As Portland grows we have to actively seek appropriate planting spaces for our large and iconic native trees. These trees are important for maintaining the character of the region, keeping habitats connected, and keeping our rivers cool and the air clean.
Evergreens are especially important for managing stormwater because they have leaves in the wettest winter months to capture the rain before it hits the ground. With the native and evergreen project, we use our extensive data set on street tree planting potential to target the largest planting strips in Portland for these majestic trees.
At the same time, climate change is expected to bring warmer, wetter winters, and hotter, dryer summers to Portland. Portland already has one of the most drastic urban heat islands in the country and climate change will only make it worse.
Changing conditions will stress the urban forest and could lead to losses from fire, disease, insect pests, and drought. As part of the Climate Change Preparation Strategy, we’re experimenting with drought-tolerant evergreens that will help us manage stormwater during our wet winters while ensuring an urban forest for the next generation.