District boards work cooperatively as a unit to plan and oversee implementation of their district’s programs.District boards set up their own administrative structure and committees as needed, though state statutes requires that every board select a chairperson and secretary. The Marion SWCD board elects a chairperson, vice chairperson and a secretary/treasurer at each January board meeting.
Board members only have power when acting as a part of the district board, they do not have individual powers or authorities, though they may be given authority to act on behalf of the board in specific, limited tasks such as: staff supervision, project management, serving as spokesperson, and signing documents.

Customary duties and responsibilities of all individual board members include:
  • Attend and actively participate in all board meetings.
  • Be prepared for board meetings.
  • Carry out committee responsibilities.
  • Help with district functions and event.s
  • Participate in continuing educational workshops and attend area and state meetings of the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts.
  • Stay knowledgeable of local conservation issues
  • Promote the district’s work to local landowners, constituents, agencies, and organizations
  • Promote the district’s work to legislators and other decision makers regarding district funding


Our Soil AdDirector Eligibility


The title “District Director” is given to anyone who has been elected or appointed to serve on a conservation district board.To ensure that there is proper representation each district is divided into legally-defined zones. Directors are then elected or appointed from those zones. By statute, ORS 568.560, a seven-member board must have five zone director positions and two at-large positions.

Zone Director Eligibility

Option I
  • Owning or managing 10 or more acres of land in the district. A candidate may either reside within the zone represented or own or manage 10 or more acres within the zone that is being represented and actively manage the property.
  • Being involved in the active management of their property
  • Residing within the boundaries of the district, and
  • Being a registered voter
Option II
  • Residing within the zone that is represented.
  • Serving at least one year as a director or associate director of a district, and
  • Having a conservation plan approved by the conservation district board
  • Being a registered voter

At-Large Director Eligibility

  • Residing within the boundaries of the conservation district, and
  • Being a registered voter
  • There are no land ownership or management requirements for at-large positions.


In Oregon conservation district directors are elected in the November General Election held on even-numbered years. Elections for SWCD directors occur every two years. District directors serve four-year terms and begin serving their terms in January following their election.

Director positions are elected in “staggered” terms to provide continuity on the board and maintain operational consistency. If a vacancy should occur between elections the board may appoint a person to fill the position.

ODA’s Natural Resources Division oversees the conservation district elections process.

Candidates and districts must follow specific guidelines to advertise the elections and to have candidates’ applications processed and placed on the ballot.

ODA notifies the districts and county clerks which positions will be on the ballot for the upcoming election, the procedures to need to be followed and deadlines that need to be met.

Candidates and districts are responsible to submit the appropriate paperwork to the local county clerk and to ODA.

Although directors are elected by the local residents, they serve in a voluntary capacity and are not paid for their time and services, though they may be reimbursed for specific costs incurred while doing official district business.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Natural Resources Division is the elections filing officer for the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) director elections.



Conservation districts capabilities are expanded by Associate Directors. Associate Directors are appointed by the board and they do not vote on board decisions. However, they can augment the board’s knowledge and experience level as well as assist with programs and activities. An Associate Director serves until January 1 in odd numbered years. Every two years, district boards should re-appoint those directors who are interested in continuing and who have contributed sufficiently to the district’s conservation efforts.