Montevideo-based Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and its long-time Executive Director, Patrick Moore, have mutually agreed to part ways.

Montevideo-based Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and its long-time Executive Director, Patrick Moore, have mutually agreed to part ways.

This past Thursday, CURE’s Board of Directors approved a separation agreement. It is expected to be a positive change for both parties.

“It was time to move on," said Moore.

An official board statement was released to its membership on Friday that states Moore is departing from CURE in order to focus on his own rest and healing. Recently he was diagnosed with slow growth Prostate cancer, for which he is still undergoing treatment.

“I don’t think it will be a radical direction change, but we do have an opportunity to examine new directions that CURE goes just by allowing some new ideas to bubble and brew,” said CURE Board Chair Jennifer Hoffman. “We definitely aren’t taking a U-turn and will continue to stick to the core values of CURE.”

CURE’s impact

Moore, 53, was a founding member and the original organizer of the 22-year-old non-profit that branched off from the Land Stewardship Project in order carry out a mission to “focus public awareness on the Minnesota River Watershed and to take action to restore and protect its water quality, biological integrity and natural beauty for all generations.”

Over the course of two roughly seven years stints, from 1992 to 1998 and then again from 2005 to 2013, Moore led the organization. In between, he opened and operated Java River Cafe’ in downtown Montevideo.

For better or worse, Moore’s name was often held synonymous with the often polarizing non-profit that has had a profound effect on improving water quality and generating public interest in river recreation throughout the Upper Minnesota River Valley.

Notable achievements of CURE include its opposition to the straightening of the Lac qui Parle River near Dawson, the creation of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and its stance against the construction of the Big Stone II Power Plant.

The latter would garner CURE statewide recognition that has only been bolstered by the organization's latest work to bring farmers, environmentalists and agencies together for mutually respectful conversations through its unique “Friendship Tours” ––an idea that is now attempting to be replicated in other areas of the state and beyond.

"We continually have looked for better ways to solve problems. The Friendship Tour approach helped move us beyond finger pointing to mutually agreed upon approaches to thorny problems," Moore said.

Moore’s impact

Moore has been a frequent presence in Granite Falls the past several years with his involvement in the rehabilitation of the K.K. Berge building and the formation of Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization.

“If I were to describe Patrick in a few words it would be enthusiastic and passionate––and I noticed that more than ever when the K.K. Berge building project began,” said Granite Falls City Manager Bill Lavin. “Without his involvement in the project, and I don’t want to minimize the contribution of others, but I don’t know if it would have happened,” he said.

Moore’s talents as a community organizer and facilitator had a similar impact throughout the Upper Minnesota River Valley as he was also integral in saving Montevideo’s Hollywood Theater as well as the building that would become the home of the Milan Village Arts School. He also worked with the people of the Watson area to save the Zion Lutheran church.

In addition, he played a major role in the creation of the Meander: Upper Minnesota River Valley Art Crawl, which, according to Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission Executive Director Dawn Heglund, has grown every year since inception a decade ago––bringing approximately $95,000 to the region just this past year.

“Patrick has been one of the core founders of that event and has worked in a collaborative way with our whole team of diverse artist and sponsors and organizers,” said Heglund. “I have no doubt his skills convening and organizing people to work on things they’re passionate about will continue to be an influence in the region.”

Looking ahead

Moore will to continue residing in Montevideo where he presently intends to work as an independent consultant offering services detailed in his website “”

"We will have to let things evolve -- something new will emerge -- it always does, but for now I am content to rest and focus inward," he said.

Meanwhile, the fourteen member CURE Board of Directors and four remaining staff––Climate and Energy Director Duane Ninneman (Ortonville), Associate Director Peg Furshong (Granite Falls), Office Manager Dixie Tilden (Montevideo) and Program Organizer Sarina Otaibi (Granite Falls)––remain busy fulfilling grant obligations and working on upcoming river related events such as the CURE’s annual River and History Weekend and the DNR Water and Trails Division 50th Anniversary celebration, which is set to take place along the banks at newly restored Minnesota Falls. According to Hoffman, a plan for hiring a new executive director is still in the works.

“CURE has never been in a better position to move ahead with a motivated staff, a new region-wide board and momentum from several innovative, well-funded projects,” the board statement reads. “We wish Patrick the best and feel that CURE will continue to be a strong champion for the region,” said Hoffman.