code of conduct and ethics

Northwest Trail Alliance Code of Conduct and Ethics

Thank you for contributing your time and talent to Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) as a volunteer! Our mission is rooted in being a volunteer trail stewardship organization, opening up access to mountain biking for all. We are committed to providing a work environment that is friendly, safe and welcoming for all; regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, and disability.  All volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors agree to follow our Code of Conduct and Ethics so that every aspect of our work is FUN, and free from harassment, intimidation, hostility, and/or other offenses that may interfere with our mission and programs. 

This includes when volunteers, employees, customers, clients, contractors and visitors are on organization premises/trail sites, at an organization-sponsored off-site event, traveling on behalf of the organization, or conducting organization business, regardless of location.

We invite you to help us create a safe and positive experience for everyone by:

  • Participating in a positive, authentic, and active way. 
  • Exercising consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Attempting collaboration before conflict.
  • Refraining from demeaning, discriminatory, retaliatory or harassing behavior and speech. 
  • Being mindful of your surroundings, fellow volunteers, Lead Stewardship Team volunteers, land manager representatives, and NWTA staff. 
  • Listening and responding to others with patience and respect at all times.
  • Meeting commitments with positive interactions.
  • Working effectively and respectfully to build up an individual while promoting teamwork. 

In other words, be a good human. While we can not anticipate all of the challenges that may arise, the ethical principles listed below will assist in making good decisions. 

Prohibited Conduct 

Although by no means all-inclusive, the following examples represent prohibited behavior:

  • Physical harassment, including but not limited to unwelcome physical contacts such as touching, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with work; 
  • Verbal harassment, including but not limited to disparaging or disrespectful comments, jokes, slurs, innuendoes, teasing, and other sexual talk such as jokes, personal inquiries, persistent unwanted courting, and derogatory insults;
  • Nonverbal harassment, including but not limited to suggestive or insulting sounds, obscene gestures, leering, or whistling; 
  • Visual harassment, including but not limited to displays of explicit or offensive content, circulation of derogatory content, posters, pictures, drawings, or cartoons that reflect disparagingly upon a class of persons or a particular person; or
  • Sexual harassment, as described above, includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors in exchange for any conduct of a sexual nature, submission to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in exchange for a term of employment, or other conduct of a sexual nature.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Statement of Equity

NWTA builds, maintains, and advocates for mountain bike trail access in the greater Portland area. Our core aim is to grow and support a thriving mountain bike ecosystem. We recognize that Oregon’s deep history of inequity and racism formally extends to its founding which systematically granted free land to “whites only” and maintained black exclusion laws in the state constitution until being repealed in 1926. The structures continued in other ways and impacted communities disproportionately in events such as the Vanport flood. To see mountain biking grow and thrive in our community, we aim to be just as systematic in our efforts to actively reverse inequity and racism.

Mountain biking requires riders to confront their fears, biases, and preconceived notions: whether it’s your first rock roll, your first gap jump, or a steep root-strewn section of trail, we know what that feels like to be fearful, uncomfortable, and out of our element. We believe that everyone’s barriers should be respected and that only mutual support will get us past our challenges as we cheer each other on and push ourselves to improve. NWTA wants a world where everyone feels welcome, safe, and free in the outdoors. As an organization, the NWTA is committed to creating a pathway to nature for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, faith, and country of origin.

Our Board, organization, and members are under no illusion that this work is easy or has an endpoint. We embrace the challenging work with full awareness of its broad scope, nevertheless, we’re setting our goals aloft . In any cases where we fall short of our expectations, we will continue to strive towards our goal of maximum positive impact. We can only do such by continuously expanding our collective and individual knowledge and confronting our biases. We are committed to making sure the outdoors are for everyone.

Substance Use and Abuse

NWTA has a vital interest in maintaining safe, healthy, and efficient working conditions. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when actively engaging in NWTA activities may pose serious safety and health risks to NWTA volunteers, leadership, land managers and the public. For this reason, we have established the following policy:

  • Volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors will not use, possess, sell, trade, offer for sale, or offer to buy illegal drugs or otherwise engage in the illegal use of drugs on premises;
  • Volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors will not engage in trail work or tool usage under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol, or marijuana.
  • No volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors may operate machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is everyone’s responsibility to remain professional, sober, and under control at all times during these functions. 
  • All cigarette butts and other trash must be disposed of in appropriate waste receptacles. Any and all restrictions on smoking and tobacco use put in place by landowners/land managers, including but not limited to fire danger at trail systems, must be adhered to.

Social Media Accounts and Online Code of Conduct

All online content must be consistent with NWTA’s Code of Conduct and Ethics. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, threats of violence, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated. This applies to social media posts, emails, chats, blogs, or any other form of online communication from any online NWTA accounts, and in some instances from personal social media accounts. NWTA reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed a violation of this policy or any applicable law. NWTA Staff shall make the final determination as to whether to restrict or remove any content.

Always be fair and courteous to volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, visitors or anyone else working on the behalf of NWTA. **Remember that we are more likely to resolve complaints by speaking directly to the party we have an issue with than posting complaints on a social media outlet.**  Be nice, and treat others with respect and the way you would like to be treated.

Generally, we regard personal social media as your matter. However, certain types of activities can cause concern because of the potential negative impact on NWTA’s ability to do business, or negatively involving other NWTA volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors.

Unacceptable postings:

Posts containing any of the following shall not be allowed and may be removed at the discretion of NWTA Board and Staff. This is not an exhaustive list, and NWTA reserves the right to remove any postings or online content that it finds violates any aspect of the Code of Conduct and Ethics herein.

  • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Anything that shows blatant disrespect of other people; including but not limited to NWTA volunteers, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors.
  • Anything that violates the confidentiality of NWTA’s private/confidential information, or that of another individual.
  • Profane language or content.
  • Sexual content or links to sexual content.
  • Anything that is not appropriate for an all-ages audience.
  • Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity; including against land managers and land manager representatives.
  • Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems.
  • Information about, or content that encourages, riding, or building illegal trails, or actions that go against known land manager policies.
  • Material that is taken from elsewhere without permission.
  • Commercial advertising for products or services outside of NWTA’s promotion of official sponsors, supporters, donors and contributors.
  • False information or rumors about NWTA related information.
  • Volunteers, Staff and Board that have access to NWTA’s social media accounts are not to reflect personal views and opinions on any NWTA social media posts.

Penalties for Violations

We will not tolerate discriminatory conduct, harassment, or sexual assault of any kind. Volunteers, members, employees, customers, clients, contractors, and visitors who do not follow NWTA’s Code of Conduct and Ethics may be immediately relieved of their responsibilities and no longer be invited to participate in future activities of any sort with NWTA, including active membership. Volunteers who do not follow NWTA’s Substance Abuse Policy will be immediately relieved of their volunteer responsibilities and no longer be invited to participate in future activities of any sort with NWTA.

Law enforcement will be contacted when the situation warrants their involvement due to illegal, unsafe or threatening conditions.

Engaging in or being associated with social media conduct believed to adversely impact the organization, the ability to carry out volunteer responsibilities, NWTA staff or Board, or otherwise adversely affects members, clients, customers, suppliers, or people who work on behalf of the NWTA, may lead to termination of volunteer responsibilities.