Metro re-brands regional parks, trails effort as “The Intertwine”

Metro Pres. David Bragdon
unveiling the new logo.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last night, at the headquarters of Keen Footwear in the Pearl District, Metro Council President David Bragdon unveiled the new name and logo that will serve as the umbrella for a bi-state effort to build out our regional trails and parks system: The Intertwine.

Formerly known as Connecting Green, the effort launched over two years ago with an ambitious goal — to create the world’s best system of parks, natural areas and trails. The idea was to help focus and organize the efforts of the many community leaders and agencies who were already working that goal.

Speaking to a crowd last night that included Senator Jeff Merkley, Bragdon said there was a lot of great working being done, but he wondered, “Is all of this adding up to the sum of the parts?”. “The one thing we’re missing,” he said, “Is a way to talk about this to citizens…an umbrella we can all use when we’re going after grants… when we’re looking for ways to share what we’re doing.”

So, what exactly is The Intertwine?

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Here’s an excerpt from how David Bragdon described it last night:

Bragdon called urban natural areas advocate
Mike Houck, “the heart and soul of the Intertwine”.

“The Intertwine already exists in the hearts of the people that are here, they just don’t know it yet… they don’t have that word to use to explain it to others or to each other. But, if you ask people about what they love about living in this region, chances are a vast majority are going to tell you something about we like that we have trails, parks, nature in the city… they’d use a whole lot of words, what we’re trying to do is give them one word that will help to brand this region to ourselves and to outsiders and to give all the constituent partners — whether it’s the City of Forest Grove or the City of Gresham, the City of Portland, the Watershed Council — an umbrella where they can all work together.”

And here’s how it’s explained on a brochure passed out last night:

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley was
there to show support.

“The Intertwine is an ever-growing network of integrated parks, trails and natural areas that will one day soon be the world’s greatest system of its kind. The Intertwine provides unparalleled opportunities to preserve natural areas, open spaces, water and wildlife habitat. It reflects our region’s passion for quality of life by encouraging recreation, connection to nature, and active transportation — like walking, running and biking. As our urban areas grow denser, The Intertwine will promote the health and happiness we, as citizens of the Pacific Northwest, so dearly value.”

The Intertwine (I’m still waiting for the name to grow on me) is essentially Connecting Green 2.0. I asked Bragdon why they changed the name. He said,

“We felt ‘Connecting Green’ was more about the various agencies and movement while ‘Intertwine’ is more about the place and the function. We wanted a name that really is about the user and the user’s experience, rather than about us and the other providers.”

So, why should you care about this?

The Intertwine has five major focus areas (they call them petals on a flower with the “core team” in the center), one of which is “Trails”. Don’t let that word fool you, this is not just about recreational, multi-use paths. Through this effort, Metro convened a Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails that ended up focusing more on trails as transportation corridors and building the case for an “integrated mobility strategy” (you can download a PDF of that here).

You’ll be seeing a lot more
of this in the future.

Last October, they did a study tour of Copenhagen and Amsterdam and, while the Committee is completed their initial charge, several members remain engaged and are now volunteer as lobbyists for state and federal funding of non-motorized transportation and other tasks. One member of this new “Executive Council” is former President/CEO of the Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Randy Miller (who was also featured in the Mercury’s recent Bike Issue as Portland’s “secret bike champion”).

This might sound like a lot of marketing pizazz and just another bureaucracy, but it’s not. Metro has put a lot of resources behind this and they mean business. Don’t forget that Metro recently awarded record levels of federal funding to bike projects.

Along with the new Intertwine moniker, Metro announced last night that they’ll kick off the effort to the public on National Park(ing) Day, Friday September 18th. Metro plans to “celebrate the mission” of The Intertwine by coordinating Park(ing) Day throughout the region. The plan is to have every park and natural area in the region set up displays in parking spaces around Pioneer Square in downtown Portland.

For more, check out the old Connecting Green website or the new (which I assume will be updated soon).

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