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Depave is thrilled to announce that our new Executive Director Erica Mattison takes the helm on January 15. Erica impressed our board with her high energy, diverse array of skills, and track record of getting things done. She’s articulate, organized, passionate, and smart, and we are excited to launch the next chapter in Depave’s story with Erica’s leadership. Erica relocated to Portland all the way from Boston, and we invited her to share a little bit about herself with the Depave community.

Interview with Erica Mattison, MPA, JD

Where are you coming from and what’s your background?

I just relocated to Portland from Boston, Massachusetts. I first visited Portland in 2016 when I attended to present at an environmental conference and I loved the city. I returned to visit a couple of times last fall and had a terrific experience volunteering with Depave at M&M Marketplace in Hillsboro. One of my favorite things about the day was encountering people of a wide array of ages and backgrounds, all enjoying contributing to the project. I am delighted to now be leading the organization. In this role, I will be spending more time than ever outdoors, and for that I am grateful!

My career has included roles in politics, government, higher education, and environmental protection advocacy. Positions I’ve held include: Field Organizer for John Kerry for President, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, inaugural Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator at Suffolk University, and Legislative Director at the Environmental League of Massachusetts. As a consultant, for the past two years I provided support to Boston Park Advocates, a network of open space advocates.

In addition, I’ve served as a board member of a local economic revitalization organization (Greater Ashmont Main Street in Dorchester, MA) and an activist with transportation organizations such as the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, MassBike, and Boston Cyclists Union. I studied psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and obtained a Masters in Public Administration and a law degree from Suffolk University in Boston.

Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, I lived across from a park that is part of the Emerald Necklace,which is designed by the first American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. My parents have served as urban green space stewards for over 40 years. Their example helped me develop a connection to my local environment and a belief that I could have a positive impact. The phrase “think globally, act locally” was impressed upon me. Before I reached high school, I had organized park cleanups and successfully advocated for my school to replace disposable polystyrene trays with reusable ones.

Why are you excited about Depave?

Over the past ten years, Depave has built an excellent reputation and hundreds of positive relationships. The organization has had a meaningful impact in many neighborhoods, and on area watersheds. What I am most excited about is enabling more people to get involved with the organization and enjoy the benefits of our projects. I am eager for us to engage with more people in more communities, particularly in underserved areas. In order to do that, we need to grow our capacity.

What can Depave and the community expect from you?

I am known as an energetic connector, creative thinker, and a person who knows how to get things done. I care about both process and results. I look forward to meeting lots of new people and bringing them together to be involved with Depave. We will continue to challenge the status quo, utilizing innovative ways to build community and meet local needs.

Have you ever ripped up asphalt?

Not yet, but I have participated in numerous community greening projects, including ones with Depave.

Why was this worth moving across the country?  // Why did you want to be here?

I fell in love with Portland immediately. Its forward-thinking environmental policies and practices, bikability, vibrant arts scene, and friendly demeanor appeal to me. As soon as I learned about Depave, I was fascinated and couldn’t wait to connect with the organization. I am excited to enable projects that bring people together and benefit health, happiness, resiliency, and financial stability. This is a phenomenal opportunity for me to apply my skills, education, experience, and energy, while learning and growing.

What do you think are the most exciting things on the Depave horizon?

As word spreads about Depave, interest in partnering is growing among individuals, organizations, schools, governments, and businesses. I look forward to taking the organization to the next level. What will that look like? More partnerships, support for policies that are aligned with our mission, lasting impact, and the continuation of our fun, entrepreneurial spirit.