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Portland, "green city" par excellence

Oregon is considered the birthplace of the natural beauty of the United States. With coasts, mountains, forests and rivers, the State offers numerous opportunities for lovers of natural adventures. The most populous city, Portland, perfectly reflects the image of the State and combines, in a perfect mix, ecology and urbanization, to form an “urban fabric” that includes about six hundred thousand inhabitants. For this, Portland has become, the "green city" par excellence, worldwide recognized and appreciated.
Construction, transportation, energy and waste management are just some of the sectors where the town has created "green" models. Here are some useful data to better understand the everyday life in the city: about 25% of the inhabitants move and/or commute using public transportation, carpooling or bicycles (through its more than 400 km of cycle paths); about 33% of the energy used is produced from renewable sources, and many buildings have the LEED certification for environmental sustainability. Waste recycling reaches 60% of the waste produced.
A historical programming. One thing, above all, indicates the success of the environmental policy of the city of Portland. In spite of the rapid population and economic growth of the city, in 2008 CO2 emissions have fallen below 1990 levels while, at national level, there has been an increase of a 14% in total emissions. This is thanks to a long-term policy that has imposed a Climate Action Plan, based on 93 key actions and established 18 objectives for 2030, when CO2 is expected to decrease by 40%.
Usable green. Beyond this, Portland, also called the "City of Roses", is close to one of the most famous plant nursery production areas for ornamental plants (in his district there are many prestigious nurseries) and offers several parks accessible by citizens and tourists. The metropolitan area, in fact, counts 14,973 hectares of green spaces, with 288 public parks. Without a doubt, the most famous and central is Washington Park. Located in the hills west of downtown Portland, is one of the oldest parks and it’s loved by the locals.
Spread over 52 hectares, includes The International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, l'Oregon Zoo, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and other attractions. The city bought the original 40.78 hectares in 1871 for $ 32,624 and a rather animated discussion arose about the purchase, as the site was considered dangerous because of many wandered cougars.

Washington Park was developed slowly. In June 1885, the city took Charles M. Myers as a guardian. The first developments are due to him. Being a sailor from Germany, Myers had no formal botanical training, but with enthusiasm he began to develop the area by referring to his memories as a guide of European parks.
In 1900, the park was transformed from a desert to a place of unity, with walkways, plants, lawns, trimmed hedges and flowerbeds. The last major addition of land was made in 1922, when 160 hectares of the "County Poor Farm" were transferred to the municipal offices. The southern half of the property developed in the West Hills Golf Course. The rest was designated as a municipal arboretum in 1928.
Rose Garden and the Japanese garden. One of the most visited areas of Washington Park is the Rose Garden. This is a real collection of over ten thousand roses, grown initially to save European hybrids during the First World War. Established in 1917, is now visited by thousands of people every year. More recent is the history of the Japanese Garden: built in 1963 on 5.5 hectares, is recognized as one of the best examples of Japanese gardens outside of the country of “the rising sun”, perfectly symbolizing the oriental green spaces, where the sense of peace, harmony and tranquility is a priority for the users.
Downtown, green everywhere. The green concept is now inserted in the daily life of Portland inhabitants and you can easily tell it even walking through the central areas. One of the priority programs of the climate action plan, in fact, foresees the expansion of the urban forest to cover a third of Portland, and at least 50% of the length of the river in the city, matching new green areas with water (the Tom McCall Waterfront park, along the Willamette river is a tangible example). The actions carried out have seen the growth of public and private programs to encourage planting, preservation and maintenance of trees and shrubs, the control of invasive species and the removal of regulatory barriers.

All this, is pursued together with the acquisition, restoration and protection of natural resources and forestry to reduce the "urban heat island", improving air and water quality. Ultimately the idea is to recognize trees, shrubs, vegetation and natural landscapes as public heritage of the city and the county. Even the buildings have been touched by the way of thinking "green", with the evaluation of "green" alternatives to public infrastructure projects.

Oregon is considered a model to follow, thanks to a policy of ecological sustainability. And for the trees: the goal is to recognize them as public heritage