If and When to Speak Up

February 06, 2017

SRG is one of 22 Oregon firms to sign a letter by Architects Advocate urging President Trump to take action on climate change. Senior associate Emily Dawson was featured in the DJC Oregon, articulating why we decided to sign on to the letter.

Architects, engineers and builders have a reputation for maintaining a single-minded focus on turning their concepts into reality. In today’s charged political environment, however, increasing numbers of firms are willing to take stands that may put them at odds with prevailing political views.

That changing dynamic was on full display when more than 530 organizations signed an open letter to President Donald Trump extolling sustainability and efforts to combat climate change. Trump has never supported sustainability goals for buildings and has called climate change a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese to hurt American businesses.
“We felt compelled to sign on,” said Emily Dawson, a senior associate architect at SRG Partnership. “It felt like a good way to represent our firm’s values.”

Dawson is active with the group Architects Advocate, which penned the letter. It was signed by 22 Oregon companies, including 20 located in Portland. Deciding when to take a stand is becoming more challenging nowadays.

“The question of taking social justice and equity issues to firm level is coming up more and more. It is something that we will develop a procedure around. Architects have been some of the most outspoken on political issues. Builders and engineers have largely taken a wait-and-see approach.

Emily Dawson, SRG Senior Associate

How the decision is made to take a stand on an issue varies widely. Some firms, like SRG Partnership, have groups that can elevate an issue to leadership if they feel it warrants a discussion. Other firms rely on principals and partners listening to their employees or clients to decide on issues they need to discuss.

Read the rest of the article at DJC Oregon. [Subscription Required]