Trees for Clean Air in NE Portland
If you live in Sumner, Cully, Parkrose, Argay, or Wilkes, register here to get a free tree!
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.
Except we’re the type of people who possibly get more excited about the trees’ second life as a refuge for salmonids in the Columbia Slough than we do when the tree is all gussied up with lights and decorations.
The trees will form a barrier, protecting the fish from predators, offering a water break to keep the fish from getting pushed out of their homes by increased spring water flow and offering a habitat. After reading about how trees, free of tinsel, spray ‘snow’ and paint can be used as a natural refuge for salmonids— a general term for members of the salmon family—our Green Space team first worked on with a local boy scout troop on a similar project and repeated the activity this year.
F0T staff and volunteers sunk 13 trees, left 3 as floating barriers and because we don’t do things half way, fished out a few tires from the slough.
Way to regift.
From Portland’s Bureau of Planning & Sustainability
On Wednesday, April 13, Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve amendments to the December 2010 draft of the Citywide Tree Policy and Regulatory Improvement Project. The amendments were made in response to input from individuals and community organizations.
The Council referred to the comprehensive overhaul of the city’s tree rules as “landmark legislation” and expressed appreciation for the many Portlanders, organizations, and city bureaus that have participated in this multi-year effort.
The Citywide Tree Project will be implemented in phases, starting with the development of informational materials and a tree manual, permit tracking system upgrades, and initial amendments to the Portland Zoning Code in July 2011. Implementation of the new consolidated code, Title 11 (Trees), a second set of zoning code amendments, a new single point of contact, and a 24-hour tree hotline pilot project will begin in February 2013.
A project summary, adopted ordinances, amendments to the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Draft to City Council (December 2010), and a list of code amendments that will become effective this July are posted along with general information about the project at www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject.
Friends of Trees has been involved in the Citywide Tree Project for many years and is pleased that City Council approved the policy changes. Watch this blog later this week for more information about the new policies. You can also read more about community support for tree policy changes in this March story on our blog.