Ten years ago this spring, more than a hundred community leaders gathered at the Gerding Theater in Portland to hear Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, and a host of other visionaries speak about how nature can be a transformational force in cities if public, private and nonprofit leaders align around a common vision.
The seeds were planted, and today’s Intertwine Alliance was set in motion. We started with four partners in 2007, had 28 when we incorporated as a nonprofit in 2011, and today have grown to more than 165.
The central purpose of The Intertwine Alliance is to be the keeper of a shared vision for an interconnected network of parks, trails and natural areas (The Intertwine) and to help the community scale its work to achieve that vision. Much of our original visioning work, completed more than 10 years ago, remains relevant today. We still envision an “exceptional, multi-jurisdictional, interconnected system of neighborhood, community, and regional parks, natural areas, trails, open spaces, and recreation opportunities distributed equitably throughout the region.”
At the same time, much has changed in 10 years, and it is time to renew the vision.
Rather than sequester our board at a retreat center hoping to emerge two days later with an awe-inspiring vision statement, we’re looking to you, our partners and the broader community, to tell us what you aspire to, what you are excited about, and how we, collectively, should transform the Portland-Vancouver region over the coming decades.
We expect this will be a lot of fun -- but it's not just a feel-good exercise. We will tie the vision directly to strategic action, which is very likely to include measures for the ballot.
The Intertwine Alliance is today operating successfully on many fronts. We’re supporting dozens of collaborative projects, holding summits, organizing equity cohorts, developing region-wide health and nature programs, continuing work in 12 "focus areas," supporting project leaders, and highlighting, elevating and celebrating the successes of our partners.
Reinvigorating the vision and stepping up our efforts to secure the resources needed to fulfill that vision is the work before us as we enter our 11th year.
It’s been 10 years!
The Intertwine Alliance started in 2007 as an idea sketched on a whiteboard. Ten years later, we’ve grown to 165 partners and become a “who’s who” of those working to integrate nature into the Portland-Vancouver region.
Meet five Forces of Nature
Last year, we honored the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Depave, Wisdom of the Elders, Rob Nathan and Mel Huie with Force of Nature Awards. This year’s awards luncheon will be October 18 at the start of The Intertwine Alliance Fall Summit.
Intertwine projects find home on remodeled website
With help from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Portland-Vancouver Urban Refuge Program, we completely overhauled our website. Among the many improvements was a greater focus on the collaborative work our partners are doing across the region. There are now three dozen officially declared Intertwine Projects. (Yours can be next!)
Youth launch Daycation mobile app
ROSE Community Development engaged young people in creating Daycations as part of the launch of the new Daycation app and website this spring. Waste Management Company, the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and Metro were major project sponsors and funders.
Health and parks sectors team up
Nature is increasingly recognized as a powerful remedy for chronic illness, and the health and parks sectors have come together to bring this tonic to those that need it most. Our RxPlay initiative continues to move forward, a program could hit the streets as early as 2018.
Project leaders connect and advance projects
Nationally recognized storyteller and teacher Will Hornyak trains Intertwine Project leaders in using story to advance their work at one of our quarterly project leader meetings.
A first step toward bringing nature to schoolgrounds
We completed a plan to transform asphalt schoolyards into green, alive places for children to play and learn. This was the first step in what is likely to be a long-term project that could have broad implications for the health and academic achievement of area children.
Alliance partners join forces for equity
Despite years of good intentions otherwise, the parks and conservation sector nationally still stands out as lacking in diversity and in equitable institutions. We’re helping to change that in the Portland region. More than two dozen of our partners have come together in cohorts for training, organizational assessments and coaching to make their organizations more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Luminaries from six continents converge in Portland
Green city luminaries from more than 20 cities on six continents converged in Portland for a series of workshops, field trips, planning sessions and an Intertwine Alliance event at the Oregon Zoo. Alliance staff worked with the Bullitt Foundation, The Nature of Cities, PSU, the Oregon Zoo, and Urban Greenspaces Institute to host the events.
Celebrating 25 years of accomplishment!
At this year’s summit on Oct. 18, we’ll celebrate 25 years of achievement since the Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan was completed and spend time together envisioning and planning for the next 25.
Envisioning the next 25 years
This pair of images, one of our multimodal trail network as it is envisioned and the other as it exists today, shows that we’ve still got a lot of work to do. This year, we launch an initiative to revitalize the vision for The Intertwine. We’ll also intensify our effort to draw on the power of our coalition of organizations and leaders (that’s you!) to accelerate the pace at which we accomplish the vision. Expect to hear from us soon!
Intertwine Alliance financials
Operating costs again came in on budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. Dues revenues were off slightly. So while our books show a positive net balance, adjusting for restricted funds and receivables, we finished the year with a