Urban Ecosystems

One of Bird Alliance of Oregon’s top priorities is ensuring that the Portland-Vancouver Metro Region is one of the greenest metropolitan regions in North America. On a rapidly urbanizing planet, it is essential that we build our cities in ways that protect and preserve biodiversity, air and water quality, and access to nature. And that our cities both combat and are resilient against the impacts of climate change.

Creating compact, healthy livable cities is also key to preventing urban sprawl which contributes directly to the number one threat to biodiversity, the loss and fragmentation of wildlife habitat. Bird Alliance of Oregon believes access to nature within walking distance for all urban residents is critical to building a culture of conservation and is an essential component of any complete, equitable, sustainable neighborhood. Every person has a right to a healthy, sustainable community.

“What is the extinction of the condor to a child who has never known a wren?” – Robert Michael Pyle, The Thunder Tree

Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Work to Protect Our Urban Environment

Bird Alliance of Oregon has been a pioneer in the field of urban conservation. Mike Houck, Bird Alliance of Oregon’s visionary Urban Naturalist conceived of an interconnected system of “urban wildlife refuges” in the 1980s, a vision that over time evolved into the Regional Greenspaces System. Bird Alliance of Oregon also successfully advocated for the protection of Oaks Bottom, Portland’s first urban wildlife refuge and many of the other natural areas that today spread across our urban landscape.

Our urban work has always been intersectional—we work with a wide array of partners and coalitions to create complete communities that have affordable housing, sustainable transportation alternatives, access to family wage jobs, access to nature, and a healthy environment. We place a high value on equity, ensuring that those who have traditionally borne the burdens of environmental degradation have a strong voice in environmental decision-making and reap the benefits of environmental initiatives.

Bird Alliance of Oregon works at multiple scales to create a green, sustainable and equitable urban landscape. This includes: