Perspectives — Urban

Sustainable cities are great places to live, with space for all of us. Forterra secures land in our cities for social good—parks, green space, affordable housing, access to transit, the arts, and other essentials for equity and livability.

Your Questions, Our Answers: Lands and Communities

Tacoma civic leader Lyle Quasim and Forterra President & CEO Michelle Connor answer your questions from our recent Coffee and Conversation event on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Washington’s communities and lands.

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Six Rivers, Six Stories

Salmon, orcas, and people all rely on our region’s rivers for clean, healthy water. Invasive plants put these river ecosystems at risk.

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Scotch Broom: The Yellow, Fuzzy, Tenacious Weed

You’ve seen it. Its bright yellow flowers line the highway. Its tough stalks are ever-encroaching on open spaces and prairies. Before long, it’s everywhere. Both beautiful and tenacious, Scotch Broom is a major concern for our lands.

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Cleaning Up Carbon Footprints by Planting Trees

Thanks to participants in Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program, 6,000 new trees will lend their strength to counter the effects of climate change.

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Building An Earth Day Commitment with Wood

Earth Day is a day to celebrate our planet and take action to keep it healthy. Each Earth Day, organizations and individuals around the world make commitments to reduce water usage, plant trees, reduce waste, and more. Our partner, Earth Day Northwest, is encouraging everyone in the region to act with resolve this year to benefit our lands and communities in the future.

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Investing in Communities and Lands

The Strong Communities Fund invests in local projects to build housing developments, support communities, and more.

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Mass Timber: The Innovative Future of our Built Environment

New building code changes in Washington to permit mid and high-rise mass timber buildings, allowing the state to take a huge step forward for the sustainable future of our built environment and will revolutionize the way we design, build and grow.

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Our Magical Intellectual Circus

Identity. Caribou. Social justice. Brass. Dogs. Climate change. Sasquatch. Hope. More than 1300 people joined us at the Moore Theater for Ampersand LIVE, our evening of storytelling about people and place, and there are so many unforgettable moments.

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Putting Down Roots

Almost 1,900 volunteers converged to celebrate Green City Days at parks and green spaces across Puget Sound this fall. They planted more than 11,500 native plants. There are now twelve cities in the Green City Partnerships—Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines—and these annual events give volunteers a wonderful opportunity to help restore their local natural areas while building community through stewardship.

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Forterra awarded Olmsted Medal

Forterra was recently awarded the prestigious Olmsted Medal of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Conferred annually at ASLA’s national conference, the Olmsted Medal is one of the Society’s premier honors.

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Better than this

The orca mother Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days. People around the world were transfixed. Together, we ached with empathy. My sadness blends into frustration and guilt because the loss of this orca calf has a broader meaning. We are failing a crucial litmus test for the health of our Pacific Northwest.

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Proceed with Caution

Booming Seattle is the antithesis of progress for those trying to navigate it while blind. Crammed within a single half-block of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, scores of orange diamonds and white rectangles splay themselves out along curbs, sidewalks and streets, forming a confusing kaleidoscope of a city under construction.

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What Would Nature Do?

It seems like there is no end to the problems humans must solve. There are global challenges: human-driven climate shift, ocean acidification, war, the plights of refugees. The Seattle area also struggles with its own growing list of issues, from a lack of affordable housing, to growing inequality and major traffic woes.

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Shining Light

Chris Jordan is a 27-year-old award-winning Tacoma visual artist known for infusing activism into his work. Seeing little recreational space within Bay Terrace, an affordable housing community in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, Jordan partnered with the Tacoma Housing Authority to create Home Court, an illuminated ultra-futuristic basketball court that is one of the most unique art installations and community gathering places in Washington state.

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We’re Nuts About Squirrels

One evening, back when he was in high school, Derek Stinson returned to his Massachusetts home with his parents to encounter his younger brother, Jay, waiting for them at the door. “There’s something in the cupboard,” Jay told them, “and it’s not a rat.” When Derek peered into a cupboard containing the family’s breakfast cereal, a pair of big eyes stared back. They belonged to a southern flying squirrel.

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She Took Action

Necessity is the mother of invention. It calls for vision, courage and tenacity. That’s a good thing because it has never been more imperative to find ways to protect Mother Earth and save our little corner of the planet. So we asked activists across our region—women making a big difference—what inspires them to stand up and take action for the places they love.

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Vote ‘Yes’ on 1631 for a Cleaner, Healthier Washington

Pollution and climate change are threatening Washington’s health, communities, economy and landscapes, and without action the challenges we face will only get more grim. Initiative 1631, which is on the statewide ballot this November, could help us make crucial moves to fight back. It’s time we stand up for our land and our future, and secure a better Washington for our generation and generations to come.

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See the Forest for the Teas

With fall just around the corner, try out some teas made from plants native to our local forests! Douglas fir, Grand fir, Stinging nettle, and Nootka rose are all great options, and the process is relatively simple.

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#FremontCANpaign Photo Contest

This summer we’re teaming up with Fremont Brewing and REI for the 5th annual #FremontCANpaign. It’s an Instagram photo contest that celebrates the natural beauty of Washington and some of our favorite local, sustainably-made, independent craft beer.

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Offset Your Adventures

Here in Seattle, we love to hike. But hiking comes at a cost—to our environment. A round-trip drive between Seattle and Mt. Si emits roughly 80 lbs. of greenhouse gas. For a longer trip—say, a weekend at Mt. Rainier National Park—you could emit about 200 lbs. The numbers add up when considered over the course of a year. Driving 100 miles every weekend will spew approximately 5,000 lbs, or 2.5 tons of carbon, into the atmosphere over the course of a year.

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Kent Community Garden Opens!

Thirty five family gardening plots and an apple, pear and cherry orchard will benefit recent immigrants from Congo, Sudan and Bhutan at a new community garden in Kent.

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Welcoming All Our Neighbors

The vision is for the Knight’s Inn property is to build a new community-owned affordable housing and mixed-use commercial space. The ground floor of the building will serve as an international market for a variety of refugee- and immigrant-owned micro-enterprises that are facing displacement in this fast-changing community.

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Snohomish County Decision Broadens Conservation Options

A vote by the Snohomish County Council last week amended zoning along the Highway 99 corridor between Lynnwood and Everett to encourage more compact development near transit, expanding options for farmland conservation by adding areas where new construction can take advantage of a program called transfer of development rights.

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