Oregon Community Trees Speakers for the Oregon Urban Forestry Conference, June 27

OR Dept. of Forestry release – (EUGENE, Ore.) – Oregon Community Trees is announcing the names of the three individual speakers at the June 27th Oregon Urban Forestry Conference, being held in Eugene this year. “More Housing, More Trees: Giving Oregonians Both” is the theme of this year’s conference, which is jointly sponsored by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry and USDA Forest Service. The latest speaker to confirm is Dutch-Canadian ecological engineer and author Nadina Galle. Galle’s new book entitled The Nature of Our Cities: Harnessing the Power of the Natural World to Survive a Changing Planet will be published by HarperCollins on June 18. She is winner of the European Space Agency’s top prize for her work on individual tree crown delineation to combat urban deforestation. She has received a number of other academic and entrepreneurial awards, including a Fulbright scholarship for a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senseable City Lab, where she still holds a research affiliation. Just this year she was named a National Geographic Explorer, researching how growing cities across Latin America are plugging into the Internet of Nature. At the conference, Galle will appear virtually and make the case for more tree canopy. Making the case for why Oregon needs more housing will be Jena Hughes, a Housing and Growth Management Analyst at the Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). There, she looks for creative solutions to address complex housing challenges guided by equity and sustainability. Before joining DLCD, Hughes spent seven years as a long-range planner in local government. She worked primarily on housing and land-use issues. Hughes studied Sustainable Environmental Design and City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Opening speaker for the conference is Eugene mayoral candidate Kaarin Knudson. Knudson is a licensed architect, educator and leader with more than 20 years’ experience advancing sustainable design and community-led solutions. In 2017 she founded the housing advocacy organization Better Housing Together to increase housing affordability, diversity, and supply in Lane County. She has been a longtime member of the City Club of Eugene, and was its president in 2022-23. She advised on the implementation of Oregon’s landmark middle housing laws and for the creation of Eugene’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. She teaches a graduate urban design workshop at the University of Oregon and is co-author of a new textbook, The Sustainable Urban Design Handbook. Two afternoon panels will dive deeply into discussions of creative ways cities can find new spaces to add tree canopy and how to preserve trees during multi-family housing development. Among the confirmed panelists are: Ted Labbe, founding board member of DePave, a non-profit dedicated to urban re-greening. Ryan Gilpin, consulting arborist and owner of Nidus Consulting. Gilpin is a contributing author of a book on best management practices for protecting trees during construction. Portland developer Eli Spivak. Chris Neamtzu, who as Planning Director for the City of Wilsonville planned and implemented many residential neighborhoods where preserved trees are the focal point. He is now Wilsonville’s Community Development Director. Trees for Life Oregon board member Jim Gersbach. The organization advocates for the preservation of large, healthy shade trees and the space to plant them in Oregon’s urban communities. There will also be a variety of poster presentations on topics such as methods of tree preservation during construction, ideas for redesigning streets and right-of-way planting strips to make room for larger trees, and similar concepts. Anyone interested in submitting a presentation can do so here. Early registration for the conference is $150 until May 24 and $180 after that. Students can register for $80. Price includes a boxed lunch and social hour beverages and snacks following the conference. To register or for more information, please go to More Housing, More Trees: Giving Oregonians Both by Oregon Community Trees (

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