Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz headshot

Executive Director

Sam is 1000 Friends of Oregon's Executive Director. His work steers 1000 Friends’ efforts toward meeting our fiscal, policy, and strategic goals while advancing our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

He received his B.A. in Geography, Sociology, and Anthropology from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and his J.D. with a certificate in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. He brings extensive experience from working in political administrations at the state and local levels as well as conservation philanthropy serving the American West. 

Sam is well acquainted with Oregon's land use planning system. In 2014 and in 2018, Sam successfully expanded our community education programs, coalition-building, and policy advocacy. Most recently, Sam served as the Senior Policy Advisor at the City of Portland in the Mayor’s Office. 

Sam grew up in Redding and Red Bluff, California on the northern edge of the Sacramento Valley. Sam is proud of his family’s story: he grew up there because of his family’s hard work in the fields, orchards, and dams as part of the Bracero Program — an agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments that permitted Mexican citizens to take agricultural work in the United States. He looks forward to listening and working with all Oregonians who call rural parts of our state home. 

Governor Tom McCall famously said that "Oregon is an inspiration." Sam is inspired in spaces that unite people together: from hiking trails and viewpoints to county fairs and the Oregon State Fair to 1000 Friends of Oregon’s gala.    

During his time off work, Sam likes to spend time with his family and friends backpacking, stand-up paddleboarding, playing tennis (or anything with a net, really), cooking (so many great cookbooks written by local chefs), and enjoying movies and music. He calls Portland home with his partner, dog, and cat. 

sam@friends.org | (503) 694-3892 | he/him/his


Watch Sam's TEDxPortland talk on 50 years of Oregon's land use system, "Finding Common Ground: Reshaping Our Communities"