Portland, OR

Mar 3rd, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Cost: $1,025.00 Partner Organization(s): Portland Parks and Recreation Service Type: Environmental conservation Number of Participants: 10

Trip Logistics and Participant Requirements

Our Pacific Northwest adventure will begin on the evening of Friday, March 3rd. We will drive to Erin’s house in Northern Virginia, where we will stay the night before heading to Washington Dulles International (IAD) the next morning. On Saturday, we will arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX) by early afternoon and head to the centrally-located Northwest Portland Hostel, our home for the week. Sunday will be a free day to explore the city and acclimate ourselves to the new surroundings before beginning service work. We will have a few weekday afternoons free for recreational activities, while evenings will be spent taking turns making dinner at the hostel, playing games and reflecting on our service. We plan to take public transportation to the work site each day, while most other attractions in Portland are in walking distance of the hostel.

We will fly back to Dulles on Saturday, March 11th, and return to Charlottesville the same day so everyone has a day to rest before school starts again.

Participants should be excited to explore Portland, participate in environmentally-focused service and be engaged members of a group of dedicated and determined UVA students! Requirements include a positive attitude, eagerness to learn and willingness to contribute to the group as a whole.


Service Activities

We will be working with Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR), which cares for over 11,000 acres of parks and natural areas within the city of Portland. The organization’s mission is to promote outdoor living in the Portland community by developing and restoring urban forests and other natural spaces. Our service work will depend on PPR’s needs at the time, but will most likely consist of activities such as trail maintenance, invasive species removal, and forest conservation. Be ready to get your hands dirty in Oregon’s great outdoors! We will also engage in service learning by reflecting on our work and thinking critically about how Portland’s focus on environmental conservation contributes to the city’s “green” culture, and how we might take what we learn about eco-friendly practices back to UVA.


Recreational Activities

After our service work each day, we will have plenty of time to explore Portland. Most of this free time will be spent outside visiting gardens such as Forest Park and the Lan Su Chinese Gardens, hiking inactive volcano Mount Tabor, and taking a bike tour of the city. We will also check out the Portland food scene by eating a few dinners out (we’re talking food trucks!), and stopping by local favorites such as Voodoo Donut and Salt & Straw ice cream. We will also try to pass for hipsters at Powell’s City of Books and Korsokoffee House. Get excited to be immersed in Portland’s unique (and wacky) culture!


Regional/Community Background

Portland, Oregon is the third most populous city in the Pacific Northwest, and the thirtieth most populous city in the United States. The city sits near the bases of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Tabor in the Northwest region of the state. Portland is the model of environmentally innovative city planning. Popular Science Magazine has repeatedly awarded Portland the “Greenest City in America” award. It is well known for its urban planning model and the extensive light rail (called the MAX) that runs throughout the city. The Willamette and Columbia rivers converge and run through the center of the city, and numerous forests surround the metropolitan area. Weather in the city is usually temperate, with mild winters and warm summers, making it a comfortable place to visit in the early spring.

With over 200 parks within its city limits, Portland claims both the nation’s largest and smallest urban parks. The city’s progressive thinking about environmental conservation is unmatched by any other urban area. Free public transportation and biker-friendly streets make it easy to get around the city. Urban and suburban sprawl have been kept under control, despite the growing popularity of the area; the result is a remarkably green city with a well-preserved surrounding countryside, which is conducive to activities ranging from hiking to organic food production. In order for this city to remain the paragon of conservation from which the world can learn, its local and surrounding areas must be maintained and constantly improved upon. There is always something that needs to be done to maintain the city and its numerous parks, which is where we come in! The urban environment in Portland is much different than any city you might be familiar with on the East Coast, which makes this a new and exciting place to visit and to learn about.


About the Site Leaders

Francesca (fnt3ee) is a 4th year from New York. She is a Biology and Italian Studies double major, which confuses many, but makes her quite happy (forreal, ask her about biological conservation or Italian love poetry). She is currently one of ASB’s Site Leader Co-Chairs and this will be her third time participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip. In her free time, Francesca enjoys reading books on her Kindle (and accepting the fact that she is a traitor to paperbacks and hardcovers alike), spending time outdoors and adding to the extensive list of places she wants to travel. She wants to live on the West Coast in the future (if anyone actually hires her after graduation) and hopes this trip will be a gateway to the wonders of the Pacific Northwest!

Erin (emf4nf) is a 4th year from Springfield, Virginia (Nova!) majoring in American Studies and Media Studies. After going to Savannah, Nashville, and Costa Rica, this will be her 4th and final ASB trip! She can’t wait to meet this last group of ASB-ers and play endless rounds of two-truths-and-a-lie. In her free time on grounds, she can be found binge-watching Netflix, collecting free t-shirts, eating chocolate chip cookies, and trying not to have mini freak-outs about the future. She is extremely excited to spend spring break in the great outdoors and explore the city that inspired Portlandia — she might even insist on finding a tiny-house!