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David Monk

“My parents were the children of sharecroppers in the panhandle of Texas,” says David Monk, who was born in Texas but was reared from age 6 in Las Vegas. “My dad worked at underground construction, digging tunnels for sewers and hydroelectricity.” After high school, Monk came to Eugene to study Russian at the University of Oregon. He took three year-long breaks to work underground, in a coal mine and a hydro project, on his way to a 1983 degree in political science. Afterwards, he went to work for a carpenter friend in Eugene, then got licensed and became a contractor, building and remodeling homes. “I never had to look for work,” he notes. In the late 1990s, Monk got his start in civic activism, serving on the board of Friends of Eugene and the steering committee of Citizens for Public Accountability. In 2001, he was hired as executive director of the new nonprofit Oregon Toxics Alliance, now known as Beyond Toxics. “I took the job for the six weeks of paid vacation,” he maintains, “but I didn’t get two weeks in four years.” He was succeeded by administrative assistant Lisa Arkin after he stepped down, but he still serves on the BT board, returning after two three-year terms on the board of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency. Notable achievements, among issues he has addressed, include a DEQ vapor recovery mandate for gas station pumps and the field-burning ban enacted by the state in 2009. More recently, he is co-founder of a new non-profit called Checks and Balances, aimed at providing fiscal oversight of corruption in the city’s funding decisions. Read about it online at checks-balances.org.