Hiking on Government Island

The team did some hiking and bird watching this past weekend at Government Island State Park in Portland. Government Island is located on the Columbia River and is actually comprised of a series of islands, with 15 miles of shoreline. It was a gorgeous outing! Check out some of the shots from the adventure, taken by our resident photographer and marketing assistant Charley:











Money does grow on trees



The benefits of trees are obvious:

Trees provide shade, cool the environment, store and sequester carbon emissions, capture and mitigate polluting aerosols and other damaging particulates, facilitate biodiversity, aid soil conservation, and promote human health both physically and mentally.

But how do these facts stand in the face of a continuous loss of natural assets in urban environments today? How can we support the green infrastructure of our cities if the benefits of trees are undervalued and to a large degree, intangible?

This is where i-Tree makes its way into the scenery, an app developed by the USDA Forest Service that tabulates the financial value of trees, translating its holistic assets into clear monetary terms that everybody can understand–and process objectively.

There has been a need to quantify our urban forest resources–and once quantified, they become easier to assess, and ultimately, to manage. Imagine street trees converted into dollars and cents: their powers of filtration and healing on the urban scale configured into a numeric amount. Imagine a tree that is worth more than your house.

How does this alter your perception of the green-leafed fixtures that surround us?

First Thursday @ Secter

We had a great event last Thursday for our grand opening at Valley Rowe/Collective 815. Check out a few of the snapshots from that evening:



Thank you to everybody who made it out last week to meet us! We look forward to hosting the next one.

Check out the rest of the photos from our evening on our Facebook page!

Oklahoma City mayor: “We have to start building this city for people”

A “healthy cities” movement taking place in Oklahoma City. An awesome effort by Mayor Cornett to draw attention to the built environment and how it can affect both the physical and mental health of its city dwellers.

Feet First Philly

When Oklahoma City was ranked the second-fattest city in America in 2009, Mayor Mick Cornett examined the problem and declared that the city’s car-oriented design and unfriendly streets were at fault.  Pedestrian-unfriendly design was detracting from the city’s livability, which also meant that it contributed to the outmigration of young, intelligent workers – often known as “brain drain.”  The mayor secured funding for a series of transit, bike, and pedestrian improvements, as well as for downtown recreation areas and street redesign.  Though the projects will take a long time to be fully realized, many changes that are currently being implemented are drastically transforming Oklahoma City neighborhoods, turning them into (in the words of Mayor Cornett) “neighborhoods where you don’t have to own a car if you don’t want to. You can live, work and play all in the same neighborhood — and that was unheard of ten years ago.”


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A recent publication in Society for Ecological Restoration text


Jordan’s piece about stream restoration, written with Dean Apostol, was recently featured in the second edition of “Ecological Restoration: Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession (Andre F. Clewell, James Aronson),” in which he examines the decline and later reformation of salmon population in the Siuslaw River.

The article is angled as a “virtual field trip” that takes the reader to the “experience” of the Siuslaw salmon restoration project. Secter and Apostol briefly examine the Siuslaw river ecosystem and reveal that the causes of salmon decline in one of the northwestern coast’s most naturally beautiful rivers include overfishing, dam construction, stream habitat degradation, and competition with farm-raised fish.

In 1992, the US Forest Service purchased the valley bottom of Karnwosky Creek, which joins the Siuslaw River estuary east of the Pacific Ocean. Secter details the restoration project that ensued, which featured much community support. Through collaborative efforts, Karnowsky Creek is internationally recognized as a successful restoration undertaking, with coho smolts now abundant in the recovered and salmon-friendly creek.

The field of ecological restoration has come a long way since it emerged as a subset of ecology in the 1980s. Though it remains a relatively young face in the larger field of environmental sciences and strategies, ecological restoration has gained with increasing force a unique stature, and Secter is proud to be a contributor!

What’s happening to our trees?

Check out this great piece from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies:

In the wake of real climate change, we need to think of ways to renew and reinvigorate our forests and trees, and begin to respond to perturbations in the ecosystem that are changing the ways landscape naturally regenerate.

Our forests can be one of the very first places to start.

We’re moving offices!

Beautiful chandelier lighting our new space.

Beautiful chandelier lighting our new space.

A new year marks new opportunities for growth. This year, we’re particularly excited because we’re moving offices!

After three and a half years on the Mezzanine in the Woodlark building on SW 9th and Alder, we’re ready for a bigger change than ever. Though we’re feeling slightly crushed that we’ll no longer be right across downtown’s food cart mecca, our new space is located at 815 NW Glisan Street in the heart of the Pearl District where it is surrounded by galleries, art, and local flavor!

We’ll be sharing the new space with a studio collective, comprised of Portland-based artists Pate Gonzalez and Kevin Van Driesche, whose art gallery Collective 815 occupies the floor directly below our new office. Their artworks are on display there, as well as a meticulously curated collection of local wares from Portland jewelry designers, vintage furniture and apparel, handcrafted gifts, and artisan-designed objects.

Handcrafted gifts, artisan designed objects, local wares.

Handcrafted gifts, artisan designed objects, local wares.

There is definitely a sense of a “coming together” in this new move. The shared space represents an integration of different creative visions, outlets, and sources, all of which, we’re sure, will fuel not only our work in landscape design, but Pate and Kevin’s creative projects as well. We believe this symbolic partnership will act and serve as mutual inspiration and incentive to do the best possible work we can. We are so excited to become a part of this stimulating and collaborative environment.

Stay tuned for updates on our move. We’ll be taking plenty of pictures of the process and getting familiar with the new space. Once we’re all moved in, we’d love to have you pop in and say hello!

Save the date: please join us for  our official opening on the first Thursday of Feb. 7 from 5-9 pm.

Moments in Landscape

A conversation we started on Land8 was spotlighted as a featured discussion!

We posed the question to landscape designers: Where did your passion for landscape originate? What were the narratives you had growing up that defined and transformed the world into a canvas for you?

We generated some really interesting, compelling responses (some even recounted poetically), all of them which may be read here.

The responses we received are really exciting to us, as they help to accomplish two important things:

1) Affirm the vitality and social value of the profession (it can often be viewed pejoratively and is misunderstood as being “exclusive” or culturally/socially unusable or irrelevant).

2) Uncover a common thread that connects all of us–professionals and nonprofessionals alike. The land is our home to all the meaningful experiences we’ve had–and will continue to have. It’s the book of all our experiences, the story of which, of course, is forever ours to write.

We encourage you to read this discussion here and join us in the conversation by telling your story in the comments. Share with your friends. Let’s rethink our connections and relationships to the land.

Without it, where else would we be?