Ceremony to be held May 4 in Portland
On Feb. 13, the Oregon Mediation Association (OMA) notified Chad Karges, deputy manager of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and the directors of the High Desert Partnership they had been selected as one of two winners of the 2013 Oregon Mediation Association Mediator’s Choice Award.
The award recognizes people in Oregon who have made an extraordinary contribution toward collaboration and peacemaking in Oregon’s communities. Specifically, they look for individuals or groups that have made positive contributions by building understanding, healing communities, resolving complex problems, establishing trust and strengthening relationships.
Laurel Singer and Peter Harkema of Oregon Consensus, a program of the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State, responded to OMA’s request for nominations with a description of the work by Karges and High Desert Partnership. Singer wrote, in part: “There had been a deep conflict in Malheur and Harney counties between ranchers, environmentalists, and state and federal agencies. Chad has been a force in helping approach the planning process in a collaborative way. He helped forge the High Desert Partnership to continue to collaborate on projects on an ongoing basis. In his quiet way, he used his role — demonstrating leadership, seeing a vision. He promoted problem-solving on the local level. This effort has been a huge success.”
The High Desert Partnership is a grassroots organization focused on bringing together landowners, conservationists, social advocates, agencies and other interested people to address the important challenges of today and tomorrow. The partnership recognizes that sustainability of people and the environment is dependent upon effectively addressing social, ecological and economic factors. The partnership’s goal is “Protecting the rural lifestyle and associated natural resources of Southeast Oregon for present and future generations through open communication and cooperation.” They strive to advance this goal through collaborative forums in which important issues are addressed before they become a crisis.
The award ceremony will be held Saturday, May 4, in Portland.
The OMA is a statewide nonprofit organization of mediators and supporters of mediation founded in 1986. OMA is committed to the development, support and advocacy of mediation in the state of Oregon.

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