Category Archives: tree planting

Road Scholar (Elderhostel) Program in Portland, Oregon – Sustainability issues

Your comments welcome below. Thanks for your input. What do you think?
Thanks to Annelise Kelly, The Palate Pioneer, for her editing brilliance!  

March 16, 2012

Road Scholar
11 Avenue de Lafeyette
Boston, MA 02111

Attention: Domestic Program Development

Hello!

My parents have been enjoying Road Scholar programs for many years. When planning to visit me in Portland, Oregon recently they were interested in combining their visit with one of your programs. It occurred to me that Road Scholar could offer a program around what this city is really excelling at – sustainable development, urban planning, mass transit and other related topics. I imagine participants might be interested in exploring these topics and taking some of what Portland has learned back to their own communities.

Portland has attracted some of the brightest minds in the sustainability movement. Their exciting work is creating a stir worldwide. I find living here fascinating (watch an episode of the new IFC show, Portlandia, and you’ll quickly see what I mean). I imagine some of your participants would enjoy visiting the “real” Portlandia and learning what all of the buzz is about.

Portland’s excellent food and natural attractions such as the Columbia Gorge would help make such a program quite popular.

Here are a few of the courses/topics I propose for a Portland Road Scholar program:

  • Community Gardens/Orchards
  • City Repair – a local group that works to make the city more livable cityrepair.org
  • Mass Transit – light rail/street cars/buses = Livability – streetcars? – we make them here!
  • Depaving – removing pavement and adding in community gardens – depave.org
  • Neighborhood Councils – Portland has more than any other city and they are effective at creating change
  • Neighborhood Art Walks: Last Thursday on Alberta St., 1st Thursday in the Pearl , and more
  • Reviving main street – small businesses thrive in Portland – Buy Local Movement
  • Bike Culture – seeing Portland by bike
  • Tree planting (Friends of Trees) and other eco-conscious ways that the City’s infrastructure is being improved – storm water, bioswales…
  • Hi-tech: Portland is a center for technical innovation. Participants could take part in social networking classes, learning how to document their Portland experience and share it with friends. I’ve been teaching classes in this since 2009 and I would love to offer my services.
  • Portlandia behind the scenes – why is Portlandia funny? A Portlandia screening in an old movie theater and then visits to some of the places shown in the series
  • McMenamins– This thriving local empire restores local movie theaters, chapels, and lodges into thriving brewpubs, restaurants and hotels. Their success speaks to Portland’s appreciation of history and culture of creative re-use.
  • The Re-Building Center – the re-use of building materials
  • Portland’s quality-of-life values: getting rid of the freeway separating downtown from the river led to many other improvements and helps make Portland one of the most livable cities in the United States. See also: our amazing urban growth boundary
  • Farmers Markets, food carts, local restaurants
  • Ecstatic and Tango dance – both are experiencing steady growth in Portland (we are also the center for NIA and other body movement therapies)
  • Alternative medicine –Portland’s alternative healthcare scene is thriving (acupuncture, massage, watsu, etc.)

These are some sample topics. I can imagine many more which could contribute to an evolving program for those who visit Portland.

As a 10-year Portland resident and an avid networker I have contacts with many experts on the above topics who would serve as excellent teachers. I would be glad to coordinate any and all aspects of this project and am also excited to collaborate, another Portland skill! I have long had an interest in teaching retired people life skills and this course could include tracks in financial management, alternative healthcare choices and other later in life skills.

Portland is a special place. It’s repeatedly listed as one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. If this idea interests Road Scholar let’s discuss the idea further. I hope we can make a Road Scholar Portland Sustainable City program happen. And, I’m sure my parents; Rich and Hannah Kaufman will be the first to sign up!

Sincerely,

Albert Kaufman

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Tree Planting Success 2012

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We had a great tree planting in Irvington, Sabin, Grant Park, and Alameda neighborhoods last weekend (March 10, 2012). thanks are in order! Here are some of the folks we want to thank!

  1. Friends of Trees Staff – esp. Jesse Batty and Erica Timm – for leading the charge and making the event go so smoothly.
  2. Eric McClelland and Marai Boamod – who drove the rental truck to Molalla and back and picked up our trees!
  3. To our fabulous local businesses who donated food and drink for the breakast and lunches: Whole Foods, Helen Bernhard Bakery, Costello’s Travel Caffe, Caffe D’arte, Peet’s Coffee on NE Broadway, Kettleman’s Bagels
  4. To the Holladay Park Church of God which has housed the event 2 years in a row. thank you!
  5. To our 150 volunteers who gather early on a Saturday morning and head out into the day and planted the trees – thanks for your labor and generous spirit!
  6. To neighbors who made food and donated food – the soups and chilis and stews were delicious, thank you!
  7. To Holli Talkington who photographed our day!
  8. The members of the band: Ten Spiders – we loved your music! Ten Spiders is available for hire – a great addition to just about any occation.
  9. To Alan Rahi and his partner Mira Eng-Goetz for designing and printing over 150 shirts for us! If you didn’t pick yours up it is probably waiting for you at the Friends of Trees office.
  10. To my fellow neighborhood coordinators: Lisa, Malcha, and Neil, who do a lot of behind the scenes work to make the planting go well – esp. including picking up the food donations and calling in utility locations.

I’m sure there are more people to thank, please feel free to add them into the comment section.  And, I’ll add more pictures here as they come in!  Thanks everyone for your help in adding to Portland’s canopy.

This year’s planting featured the volunteer effort of many young people.  I’ve never seen that many young people volunteering together before – it was impressive. Some day I hope that these young people will come back and visit the trees they planted and smile.

Nehelam

mmm, good morning world. I had a great adventure yesterday and am feeling revived and refreshed by it. I spent the day with Duane and Melani who run Summer Lake Hot Springs Resort in Paisley, Oregon. We traveled together to Nehelam where Duane wanted to show me land he had purchased 14 years ago and which he’ll learn more about the fate of today when he meets with investors who supported the purchase. It’s about 10 acres and it has a view of Saddle Mountain and the coastal range looking north. We drove out rt. 53 to get there, and stopped along the way to look at a cavernous creek in some light rain. Being in the Tillamook State Forest reminded me of why I spend time trying to defend the place. It’s such a magical land of creeks, rivers, logging roads, ferns, hemlock and undergrowth. And the rain just makes it all the wetter and greener – so magical.

The Tillamook State Forest is Oregon’s biggest and is the subject of much discussion around the area as it has a special place for many. A number of times in the 20th Century the forest burned and because it was the depression there was the CCC and many others (students, particularly) who traveled to the burned areas and replanted the forests.  People in Oregon have a special relationship with this forest. Nowadays, the forests are clear-cut by local timber companies and some of the money goes to fund local schools and government services. Unfortunately, due to the lack of nearby mills and market forces the logs mostly are cut and shipped directly overseas, to China, I believe.  Since the profits from the logging are tied to local services there is pressure to cut more and more trees thus leaving a landscape that looks trashed.

Photo by Danielle

Lately, our Governor has stated that he is in favor of a more balanced approach that would also take into account environmental factors (there are landslides everywhere) – other species (it’s Spotted Owl and Marbled Murulet country)(and lots of salmon and other fish species) – and recreation (fishing, hiking, camping, white-water rafting).  Unfortunately, it’s quite an uphill battle due to the fact that the Oregon Board of Forestry which sets policy for the forests is mostly made up of timber company owners and representatives.  I’ve testified before the group numerous times in Salem, and they are not swayed by public opinion at all.

More background on this issue can be found here.  And if you’d like to join my Facebook cause page, click here.

We arrived at Duane’s land near Nehelam in a downpour and put on our raingear and bushwhacked through the property, climbing amongst overgrown blackberry brambles and small trees and bushes. I’d seen pictures of the property in sunshine and I believe the views to the north and west are stunning, but yesterday the view was a wall of rain.  And, it felt so invigorating to wander around and be human bushhogs!  After about an hour we were all pretty soaked and we got back in the van and made our way to Manzanita with a detour to the town’s “rebuilding center” which is a collection of recycling and 2nd hand store which was a fun side trip.

We followed this up with lunch in Manzanita and then a wonderful drive home full of conversations about land, business, relationships and our personal stories. Duane and Melani are living a dream – living in the Oregon high desert and meeting interesting travelers from all over the world.  They both have great perspectives on life and are positive, evolved people.  It was such a nice combination to have great conversations and be out in the wilderness and I feel lucky today to have had the adventure!  Here’s to life, may we live it big and large and lusciously!  And, please join me in learning more about the Tillamook State Forest and how to protect it from greed.

100 Year Weather Event, or the future of life in the Pacific Northwest?

My heart goes out to everyone in the Pacific Northwest who is being adversely affected by the current rains.

In the Pacific Northwest we’re used to heavy rain and all that it entails. But the recent rains have led to a level of flooding and hardship that people are calling a “100 Year Event”. I most recently heard people talking about this at Breitenbush where I spent new years and learned that two of the newly built bridges that span trails there had been washed out. Next up have been the January rains which have led to roads washing out, peoples’ houses being flooded and lots of landslides. Some towns like Vernonia, Oregon, seem to be having repeat flood events and the recent news is of thousands having to leave homes around the state, car accidents and lots of property damage.

My main question is “is this global climate change and its effects?” If so, are those who are calling this a “100 year event” actually missing the possibility that this may be how life here will continue to be from now on – rainy, with more and more rain and displacement.

I’ve long been following demographic trends around population growth and have been making the connection between our increased numbers and our effect on the environment. More pollution, species loss, rapid glacier melt, and running out of resources like oil have all been shown to be happening on an upward trend for years. What is less obvious is how all of this effects our world in places like Oregon, where we’re in a situation like the frog in the slowly heating water – we probably won’t change what we’re doing until the heat is turned way up, otherwise, the frog, in this scenario slowly boils and dies. Now, with the current rain, we have a warning sign that can’t be ignored.

Will we be smart and move towards actions that will slow global climate change or will we continue to adjust to its adverse effects and grin and bear it? Some smart moves that I think Oregonians could take that might increase our chances of experiencing a better future would be to plant trees and stop clear-cutting the ones we have. This would improve our (and the rest of the world’s) air quality, help control storm water and erosion problems and keep hillsides from sliding. I also think it would make sense for there to be some sort of program to move people out of floodplains and onto higher ground.

If there’s a chance that this year’s rains might repeat regularly what other moves should we as a society consider to avoid the high costs of the damage and to keep us all safe and dry? I’m sure there are hundreds. Should we be removing any extra pavement that exists as the group Depave works to do? Should we be planting millions of fruit and nut trees to make ourselves more food self-reliant and cut down on shipping costs of food? Are millions of new community and backyard gardens in our future? I’d love to see a state-wide or bioregion-wide analysis done of how we currently use our land and other resources and plug in possible weather events into the equation. I’m sure that would shed light on how prepared we will be for any future contingencies.

Will we learn from the current weather event? I suggest we treat it not like a “100 year event” but plan for the possibility that it may happen again next week, and next year. Let’s plan for the future not be run over by it.

————-

I posted this article on Daily Kos and there have been 100+ comments in one day. It’s a very interesting discussion of this topic. I highly recommend giving it a read – some very cool analysis, ideas, links and videos on the topic.

Events

Here are some upcoming events I’d love you to come participate in that I’m organizing. If you have any energy to volunteer for any of these, please let me know at albertkaufman@gmail.com

1. Saturday, January 28th – house concert with Jonah Matranga from California.  8pm – $10-ish donation-style, good times for all. Hear Jonah’s music @

2. Monday, February 20th, 7:30pm.  Mother: Caring for the 7 Billion – showing at the Hollywood Theater with discussion about film.  – Free – http://motherthefilm.com

3. Saturday/Sunday March 3-4 10am-5pm – SE ArtwalkWileyware (earrings, glassware, candleholders, buttons and Marcia Wiley in person!) showing at KORU House, 1704 SE 22nd, More information about the art walk at http://www.seportlandartwalk.com/

4. Saturday, March 10th, 8:30am-1pm – Friends of Trees Tree planting – Irvington.  Meet at Holliday Park Church of God at 21st and Tillamook, NE.  Music by the Ten Spiders, bring blank t-shirts and tote bags for silk-screening.  Breakfast and lunch provided – and are usually both very hearty! More info at http://albertideation.com/2011/10/21/irvington-friends-of-trees-2012-planting-coming-soon/

4. Saturday, March 25th, 7pm – House Concert with Dana Lyons at the Happy Clam, 7pm  Also featuring discussion by local anti-corporate activist Paul Cienfuegos

Hope your Winter is going well!  Stay warm and dry!

Albert 

Irvington Tree Planting – March 12, 2011

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Tree planting 3.12.11 Irvington, Portland, Oregon, USA!

We had a great day planting trees with Friends of Trees on Saturday, March 13th. Starting with our breakfast at the Holladay Park Church early in the morning through a delicious lunch held after the planting – supplied by residents of the Irvington, Grant, Sabin and Alameda neighborhoods.

I want to thank the following people and businesses for their support in our efforts.

Friends of Trees – especially Jesse Batty and Erica Timm who led the day of planting

The neighborhood coordinators for each neighborhood

Neil Davidson – Alameda
Lisa Johnston-Smith – Sabin
Angela Gusa – Grant Park
Albert Kaufman – Irvington

Holladay Park Church – our wonderful host!
Helen Bernhard Bakery – baked goods
Caffee D’arte – Coffee
Starbucks on 15th & B’way – Coffee and more Coffee
Grand Central Bakery – pastries, yum
Costello’s Travel Caffee – pastries, more yum!
Penske Trucks – truck donation
Eric McClelland – Treeform Woodwork – drove to Boring and back to pick up our trees
City of Portland – Bureau of Environmental Services – a huge hand in many ways
Backyard Bird Shop – our main sponsors!

I could write a novella about the task of being a neighborhood coordinator for this event. It’s full of contacting neighbors, reaching out to businesses and interacting with the great staff at Friends of Trees. And, I enjoyed the fun of planting trees even more. Working with great crew leader, Karen, and crew assistant, David, we walked in a 5 block circle and planted 11 trees in 3 hours. This involved pulling the trees out of the truck, unwrapping each, making sure holes were the right size, involving homeowners and their kids, filling the holes in with dirt, and watering and staking them.

It was a rainy day, but our spirits were high. And when we returned to the basecamp, there were all of the other volunteers and crew leaders sitting down to a well-deserved bountiful lunch of soups, chilis, stews, bread, salads and deserts. It was a great time to swap stories, share smiles, and make some new friends beyond the crew that you’d been assigned to.

All in all, I’d say the day was a complete success. We planted 182 trees together and another 30 were planted the following Monday, bringing us to a grand addition of 212 trees for our 4 neighborhoods. These trees will add to the canopy of our neighborhoods – help reduce the amount of water going into the stormwater drains, shade us in the summer, provide us fruit and nuts, look beautiful, increase property values, and increase the safety of our neighborhoods.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, please consider volunteering with Friends of Trees and see what fun it can be to plant trees in Portland. Also, Friends of Trees is a membership organization and I encourage you to become a member today. They do great work that makes our City more livable and our lives healthier and happier.

One happy tree planter!

Join the Irvington Neighborhood Tree Planting on March 12th, 2011!

In partnership with Friends of Trees, the Irvington, Alameda, Sabin and Grant neighborhoods are planting trees on Saturday, March 12, 2010! Join us at 8:30am at the Holladay Park Church at 2120 NE Tillamook Street to meet friends and create a healthier community! In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to come together and build our community through our relationships and shared efforts to make our neighborhoods healthier.

For our planting we would appreciate hearing ASAP from anyone with a pick-up truck we can borrow for the day, potluck dishes to arrive at the church around 12pm for lunch for our volunteers; and neighbors who would like to help plant trees. Gloves, shovels and all necessary tools will be provided by Friends of Trees. Young people are especially welcome to join us.

Please contact Albert Kaufman at irvington@plantitportland.org to volunteer for this year’s planting or to start thinking about how we can complete our green canopy over Irvington in 2012. I am particularly interested in seeing us move from lawns to gardens and am all for us planting lots more fruit trees to increase our local foodshed! For more information about Friends of Trees, please visit http://friendsoftrees.org