Policy structures and the effects of land-use practices such as redlining led to a system where the benefits of trees are outweighed by the financial and safety burdens for impacts on immigrants, communities of color, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations. These effects is still seen and felt here in many ways, including the lack of trees, parks, and green space in traditionally Black neighborhoods and those with lower income.
The Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region has one of the most severe urban heat islands in the U.S, with among the highest disparities in summer heat extremes between wealthy well-treed, and pavement-plagued lower income neighborhoods. On the social side, BIPOC youth and young adults lack opportunities and pathways to participate in green sector career training, leading to under-representation of BIPOC communities in the environmental job sectors.
With the leadership of The Blueprint Foundation, Urban Greenspaces Institute is supporting them along with Portland State University - Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab, and The Nature Conservancy of Oregon to establish a regional urban forestry collaborative called Connecting Canopies Coalition.