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Barbara Quinn’s Degree Helps Inform Her Activism

Excerpt from an article in The Lake Oswego Review, September 15, 2011.

Barbara Quinn wonders where society diverged from the Judeo-Christian practice of honoring nature.

The 42-year-old business owner earned a graduate theology degree from Marylhurst University in 2010, focusing on wilderness tradition, and says her studies help inform her activism.

"We have clear symbolism in our heritage that shows us how we should view the environment," she says. "Look at the Torah – two-thirds of that book happen in the wild. I don't know where we took a wrong turn, but somehow now we see the woods as something to use."

Quinn has a different view of the woods.

A dozen years ago, she helped found Friends of Baltimore Woods, a community group trying to create a protected green belt east of the Willamette River in North Portland's St. Johns neighborhood.

Around the time of her Marylhurst commencement in May of last year, the group scooped up six at-risk areas along the river, part of the 30 acres the group hopes to eventually acquire and preserve as the Baltimore Woods. Metro and the city of Portland purchased the acreage on behalf of the Friends for $1.2 million. Last month, the Friends submitted a letter to Metro in pursuit of another grant from the voter-approved 2006 Natural Areas Bond, to buy more of the targeted property.

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