Michael Slater is an organizer, advocate, and nonprofit executive with over 20 years experience with community, labor, and faith-based organizing. He is also an avid gardener and an advocate for urban forests, green spaces, and designing for public health.
Michael grew up in suburban Minneapolis and attended the Honors College at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he studied History and Anthropology. Since college, Michael has held leadership positions with the community organization ACORN, the labor union SEIU, and voting rights organization Project Vote. In 2017, he took a break from his career to co-found and lead Mission Street Parks Conservancy.
In 2020, Michael was appointed to the Salem Planning Commission.
Michael is married to Lori Cain, a middle school language arts teacher with the Salem-Keizer School District. They are parents to Ben Slater, a Sprague High School student. Michael, Lori, and Ben are members of Temple Beth Sholom. Their family includes two miniature schnauzers, Ellie and Boris, and several chickens.
Slater has spent much of his career in nonprofits, working remotely from Salem as president of Project Vote, a voting rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
"After the 2016 election, Slater said he turned to gardening as therapy to help him cope with his sadness and disappointment. That led to his involvement in the park and eventually, to a decision to take a break from his career and focus on growing the conservancy. - Salem Report