10 Best Cities for Urban Forests: Portland
- Photo Credit: ThinHouse/Flickr
- A crew team on the Willamette River, Portland, Oregon. Credit: Stuart Seeger
- Downtown Portland, Oregon. Credit: Simon Dempsey
- Portland, Oregon, with Mt. Hood in the distance. ThinHouse
- Credit: Trevor Snapp/American Forests
From turning a downtown parking lot into an urban park and a former freeway into a riverfront park to maintaining a 5,000-plus-acre park with 70 miles of trails and an arboretum with nearly 1,000 species of trees and shrubs, Portland is a paradise for bikers, runners, yoga aficionados and wildlife alike. And unlike most cities in the country, its urban tree canopy has been increasing over the last few years.
Goals for the city’s canopy are actually built into multiple management plans, and the improvements the city is seeing are related to the work of a dedicated government, nonprofits and community groups. Meanwhile, the city is using green infrastructure as a cost-effective alternative to gray infrastructure and is protecting its trees through public and private ordinances and a diversification strategy. Portland estimates that its street trees alone have added more than $13 million in property resale value, and its entire urban forest provides more than $38 million in environmental benefits.