The Urban Greenspaces Institute works collaboratively with other NGOs, agencies and individuals to pursue its mission. The integration of the natural and built environments in the urban planning, regional growth management and urban parks and greenspaces arenas requires close coordination and cooperative efforts by both the private and public sectors.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

While the Institute works with myriad groups, our primary NGO partners are the Coalition for a Livable Future and the Audubon Society of Portland's Urban Conservation program.

The Institute is a core member of the Coalition for a Livable Future, which now consists of more than 70 non-profit, individual, agency and business members. Its mission is to protect, restore and maintain healthy, equitable and sustainable communities, both human and natural, for the benefit of present and future residents of the greater metropolitan region.

The Coalition's objectives are:

  • Changing the patterns of urban growth to more compact neighborhoods with a mix of uses conveniently served by public transportation;
  • Expanding transportation options and reducing dependency on automobiles, and increasing transit, bike and walking opportunities throughout the region;
  • Protecting, restoring and maintaining healthy watersheds, fish and wildlife and their habitats, greenspaces and other natural resources within and outside urban growth boundaries;
  • Ensuring that the built and natural environment are integrated in a sustainable manner that supports neighborhood livability and protects wetlands, streams, water quality, air quality and the natural landscape, and recognizes that both natural resources and humans are part of the urban ecosystem;
  • Reducing consumption, pollution and waste;
  • Addressing environmental equity, including the distribution of neighborhood parks, trails and greenspaces;
  • Encouraging the development of food production, processing and distribution systems that regenerate and support natural systems and biodiversity, enrich neighborhood development patterns, and build community.

The Urban Greenspaces Institute contributes to meeting these objectives by participating in a variety of Coalition efforts, including:

Natural Resources Working Group: The Coalition's Natural Resources Working Group meets on a regular basis to develop consensus on local and regional policies among Coalition members and others working on urban natural resource, park and trail issues. The working group also involves itself in on-the-ground projects that relate to the Coalition and Working Group's work plan.

Designing Urban Habitats for Wildlife and People: The Coalition brings together experts in urban design and environmental protection to demonstrate how the region can develop vibrant neighborhoods while protecting wildlife habitat and reducing overall impacts on the environment

Damascus Area Planning: The Coalition has been actively involved in developing its own preferred plan for the 16,000-acre urban expansion area, as well as helping craft a new Concept Plan that was adopted in December 2005. This plan will guide the development of the Damascus, Boring and East Happy Valley communities, which were brought into the region's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 2002. The Urban Greenspaces Institute worked with other Coalition members to craft language regarding stream protection, parks, trails and greenspaces.

Protecting Nature In Neighborhoods: The Institute has been an active partner in CLF's efforts to demonstrate how we can have it all: develop vibrant neighborhoods while protecting wildlife habitat and reducing overall impacts on the environment.

The Institute cooperates closely with the Audubon Society of Portland's urban conservation program, the region's leading urban natural resource conservation effort, which includes the state's largest wildlife care facility, engaging hundreds of volunteers in rehabilitating injured native wildlife and educating the public about habitat needs of native fish and wildlife species.

Audubon's urban conservation program also addresses issues associated with regional growth management, Portland's migratory bird program, and numerous other projects related to urban wildlife and natural resource issues. It serves as an important clearing house for information related to urban natural resources through its collaborative Urban Fauna (Friends and Advocates of Urban Natural Areas) web site.

Government Agencies

The Institute works closely with and provides input on policies to numerous public agencies, including the City of Portland's Bureau of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Environmental Services and the Office of Sustainable Development; Metro's growth management and regional greenspaces programs; and local jurisdictions.

Portland State University: We have a long-standing partnership with Portland State University, dating to the early 1970s, when Executive Director Mike Houck received his graduate degree in biology there. Beginning in the 1980s, we initiated a relationship with PSU's Geography Department, working with Dr. Joseph Poracsky to hold seminars on urban natural resource issues and a popular series of symposia, "Country In the City," that drew experts from across North America and internationally to Portland to explore the protection, restoration and management of natural resources in the urban environment. The Institute's office is in the Geography Department's Center for Spatial Analysis and Research.

Portland State University is also host to the Urban Ecosystem Research Consortium (UERC), which brings together researchers and practitioners from throughout the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region to share information on issues related to the urban ecosystem.