Climate Resilient Urban Campuses and Communities: Final Showcase in Portland

This blog post was written by Portland CRUX Fellow Thea Kindschuh

On July 9, 2018 Climate Resilient Urban Campuses and Communities (CRUX) Portland hosted an end-of-grant showcase of the resilience work achieved over the past two years. Phoenix CRUX Fellow Brian Grant and Second Nature Innovative Services Manager Ruby Woodside flew in to join Portland participants from Portland State University (PSU), Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), and Portland Community College in touring MHCC’s natural areas and hearing about research and partnerships in resilience at PSU.

The morning started out with an overview of the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council’s (SRBWC) stormwater retrofit project at MHCC, led by SRBWC Community Stewardship Coordinator Sara Ennis. Along with MHCC’s Sustainability Specialist Troy Builta and City of Gresham Business Sustainability Coordinator Gregg Hayward, Sara guided a two-hour tour on MHCC’s extensive natural areas. The group learned what resilient systems look like on a broad, holistic level as well as visited projects being implemented. The tour gave an opportunity for participants to experience MHCC’s current assets, see what can be achieved with minimal funding, and identify potential collaborations between individuals and campuses as a whole.

Sandy River Basin Watershed Council Community Stewardship Coordinator Sara Ennis

Following the MHCC tour, participants joined PSU and community representatives in downtown Portland to hear about resilience projects in Phoenix and Portland. Phoenix CRUX Fellow Brian Grant shared how task forces from Arizona State University and South Mountain Community College held engaging workshops and visioning exercises, culminating in tree planting, shade structures, and individual resilience strategies. 

Phoenix CRUX Fellow Brian Grant present on projects from Arizona

Portland-focused presentations included hearing from Mapping Action Collective (MAC) Co-Executive Director Tim Hitchins on the roles of GIS in activism and advocacy. He described how PSU helped facilitate a collaboration with local non-profit Street Roots to build community capacity and information sharing through community asset mapping that will be hosted on the Northwest Open Data Exchange. Climate researcher Vivek Shandas also shared his work on climate risk visualizations for the Portland metro area, and how this work can play into further site-level strategy and efficacy measurement tools for climate resilience planning at the site, campus, community, and city levels.

Participants listen to presentations at Portland State University.

Throughout the day, the interest and excitement among participants was palpable, and the ideas generated spilled over to a happy hour in downtown Portland. For everyone involved in the CRUX project, this was just the beginning of partnerships that will continue through numerous linked, relevant, and effectual resilience projects long into the future.

Top Photo: Portland CRUX Fellow Thea Kindschuh