One of the most exciting and inspiring concepts to come out of the local park and nature movement was the creation of a truly regional parks and greenspaces system in the early 1990s.
Mike Houck and Barbara Walker advocating for parks at Portland City Council, 2006.
UGI’s Mike Houck and Barbara Walker advocating for parks at Portland City Council, 2006.

Building on the Olmsted’s visionary design for a comprehensive interconnected park system, the 1970 Urban Outdoors Plan and the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust’s vision for an interconnected trail and park network, a Metropolitan Greenspaces movement was launched with the adoption of a bi-state regional Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan in 1992. With the passage of two regional bond measures in 1995 and 2006, totaling $363 million, Metro and local park providers have added more than 17,000 acres of wildlife-rich natural areas for public enjoyment, ecological health, and more resilience in the face of climate change.

The Urban Greenspaces Institute has been a lead champion of multiple efforts to ensure the continued acquisition, restoration and management of urban greenspaces. Our vision is the creation of a world-class, bi-state regional system of neighborhood, community and regional parks, natural areas, trails, open spaces and recreation opportunities distributed equitably throughout the region. We believe such a system is an essential element of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region’s ecological health, civic vitality, quality of life, and is critical to the local and regional economy.

The Institute co-founded The Intertwine Alliance in 2007 to bring together other nonprofits and multiple partners from the public and private sector to build on past successes and ensure continued investment in what has come to be known as The Intertwine, the region’s system of parks, trails and natural areas.  

The addition of publicly owned natural areas from the early 1800s to late 1990s. It is no accident that land acquisition accelerated dramatically after Metro’s adoption of the Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan in 1992. Courtesy: Metro
Metro parks and natural areas
Metro’s graphic showing the addition of natural areas in their portfolio from 1989 to present. Metro now owns and manages more than 17,000 acres of natural areas. Courtesy: Metro