A group of people facing the sunset.
Portland Acres Park A view of the Portland skyline from Pittock Park. © Kevin Bermingham
Stories in Oregon

Connecting Canopies

How Trees Can Make Portland Healthier

Learn more about urban wellbeing and the power of trees.

Urban Wellbeing and Trees

To improve the equitable distribution of trees and the many benefits they bring, a group of local partners—The Blueprint Foundation, The Intertwine Alliance and The Nature Conservancy—created an initiative called Connecting Canopies. We’re working to bring together neighborhoods, government, partners and businesses to create inclusive and sustainable action plans for urban tree planting and stewardship.

A New Model for Urban Tree Stewardship

A community-led process that is built on trust will be key to achieving lasting change, so Connecting Canopies starts all projects with community voices and engagement to build an implementation plan.

Using Science to Target Tree Plantings

In the Portland metro region, neighborhoods that might benefit from increased tree canopy are overlooked and underinvested communities that have historically been neglected in urban conservation efforts. The Nature Conservancy is working to provide interactive maps and the data necessary to target tree planting, community outreach and financial investments where they are most needed. By providing new data tools, we can help to better prioritize tree planting and care, improved local policies that address inequities in tree cover and support for community-driven stewardship of green spaces.

Blazing Trails and Increasing Diversity in to Green Jobs

To support the planting and maintenance of more urban trees, The Blueprint Foundation is leading a pre-apprentice program that provides career training and opportunities for young and mid-career Black, Latinx and Indigenous members of Black, Indigenous and other communities of color community members. Developed in partnership with Portland Fruit Tree ProjectFriends of Trees and other community-based organizations, the curriculum also includes caring for fruit trees, restoring natural habitats and tending for urban gardens in underserved communities, and restoring bioswales and other greenspaces. Nearly all cohort participants of the first cohort have received job or internship offers upon completing the program. 

Providing an Example for Cities Around the World

Having more urban trees could benefit countless other cities. Globally, extreme events contribute to more deaths than all other natural disasters combined. What we create in Portland will serve as a model for other cities and will be shared with our TNC colleagues around the world.

A lake surrounded by mountains.
Sparks Lake, Oregon Along the beautiful Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway © Paul Carew