EPA Greening the Jade

The Jade District, located in southeast Portland, is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Oregon and a vibrant community that currently serves as home for many immigrants and refugees with over 140 languages. The district features international cuisine, ethnic small businesses, close-knit communities, and important local institutions. However, incomes are lower than average and historical public disinvestment leads to lack of key infrastructure, including limited local street network connectivity, local flooding, public park deficiencies, and limited pedestrian access. As a result, the Jade District residents experience stark economic and health disparities compared to the rest of Portland. In addition, the district includes major arterials and an urban state highway that have had several pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, and even more pedestrian, driver, and cyclist injuries over the past two years. 

Through the EPA’s Greening America’s Communities program, Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability (located in Portland, Oregon) requested assistance to advance sustainable design strategies in the City of Portland’s Jade District. These proposed designs are part of the Office of Sustainability’s ongoing work implementing the 2015 Portland/ Multnomah Climate Action Plan. 

To complete this project the EPA coordinated a team of federal and county agency staff and consultants to draft designs, incorporating community input and feedback gathered through workshops and focus groups during the project. The team selected three focus areas within the Jade District—Southeast (SE) 89th Avenue, the Fubonn Shopping Center, and Southeast (SE) Division Street. These focus areas represent similar conditions in other parts of the neighborhood and the design options are versatile enough to be used throughout the district.