildlife, and the natural environment upon which life depends.