Staff Honors

Mike Houck- Executive Director

Mike Houck receives the Portland Garden Club Commendation from Club Member and fellow Portland Park Board member Joey Pope Portland Garden Club presents Mike Houck with their Conservation Commendation Award.

On Wednesday- June 11th- 2009 the Portland Garden Club presented Urban Greenspaces Institute Executive Director- Mike Houck- with their Conservation Commendation award that read- "In recognition of his persistence- innovation- and leadership in restoring and preserving the natural world within urban environments." Mike is also under consideration for a national award from the National Garden Club of America- which is based in New York City.

ASLA AwardASLA recipients National Landscape Architects Honorary ASLA Award- April- 2007.

Mike Houck- Executive Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute- was recently inducted as one of 13 new Honorary members of the American Society of Landscape Architects at the Society's annual meeting in Washington- D. C.

The award- given to only 111 people since 1899- recognizes non-landscape architects whose achievements are deemed to be of national or international significance and to people who have provided notable service to the profession of landscape architecture. Previous recipients include William H. Whyte- Laurence Rockefeller- Bette Midler- Lady Bird Johnson- Jimmy Carter- Al Gore- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.- Cecil Andrus- Bruce Babbitt- and Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

When presented with the award- ASLA President- specifically referenced his co-founding of the Coalition for a Livable Future and his commitment to many years of advocacy for better integrating the built and natural environments- a core mission of the Urban Greenspaces Institute- as highlights to why ASLA chose Mike for this prestigious award. The Institute's motto- In Livable Cities is Preservation of the Wild"- was cited by ASLA as an inspiration for recognizing Mike's and the Institute's work to improve the urban landscape through parks- trails- and natural areas.

Loeb Fellowship- Harvard University's Graduate School of Design- 2003-2004 Academic Year

imageMike was selected as one of 11 recipients of the Loeb Fellowship for the 2003-2004 academic year. The Loeb Fellowship was established in 1970 through the generosity of the late John L. Loeb. Based at the Graduate School of Design- the program offers ten annual postprofessional awards for independent study at Harvard. Through the Fellowship- participants have access to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences- the Graduate School of Design- the Graduate School of Education- Harvard Business School- Harvard College- Harvard Divinity School- Harvard Law School- the Kennedy School of Government- and M.I.T.

The Fellowship is a unique opportunity to nurture the leadership potential of the most promising men and women in design and other professions related to the built and natural environment. It enhances the excellence of the GSD by exposing students to some of the most exciting mid-career professionals in their fields. John Loeb realized this potential when he endowed the Loeb Fellowship to fill a special place in American education: one that would greatly increase the practical effectiveness of the design professions.

Mike's classmates included the Deputy Planning Director for Beijing- China; Chief Architect for the city of Jerusalem; sustainable development advocate from Curitiba- Brazil and city planners- affordable housing advocates- architects and smart growth advocates from around the United States.

Award Architecture Foundation of Oregon- Honored Citizen Award- April 2005

In presenting Mike Houck with its Honored Citizen Award the Architecture Foundation of Oregon stated- " this tribute goes to a renowned urban naturalist who lives and works in our midst- Founding Director of The Urban Greenspaces Institute. Dedicated to maintaining habitats for wildlife in our urban areas- Mike Houck has maintained a vigilant and vocal crusade for more than 20 years. During that time- his work has grown from a focus on environmental issues to a broader advocacy for a wide range of important urban and natural resources for the region. He has advocated for affordable housing- a rational metropolitan transportation system- the restoration of urban waterways- and a strong urban wilds system. According to The Oregonian- "More than any other individual- Houck has motivated- cajoled and convinced a critical mass of key people that regional coordination is essential if the metropolitan area's natural corridors and greenways are to survive the half-million population increase expected by 2010." Past recipients of AFO's Honored Citizen Award include- Robert J. Frasca- FAIA; philanthropist Jean Vollum; OHSU President Dr. Peter O. Kohler; Senator Mark O. Hatfield.

Labbe Award Lifetime Achievement Award- Coalition for a Livable Future- March 2005

Mike Houck was recognized for his longstanding support of and work with Metro's regional parks and Greenspaces program. Beginning in 1989 Mike- working with Metro staff and council as well as local park providers and park and greenspace advocates from around the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region- has advocated for the creation of a bi-state interconnected system of parks- trails- and natural areas.

image Heidelberg Award for Environmental Excellence- Heidelberg International Club- Heidelberg- Germany- November- 2002.

Mike Houck receiving Heidelberg Germany's Heidelberg Club International Award for Environmental Excellence. Left Beate Weber- Mayor of Heidelberg. To Mike's right is Dr. David Goode- Head of the Environment for London- England (November 2000)


  • National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution- Outstanding Achievement for Environmental Awareness- May- 2004.
  • William F. Finley Lifetime Achievement Award- Audubon Society of Portland- 2003.
  • Metro recognized Mike with its first annual regional growth awards for his contribution to protect natural resources for future generations of metropolitan residents- February- 1999.
  • Designated as a "Giraffe" by The Giraffe Project. The Giraffe Project is a non-profit organization that finds and commends "Giraffes" who stick their necks out in community-oriented work-1995.
  • National Wetlands Conservation Award- Environmental Law Institute- Washington- D. C.- 1994
  • George Russill Community Service Award- through the Oregon Community Foundation- 1991.
  • American Planning Association- Oregon Chapter- award for contributions to Oregon's land use planning program in the urban environment- 1991.
  • Oregon Peace Institute award for work on conservation of urban natural resources and formation of conservation coalitions- October 199O.
  • Oregon chapter- American Society of Landscape Architects "Conservation of The Urban Landscape" award- September 199O.
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission award for work on Urban Wildlife Habitat issues- July 199O.
  • Recipient of Chevron Corporation national conservation award for the Metropolitan Wildlife Refuge System project. One of ten volunteer conservation awards given annually by Chevron- May 199O.