Portland, July 16th, 2013. Formally launched with two dozen partners in 2011, The Intertwine Alliance (The Alliance) a new model of coalition working to advance urban greenspaces in the Portland-Vancouver region just welcomed its 100th partner, the Clean Water Institute (CWI).
The Alliance’s rapid growth validates the young nonprofit’s innovative premise that a public-private coalition, rather than any single agency working independently, will be more effective at engaging metropolitan residents with their local parks, trails and natural areas.
“Our business plan forecast that at this point in our development we would have 57 partners,” said Intertwine Alliance Executive Director Mike Wetter.
“But there’s a change in the winds for conservation across the U.S. In the past, attention focused on ‘wild’ lands investing in nature only where people are not. Today, there is growing recognition that metropolitan regions are ecologically important, and that access to nature is key to the health of a population,” Wetter said.
CWI, The Alliance’s 100th partner, is a perfect example of how Alliance partners work to integrate natural systems with urban life. A nonprofit founded by public wastewater utility Clean Water Services, CWI’s watershed-based strategies satisfy regulatory compliance requirements while maximizing environmental benefits. For example, CWI’s innovative water quality trading program cools Washington County streams warmed by clean effluent by planting native shade trees and shrubs along riparian corridors.
Alliance partners (who include KEEN Footwear, Kaiser Permanente, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Audubon Society of Portland, Trust for Public Land, Friends of Trees, and nearly a dozen city agencies) commit knowledge, energy and resources to projects such as the completion of the region’s trail network, the restoration of publicly held parks and natural areas, and public outreach ca mpaigns to get residents off couches, out of cars, and engaged with “The Intertwine.”
In turn, the growing strength of The Alliance helps to favorably brand a region seeking talent and economic advantage; reduce healthcare, utility and transportation costs; enhance water quality and biodiversity; and support partners in building capacity and achieving their goals.
One of only six metropolitan conservation coalitions in the U.S., the success of The Intertwine Alliance is helping to lead a national movement of like-minded coalitions, with Alliance staff now mentoring other cities, including Denver and Seattle.