Director Leah Feldon joins the GreenState DEQ podcast for a conversation

Leah Feldon has a long history with DEQ – nearly two decades – starting in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement and later serving as deputy director.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, which oversees DEQ, selected Feldon as the agency’s new director in February.

Director Feldon had a conversation with outgoing Communications manager Harry Esteve and GreenState Host Dylan Darling. Topics include Feldon’s thoughts on the direction of the agency, and how she wants to prioritize antiracism and environmental justice in its mission to protect and enhance Oregon’s environment and public health.

This GreenState episode was recorded at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication podcast studio.

Note: Lauren Wirtis, an original co-host of GreenState is the new DEQ communications manager. She’ll still be on the podcast occasionally along with other co-hosts.

Listen to the podcast on: SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


  • Introduction [0:50]
  • Harry Esteve co-host [2:00]
  • Interview with Director Leah Feldon [3:15]
  • What brought her to Oregon and DEQ [3:25]
  • Favorite places to visit in Oregon [5:15]
  • Legal background and being director [7:00]
  • Environmental protection as a foundation [8:30]
  • Reaction to becoming new director [10:20]
  • Priorities for DEQ, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Environmental Justice, funding, and field staff safety [12:05]
  • How DEI became a priority at DEQ [16:35]
  • Importance of Environmental Justice [19:05]
  • DEQ connections with tribes [21:25]
  • Typical day for DEQ director [23:10]
  • Least understood aspects of DEQ [25:35]
  • Favorite outdoor activities [27:40]
  • Wrap-up [29:20]

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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