Urban Conservation


What we do

We have something to offer everyone from large homeowner association neighborhood projects to schoolyards to ideas for small container gardens. If you live, work, or play in our district, we can provide help with conservation project planning, assistance, or answers to your conservation questions.

On this page:

    Restoration projects

    We offer site-specific planning, guidance, and resources for habitat restoration projects within urban neighborhoods. We can point you to cost-saving incentives and provide guidance on where to find grants, materials, and free native plants. If you need to hire help to complete a project, we can direct you to professionals like work crews, arborists, engineers, and permitting contacts. We can also help interpret zoning and permitting codes that could impact your project.

    We provide conservation plans for projects that are one acre or larger. Neighboring properties may also team up to create a single large project. If you have less than one acre, contact the Backyard Habitat Certification Program.

    See examples of past projects:

    group of people standing in a semi-circle holding certificates

    Connect SW PDX

    Partnering with Forest Park Conservancy to widen the trail and build split-rail fencing, photo courtesy of WEHOA

    Wilcox Estates Home Owners Association

    Community & demonstration gardens

    Are you looking to grow culturally significant plants, summer vegetables, or attract pollinators? We can help your community members get their hands into garden soil!

    See examples of past community garden projects:

    garden bed soil behind fence and lawn, trees in background

    Kingsley Community Garden

    View of new garden bed soil and a raised garden bed

    Crossroads Community Garden

    School gardens

    See examples of past school garden projects:


    Sauvie Island Academy School Garden

    Sunstone students helping improve school grounds.

    Sunstone Montessori School Stormwater & Garden Improvement Project

    What you can do

    We can help you get started with all kinds of gardens

    • Start a new garden

      Access financial support to start a new community garden. 

      Read More
    • Backyard Habitat Certification Program

      The Backyard Habitat Certification Program can help make your garden the best it can be for wildlife and all living things.

      Visit backyardhabitats.org
    • Pollinator plants and bloom periods

      Just by putting in a few native plants, a small parcel of urban land can greatly benefit pollinators.

    • Soil School

      Soil School is a lively one-day workshop full of sessions on a wide variety of topics for gardeners, landscape professionals, and small-scale farmers.

      Read More
    • Meadowscaping Handbook

      Meadowscaping is a great form of gardening that benefits all kinds of pollinators. Our popular handbook shows you how.

      Get A Copy
    • Ask a Master Gardener

      If you have a question about a specific plant or garden pest, ask a Master Gardener.

      Visit multnomahmastergardeners.org
    • Solve Pest Problems

      For guidance on a wide variety of garden pests, visit Solve Pest Problems.

      Visit solvepestproblems.info
    • Conservation Directory

      Find products and services from select local businesses that can help you get your conservation project done. 

      Find resources for your conservation project.

    Stormwater & erosion control

    There are many things you can do to reduce runoff, erosion, and non-point source pollution:

    • Plant grasses, shrubs or trees on this list of Native Plants for Erosion Control, and refer to our Tree Planting Guide.

    • Restore disturbed soils and replant with native or beneficial plants.

    • Depave by removing unnecessary impervious surfaces and restoring landscaping. Or consider porous walkways and patios.

    • Add potted planters to underused hardscapes

    Erosion control

    Check out our list of Native Plants for Erosion Control. These grasses, shrubs, and trees literally hold the soil in place with their root systems and the fibrous mycorrhiza fungus that attach to them.

    Stormwater Stars

    We proudly support the Stormwater Stars program—properties that have improved their landscape spaces to help manage rain in our city. If you are interested in learning more about how to revamp your yard or community space join a hands-on planning and installation workshop or tour!


    Portland’s West Hills have many different habitats, ranging from large and intact upland forests to steep and fast-flowing streams to bustling Oregon White Oak outcrops as well as small “pocket habitats” in the built environment. These all play critical roles in watershed and human health, and provide important wildlife habitat and connectivityConnectivity the degree to which patches of landscape are connected, either helping or impeding animal movement and other ecological processes like the flow of water or dispersal of seeds to a wide array of species. Our staff can help provide conservation plan assistance to urban residents, including renters & apartment spaces; community spaces, such as commercial properties and communities of faith; and schools. We can also connect people with resources to implement and maintain their projects.

    Staff contact

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