Making the Case for Urban Greening

Making the Case for Urban Greening in Portland’s Jade District

By Kristiana Teige Witherill

Jade Greening Meeting

Jade Greening partners from APANO, Friends of Trees, City of Portland, Columbia Land Trust/Backyard Habitat, Multnomah County, Depave, and Willamette Partnership reconvened to celebrate their accomplishments and find new ways of working together.


Over two years ago, Oregon Solutions brought together nonprofit and local government partners to work toward a shared vision of a more breathable, accessible, livable, and prosperous Jade District. Since then, the Jade Greening collaboration led by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), has planted 364 trees, created a third of an acre of new greenspaces, and interacted with over a thousand community members through volunteer and outreach events. Yesterday, July 24, 2019, the partners of this collaboration gathered at APANO’s new Orchards of 82nd community space to reflect on these accomplishments and brainstorm ideas for how to keep the momentum going.    

Willamette Partnership has supported the Jade Greening effort by partnering with Providence Center for Outcomes Research and Education and Portland State University to model the predicted water, air, and health benefits of the neighborhood tree planting activities. The results were captured in a Community Casemaking document that APANO and other Jade Greening partners can use to educate the community, advocate for supportive policy, and fundraise for future greening projects. 

We partnered with Shift Health Accelerator to take our experience measuring outcomes in the Jade District to create a template framework. This template provides community groups, cities, and coalitions working to increase urban greenspace with a tool to show the multiple benefits of their activities. The framework uses guidelines for equitable evaluation and the components needed to support outcomes-based investment for health and environment. Communities can use this framework to estimate anticipated health and environmental outcomes from proposed greening projects, prioritize siting and types of greenspaces, and track and communicate progress over time.  

We hope that this work will help the Jade District partners, and communities across the country, make their neighborhoods greener, healthier, safer, and more prosperous places to live.

Kristiana Teige Witherill is Willamette Partnership’s Clean Water Project Manager and lead on strategy development and facilitation for the National Network on Water Quality Trading. Prior to joining the Partnership, Kristiana was deputy director of Carpe Diem West, a nonprofit network of water resource and land managers pioneering innovative source water protection programs across the American West. Her work centered on building the value of the network, communications, and fundraising. Drawing on her experience at a water and wastewater utility, Kristiana has felt first-hand the challenges faced by the utility sector and works to find solutions to those challenges that benefit both people and the environment. She holds a Master of Environmental Science with a water resources management focus from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a BA in economics from Wellesley College.


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