UGI collaborates  with other nonprofit organizations, agencies, researchers, designers and community activists. The Institute brings a sense of urgency to our collective urban conservation and climate justice work. We are continuously seeking out and developing cooperative efforts to further our mission. Our collaboration and policy initiatives include efforts to link affordable housing, transportation, climate justice, and equity agendas.  

Current Policy Work: UGI supported the efforts of the Welcome Home Coalition in 2018 to pass the region’s first affordable housing bond, co-hosting a forum for the conservation community to learn more about and engage with the campaign. In 2019, we are working with the Nature for All campaign to renew and expand the scope of the 2006 regional parks and nature bond. UGI is also part of Getting there Together, a coalition seeking to influence and pass a 2020 bond to alleviate congestion and improve access to safe, equitable, and climate-smart transportation choices.

In Portland, UGI is working with Portland for Everyone to advance the Residential Infill Project reforms and associated anti-displacement measures. UGI is also active in and tracking the City’s South Reach Plan update, and various zoning code amendments to promote embedded green infrastructure within the redeveloping fabric of the City. Across the region, UGI staff serve on advisory committees and engage with a range of land use, transportation, parks, green infrastructure, conservation financing, and water/watershed issues.

Small and nimble, UGI frequently works in partnership with others on policy advocacy, such as Audubon Society of Portland, Willamette Riverkeeper, North Clackamas Watersheds Council, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Friends of Clark County, Springwater Parks and Community District, The Wetlands Conservancy, Columbia Land Trust, WaterWatch of Oregon, Depave and Friends of Trees.

The Intertwine Alliance: The Institute co-founded The Intertwine Alliance in 2007 to increase public investment in the Portland-Vancouver region’s system of parks, trails, and natural areas. “The Intertwine” is the network of green that connects our region, and it includes the human and social infrastructure needed to maintain and grow this network with an approach that addresses historical and ongoing inequities in access to nature. The Alliance seeks to enhance public engagement in enjoying, protecting and funding acquisition and management of this system. The Alliance now includes more than 160 partners. UGI’s Mike Houck serves on the TIA board and Ted Labbe is engaged with TIA’s  policy committee.

ES CoverRegional Conservation Strategy and Biodiversity Guide to the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area: In 2010-12, partners from The Intertwine Alliance collaborated to produce the region’s first-ever Regional Conservation Strategy (RCS). More than 100 volunteers worked together on the Strategy and companion Biodiversity Guide and maps, which continue to guide natural area acquisition and restoration strategies. Together, the RCS, Biodiversity Guide and maps provide a common understanding of the region’s biodiversity and sets an agenda for its conservation. The RCS identifies conservation challenges, and provides a vision and framework for our ongoing work to protect and restore the region’s resplendent natural systems.

Urban Ecological Research Consortium: The Institute co-founded the Urban Ecological Research Consortium (UERC) in 2001 to bring current research and studies into the hands of local policy makers, and to help researchers identify and engage in policy-relevant studies. The UERC convenes an annual symposium at Portland State University to bridge the divide between science and policy, and create a forum for cross-sector learning around ecological restoration and management, urban and regenerative design, as well as regional policy and economics. The UERC also hosts an email listserv and a monthly brown-bag lecture and discussion series. Learn more about the UERC here.

Policy Makers RidePolicy Makers Ride: Since 2005, UGI and Moda Health have led an annual bike ride to profile trails and active transportation infrastructure opportunities, challenges and successes. The ride brings together elected officials, transportation planners, civic leaders, and advocates for parks, trails, bicycles and pedestrians in a lively, interactive format. This ‘Voyage of the Visionaries’ has taken up to 150 participants to all corners of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region to explore and learn about the emerging active transportation network. Conversations and relationships started through the Policy Makers Ride influence regional transportation policy and plans. UGI continues to be active in planning and organizing the annual ride.

Coalition for a Livable Future: UGI helped create the Coalition For A Livable Future (CLF) in 1994 to create and maintain healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities, both human and natural, for the benefit of present and future residents of the region. The Coalition’s sought to influence land use, transportation, housing, economic, and environmental policies through advocacy, research, and public education. While the Coalition is no more, its impact continues to influence regional planning and the integration of social and environmental justice, affordable housing, and conservation. Through CLF the urban conservation community built continuing relationships with advocates for affordable housing, sustainable transportation, new urbanism, and social justice.