A one-of-a-kind paid internship to kickstart your career in land use planning and public service.

The summer 2024 Gerhardt Internship application window has closed

1000 Friends of Oregon’s Gerhardt Internship was established in 1986 to commemorate the life and work of Paul Gerhardt, Jr., our first staff planner. The application window for this unique hands-on learning experience typically opens in mid-January, for an internship to take place that summer. Our Gerhardt Interns come from all walks of life, all over the country, and receive a generous stipend for their participation in this program.

Gerhardt Interns enjoy 10 weeks of close collaboration with our expert staff, receiving project support and guidance throughout. Publication and public presentation of Gerhardt Internship projects and project deliverables are strongly encouraged. 


Information & application details


On-the-job experience for planning students or those in similar fields, especially for those interested in public service.


The position is for 30 hours per week for 10 weeks, at 1000 Friends of Oregon’s Portland office.  A stipend of $5,500 is provided.  Limited additional funds are available for assistance with travel expenses to and from Portland. NOTE: Due to COVID-19 this internship might take place remotely, or in some combination of remote and in-person. A final determination will be made prior to the beginning of the internship.

Description of work

The intern will work on one or two large projects, such as 1000 Friends of Oregon’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through linking land use and transportation planning, ensuring communities plan for affordable and diverse housing, or to preserve farmland.

The intern might also work on smaller, short-term projects to gain a better understanding of Oregon’s land use system. Supervision provided by the 1000 Friends staff person overseeing each project.

Selection criteria

The criteria used in selecting the intern includes academic excellence, demonstrated interest in public service, evidence of initiative, and the ability to work independently. Preference will be given to undergraduates majoring in planning or a related field and graduates who have not yet begun graduate school. Graduate students will be considered. Law students will not be considered.

Applications and deadlines

Applications should include a cover letter, résumé, academic transcripts, writing sample, and two reference letters including at least one from a professor familiar with the applicant’s work.  References should offer a confidential evaluation of the applicant’s qualifications as measured against the criteria above and should be sent directly to 1000 Friends via email.  References should provide full contact information. The writing sample can be on any topic and need not be lengthy. We encourage applicants to share their preferred names and pronouns in application materials if they feel comfortable doing so. 

Complete applications, including reference letters, must be received by Friday, March 14, 2024. The intern will be selected by Monday, April 8, 2024, and will be notified by phone shortly thereafter. Those not selected will be informed by letter. There is no interview in the application process.   

Please send applications to

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1000 Friends is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and culture.

Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, and people with disabilities strongly encouraged to apply. 


Recent Gerhardt Internship projects
Cover for the report Oregon in Motion
Oregon in Motion

Cassie Wilson’s research in the 2023 Gerhardt Report establishes a detailed throughline and narrative between our last major transportation package, HB 2017, and the present as Oregon prepares for a 2025 transportation package.

Death by 1000 Cuts Feature (3)
Death by 1000 Cuts

Urban expansion, rural rezoning, and nonfarm uses on farmland continue to take land out of farm use despite Oregon’s land use protections. Our 2019 Gerhardt Intern, Amber Shakleford, outlined the problems and created a 10-point action plan that offers realistic policy recommendations. 

Is this Oregon's future?
A New Vision for Wildfire Planning

Could land use be the key to reducing wildfire risk in Oregon? Our 2018 Gerhardt Intern, Ashlee Fox, explored the issue in detail and provided six key policy recommendations in a report that became a cornerstone of our work as part of the governor’s Wildfire Response Council.

Q&A with our 2023 Gerhardt Intern

Our 2023 Gerhardt Intern, Cassie Wilson, researched Oregon’s last big transportation package, House Bill 2017, and its impacts – with the goal of making recommendations to lawmakers for the next state transportation package anticipated for the 2025 legislative session.

Frequently asked questions

How do I submit my application materials?

Application materials can be emailed to before the March 14, 2024, deadline. Recommendation letters should also be emailed to but should be sent directly from the referrer.

The duration of the internship is 10 weeks. Is there a start and end date, or can we schedule that individually?

The internship usually occurs during the summer months but has extended into the fall. The intern coordinates with their supervisor to determine the exact dates.

I graduated from college last year – am I eligible for the internship?

Preference is given to undergraduates and those who have not yet started a graduate program. So yes, you are eligible.

The announcement flyer asks for an academic transcript – need these be official transcripts, or can an unofficial printout from my student account work?

Both official and unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Is the intern provided accommodation in Portland?

No, the intern is responsible for making their own housing arrangements.

Can you provide me a few examples of projects that past interns have worked on? Is there any fieldwork involved?

Past Gerhardt Internship projects have varied widely, both in subject matter and the type of work done. Recent projects have included: a survey of studies on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through land use; whether certain activities and events are compatible with agricultural areas; destination resort development and resource areas; urban density; and coastal development. All projects involve research and writing. The writing can range from a lengthy research paper to much shorter pieces for our website. Fieldwork would vary according to the topic area.

I am an international student, am I still eligible to apply?

No, unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from international students.

Can this internship be applied for course credit?

Whether the Gerhardt Internship, which is a paid internship, qualifies for credit is entirely between the student and the school. We will be happy to complete school-required documents explaining the intern’s duties and responsibilities, as long as the school requirement does not state anything inconsistent with the Gerhardt Internship.

If I am not selected for the Gerhardt Internship are there other internship opportunities available for on-the-job planning experience?

While the Gerhardt Internship is our only paid internship opportunity, we often have interns who are able to earn school credit or acquire a paid internship opportunity through their university with a placement at 1000 Friends of Oregon. Whether we have availability for additional interns this summer depends on what, if any, research or other similar type work we need, and the availability of staff to supervise an intern. To be considered for another internship opportunity, please fill out our volunteer interest form and indicate that you have also applied for the Gerhardt Internship so we know that we have a full résumé on file.

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