WTS to present diversity leadership award tonight for I-205 tree-planting project

11-01-17 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service I-205 Multi-Use Path
Green Space Initiative Manager Logan Lauvray instructs I-205 Multi-Use Path volunteers on MLK Jr Day of Service 2011 (FOT file)

The Oregon Department of Transportation and Friends of Trees are honored to accept the Women’s Transportation Seminar‘s 2011 Leadership in Diversity Award at tonight’s WTS annual awards event. The award is being presented for the three-year I-205 Multi-Use Path: A New Forest Grows project. The project is funded by a $410,000 Metro Nature in Neighborhoods capital grant with significant support from other agencies, businesses, and foundations.

WTS, an international organization founded in 1977, presents the Leadership in Diversity Award each year to individuals or organizations showing extraordinary effort to develop opportunities for women and minorities, and which contribute significantly to promoting diversity and cultural awareness.

More than a thousand volunteers from economically, culturally, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds have planted approximately 4,000 trees and shrubs along the I-205 Multi-Use Path during the first two years of the project.

The 16.5-mile path runs parallel to the freeway from the Columbia River in North Portland southward to the city of Gladstone, and it crosses some of Portland’s most economically, racially, and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Separated from the freeway by green space, the path is used by a growing number of cyclists, pedestrians, and TriMet travelers. Stories written by ODOT staff about some of the volunteers have been featured on this blog, including “Loving-kindness Along the I-205 Multi-Use Path” and “From Cambodia to Oregon.”

Through a partnership with the Portland Development Commission, the I-205 Multi-Use Path project has also provided green jobs for economically disadvantaged youth affiliated with the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center. You can read stories on this blog about some of these youth, including Lovie Sanders, Lavette Lacy, Antonio Askew, and Pablo Juan Tomas.

Also contributing to the project’s emphasis on diversity is the nonprofit Verde’s assistance with planting preparation and tree care. Verde’s mission is to improve the economic health of disadvantaged communities by creating environmental job training, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities fostering the connection between economic vitality and environmental protection and restoration.

The project also includes women from ODOT and Friends of Trees in key roles, which is consistent with WTS’ mission to promote women in leadership roles to help shape and influence transportation decisions and policy.

While promoting diversity, the project will reduce air pollution, increase neighborhood livability, provide habitat for wildlife and songbirds, and beautify a well-traveled transportation corridor.

In addition to ODOT, Metro, and Friends of Trees, the following have provided generous support for the I-205 Multi-Use Path project: East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., IKEA, Cantel Sweeping, Collier Arbor Care, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., Portland General Electric, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, REI, The Standard, Portland Development Commission, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Worksystems Inc., the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Portland Timbers.

The above slide show includes volunteers who planted trees along the I-205 Multi-Use Path at the final planting event of the 2010-11 season on April 23.