It’s time for another Shade Equity Social!  Join 350PDX on Monday, October 16th from 6-8 pm to celebrate Portland’s urban forests and share information & ideas about how to grow a more climate resilient and equitable urban forest.

At our last Shade Equity Social, 50+ folks tackled some big issues like funding and support for planting and maintaining more trees, the perceived tension between green infrastructure and development, and building political power.  These discussions highlighted the need to dig a little deeper into the tension between building more housing and maintaining our urban forests  – summarized in this helpful synthesis.

Since that time, this issue has gained even more prominence (see this letter to the Governor regarding the HPAC’s recommendation to gut local tree codes).  At our October 16th Shade Equity Social, we will focus on crafting a new narrative in which housing density, green infrastructure and urban forests can co-exist.  We’ll welcome guests from the sustainable development community to discuss approaches to expanding housing in Oregon that support healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. 

Food & drinks provided. Please register for the event.  Families are welcome & child care provided.

Location: Rebuilding Center Workshop (3639 N. Mississippi Ave.).  On TriMet Bus Line #4, side street parking available

Background on the Shade Equity Campaign

Everyone deserves access to street trees that provide life-saving shade. However, Portland’s history of racist zoning and land use policies have created a deeply inequitable urban landscape. To this day, wealthier, whiter neighborhoods tend to have more street trees than historically redlined neighborhoods, where there are more BIPOC (Black & Indigenous people & People of Color) and people living on low-incomes.

The City of Portland needs to grapple with its history of inequitable land use planning, and to address how its current policies allow street tree and infrastructure inequities to persist. For example, even though street trees are public infrastructure, the cost of their maintenance currently falls on adjacent landowners – creating a disincentive for low-income Portlanders to have more trees planted in their neighborhoods. This means that Portland’s tree canopy is steadily becoming less equitable, as well as shrinking overall.

Street trees not only provide life-shaving shade during extreme heat events, but they are key to maintaining Portland’s ecological biodiversity and critical to human health year-round.

The climate crisis will make extreme heat events more common and more intense. That’s why we need to take action now to make sure everyone has access to life-saving shade and all the benefits that street trees provide.

Join the growing grassroots movement for shade equity in Portland! Together we will fight for equitable street tree coverage across our city.