The Jade District in outer southeast Portland is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse census tracts in Portland, home to the city’s largest concentration of Asian Americans. The Jade District also experiences significant environmental health disparities, stemming from exposure to air toxins and lack of walk-ability/accessibility.
As part of the Jade Greening Project, Jade residents and community partners, including Friends of Trees, explored these issues and how to address them. We walked the Jade District, venturing into side streets and residential areas, making critical observations. Actions and strategies were informed by issues of equity and environmental justice, a commitment to engaging community voices, and ways to ensure the greening and revitalization– and not the gentrification- of the Jade District.
Friends of Trees’ involvement will contribute to the successful greening of the Jade District through continuing our tree-planting events in the area; translating materials for more successful outreach; offering leadership training opportunities so community members can get involved in neighborhood tree-plantings; offering additional tree planting opportunities along neighborhood greenways and safe routes to school; and, working with partners including APANO, OPAL, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry and Jade District residents to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy urban forest to a healthy community.
Friends of Trees was honored to participate in the signing ceremony for this project through planting two trees (Princeton sentry ginkgo and Chinese pistache) to kick-off the greening, a fitting reflection of what it means to grow community.