Intertwine Alliance Fall Summit

The Intertwine Alliance welcomed over two hundred and fifty attendees to our Fall Summit at the Oregon Zoo, (one of our newest Intertwine Partners!) The summit featured keynote speakers Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Mickey Fearn, Deputy Director of the National Park Service. Congresswoman Bonamici spok about the importance of The Alliance's work in leveraging precious funding. The event kicked off with workshops highlighting Metro's Regional Active Transportation Plan and the completion of The Intertwine's Regional Conservation Strategy, two projects that demonstrate The Alliance's broad mission and the excellent, collaborative work of our partner agencies. 

Metro is currently in the midst of drafting a Regional Active Transportation Plan that will develop priorities for building a world-class network of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, giving citizens throughout our region more mobility options and helping identify the most pressing, immediate needs to our system. After an excellent introductory speech by Intertwine Board Member Dr. Philip Wu about the relationship between active transportation and public health, workshop participants were guided through the early findings of the Existing Conditions report and contributed feedback for specific recommendations as the Regional Active Transportation Plan team begins to study different scenarios for building out The Intertwine Alliance's vision of a world-class network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Learn more about active transportation and why The Alliance is working to ensure that a robust network of pedestrian and bicycle routes is completed across the region.

In the next room, Mike Houck and Jonathan Sol presented the recently completed Regional Conservation Strategy, the product of over 135 authors from over 80 organizations and more than three years of work. The project was developed in true Intertwine Alliance fashion, as a collaboration among public, private and nonprofit partners. A planning process of this sort would have typically cost as much as $3 million. By developing it collaboratively, the plan was created for about $100,000 (and lots of sweat equity!) This workshop reviewed key pieces of the document and served to launch the first phase of implementation - a Regional Urban Forestry Strategy. Attendees discussed ways to advance citizen stewardship and regional collaboration around urban forestry. The Regional Conservation Strategy is available online, along with its companion document - the Biodiversity Guide.

The Summit highlight was keynote speaker Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, who acknowledged the audience for their passionate work to improve our community and highlighted the economic importance of investing in environmental infrastructure and stewardship in our community. She referenced Intertwine partners such as Keen Footwear and the many professional services firms that put our region at the leading edge nationally in green infrastructure and ecosystem services. She noted that private businesses were supporting The Intertwine's vision on the grounds of regional economic competitiveness and the quality-of-life return on investment. Representative Bonamici concluded by reinforcing the commitment from the Federal Government to support the work of these local partners, noting the immense contributions from the National Park Service and other federal agencies to collaborate with local groups such as Metro and Portland Parks and Recreation.

Mickey Fearn  spoke to the ongoing need to "diversify and unify the conservation coalition," lauded The Intertwine Alliance for establishing a game plan to continue to focus on diversity and equity throughout their advocacy. Congresswoman Bonamici and Deputy Director Fearn presented The Intertwine Alliance with a National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance award to help implement the newly-completed Regional Conservation Strategy.

The Summit closed with a short presentation of some of the successful accomplishments of Intertwine Alliance partners, including: Walker Macy Landscape Architects' Orenco Woods project, the Northwest Trail Alliance's Ventura Park Bike Pump Track, Metro's Vamonos! Project and Engelman Park. Intertwine Alliance Executive Director Mike Wetter also presented the newest Alliance partner organizations, thanking Friends of Baltimore Woods, Groundwork Portland, Hoyt Arboretum, Koch Landscape Architects, KPFF, Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, OBEC Consulting Engineers, the Oregon Zoo, Port of Portland, Rewild Portland, and Vigil-Agrimis, Inc for their contributions and welcoming them into The Alliance. 

Partners are invited to suggest topics for our the April 2013 summit. Contact us with your ideas.