Clean Air Canopy
Trees for Clean Air in NE Portland
Of all the benefits that trees provide, clean air is one that entire communities benefit from. When the Owens-Brockway glass facility was found to be excessively polluting in the vicinity of several Northeast Portland communities and the Columbia Slough Watershed, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined the facility and granted funds to Friends of Trees and our partners to lead community tree plantings in the area.
Friends of Trees, in partnership with community members and organizations, will coordinate the planting of 5,000 native plants and trees over the course of the Clean Air Canopy project.
Of these, about 800 trees will be located along neighborhood streets and private properties in the Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, and Wilkes neighborhoods. 4,200 more native plants and trees will be planted in natural areas located across these neighborhoods and along the Columbia Slough watershed.
This project would not be possible without our partners: Verde, the Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), and the Cully Association of Neighbors. Verde and CAAT’s advocacy work held this polluter accountable and led to this project’s creation. These partners have been instrumental to our outreach efforts.
“This project really represents the breadth of what we do at Friends of Trees,” says Green Space Program Manager Michelle Yasutake. “Working in both neighborhoods and natural areas, connecting with community members, and providing a tangible benefit in the form of cleaner air.”
These new trees and native plants will improve air quality and the quality of life for residents of these NE Portland neighborhoods. Leaves from the trees planted in this project will not only intercept and store particulate matter from the air, they will provide shade and cooling benefits, lessen urban heat island effects, and improve habitat and stormwater management.
Friends of Trees is already working with community members to identify planting locations. Planting and caring for the trees together gives us a chance to talk with the community about the positive impacts of clean air, clean water, and healthy urban tree canopy in neighborhoods and nearby industrialized areas.
“We’re really excited for this opportunity to form connections with residents, and to work alongside them to understand their needs and bring trees to their community in a way that works best for them,” says Aliesje King, the Neighborhood Trees Program Manager at Friends of Trees.