Category Archives: Land Use Planning

Bringing The Wild Back To The City

Oregon Community Trees recent keynote speaker Dr. Doug Tallamy says that while Portland is lush and beautiful, it is DEAD!  Portland has so few insects because most of the vegetation in the city is non-native and the native insects, that are the base of the food chain, need native plants to reproduce!

Enthusiastic participants – Trapper Creek Wilderness

I lead field trips to the wild on weekends that focus on native plant and wildlife communities—helping people appreciate them for their intrinsic beauty and wonder and also for the ecosystems services they provide.  I ask folks who sign up to help me make the trips as participatory as possible by doing a bit of research on the natural or cultural history of the region to share with the group. Some do!  The trips provide a good way to renew the body, rejuvenate the spirit and make new friends.

I’m trying to recruit more people on my trips who will come back to the city and incorporate what they discover into our overall green infrastructure: green streets, green roofs, green walls, green landscapes and green buildings as well as designs for walkable neighborhoods and great urbanism region-wide. So I’d especially like help in getting word out to landscape architects, landscape suppliers and builders.  To really be effective its crucial to reach all parts of the built environment community: planners, designers, developers, financiers, suppliers and builders.

I schedule my trips through Portland-Vancouver Sierra Club Outings Meetup (free to join) because Sierra Club offers leader training, first aid and insurance.  And Sierra Club has advocated for the things I care about since 1892.  The trips are also free, though Sierra Club asks that you consider a voluntary $2-3 donation towards its leader training. I help people explore and appreciate ancient (aka old growth) forests; showy wildflower meadows and their more modest cousins under the forest canopy; wild rivers and streams; and mountain lakes with wetlands. In winter, I look for places with good snow for XC skiing. If I have to pick a favorite, it’s the west side Cascades. But I plan to include some trips to the east side of the Cascades and the Oregon Coast as well.

Not all of my trips are to wilderness areas (limited to 12), but the ones that are sometimes fill up fast.   Identify yourself as a Built Environment Professional in your profile when you sign up. If I can, I’ll give you priority for a spot on the trips. (People who have signed up, drop off at the last minute–or they don’t show up at all! So I’ll promise that you won’t be turned away if you have put yourself on the waiting list.)

I myself am an urban planner who wants to preserve the wild by bringing more of what people appreciate there back to the city to help make our cities and towns more livable, healthy, climate-friendly and resilient.  I strive to create places that people don’t feel the need to escape.  I hope you will join me in enjoying and protecting the wild—and bringing more of it back to the city.  Urbanism and nature can co-exist.  In fact, if our species is to survive they must!

Mary Vogel
PlanGreen

What Do You Recommend for Unemployed Planners, Mayor Adams?

Mayor Sam Adams
Portland City Hall
Portland, OR
Sam,
Thanks for your mention today in State of the Cityat City Club our statewide land use planning legacy and such efforts as Portland’s complete neighborhoods.  These efforts have attracted planners and other built environment professionals from all over the country (often right out of graduate school).Yet, for much of the time that I’ve been back here (mid 2007), the City and related agencies have been laying off planners and shrinking their RFPs.  The unemployment rate amongst us built environment professionals is said to be around 45% (though things seem to have picked up a bit for some architecture firms lately).What do you recommend for those of us in planning and other built environment fields?  It seems your jobs plan overlooks us. Should we seek to squeeze into other fields? Move to another city?  Try to get a job with New Seasons?  Start our own B-Line bicycle delivery company? Other?I’m going to post this question on my blog and tweet it to you as that will have far better chance of getting an answer.
Thanks,
MaryPS  I’d like to suggest that your next round of budget cuts start with the POLICE!  The number of police and amount of overtime you/they spent on Occupy Portland has been quite wasteful.  Please know that it is me and people like me who are part of Occupy Portland!  We will take care of the occasional overly enthusiastic person in the group ourselves.  We don’t need three trucks of cops fully-equipped in riot gear riding around our downtown streets to make us feel safe–not to mention all the police car, bicycle and horseback cops et al–quite the contrary!PPS  I appreciated your response to the Oregonian’s article on street maintenance.  Bob Stacey just posted a fine piece about that on his blog.

Mary Vogel, CNU-A
PlanGreen
A Woman Business Enterprise/Emerging Small Business in Oregon
503-245-7858
http://www.plangreen.net

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Twitter Latest tweet: My neighborhood can be so much fun sometimes. Welcome back Occupy! Check out these photos: http://t.co/bR5om4qc