The organization Restore Hetch Hetchy, which has long fought to dismantle San Francisco’s water reservoir inside the boundaries of Yosemite National Park high in the Sierras, publicly announced this morning (Monday, September 16) Marshall’s decision to resign as its executive director due to his pending move.
Last fall, city voters rejected a ballot measure pushed by Restore Hetch Hetchy that would have forced the city’s Public Utilities Commission to drain the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in the national park and store the water elsewhere. Following the ballot box defeat, Marshall pledged that the group would spend the next two years determining its next steps in seeing the Hetch Hetchy Valley be environmentally restored.
In the email from the group, signed by board chair Roger Williams, it noted that Marshall has led it “with passion and dynamism” for the past five years but that he has decided “to leave San Francisco this fall to start a new chapter in his life with his family in Portland, Oregon, and has stepped down as the leader of our organization.”
Marshall had informed family and friends back in June that he and his partner, Rob Ert Bennett Walker, were moving to Portland, Oregon and that he planned to leave San Francisco prior to Thanksgiving.
To ensure a smooth transition, the restore group said Marshall would remain as a consultant through October, when he would be replaced by water policy expert Spreck Rosekrans, its director of policy for the last 18 months.
“As sad as we are that Mike is leaving, we feel extraordinarily lucky that Spreck is taking the reins as Restore Hetch Hetchy continues to build on the past year’s momentum with new initiatives on multiple fronts,” wrote Williams. “No one is better suited to take our campaign to the next level of success than Spreck. Not only is he a founding director of Restore Hetch Hetchy, but he is also a renowned conservation and restoration leader with a track record of success in the many battles he has fought in California and the West.”
Williams credited Marshall with attracting “unprecedented” national media coverage for the group’s water policy fight, increasing the budget 300 percent, and securing more than $300,000 in pro bono legal and communications services.
Prior to his work with Restore Hetch Hetchy, Marshall served as the executive director of Under One Roof, a retail store that funnels profits to local AIDS agencies, from 2005 through 2006. Previous to that job, he was the interim director of the LGBT Community Center.
As the Castro Country Club, a sober center in the heart of the city’s gay district, struggled to remain in its building in 2011 and 2012, Marshall served on its advisory board.
In 2000 he oversaw the losing battle against Proposition 22, the statewide ballot measure that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In 2007, as it was gearing up for another ballot box fight over same-sex marriage, the Equality California Institute hired Marshall as a consultant for its Let California Ring public education initiative around the issue.