(Portland, OR) May 13, 2011 — The College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University is pleased to announce Mike Houck as the recipient of the 2011 Nohad A. Toulan Urban Pioneer Award for Public Service. He has been a leader at the local, regional, national and international levels in urban park and greenspace issues since he founded the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland in 1980. Since that time he has worked on urban parks, trails, greenspaces and natural resources in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. Dean of the College Larry Wallack said, "Mike Houck is a local treasure. He has changed this region in a way that will create benefits for generations to come."
Houck speaks locally, nationally and internationally on issues related to urban natural resources and sustainable development and helped found the Coalition for a Livable Future in 1994 to better integrate social and environmental issues into the region's growth management planning process. The CLF consists of over 70 nonprofit organizations, individuals and businesses from the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region working to build an equitable and sustainable metropolitan region.
Houck is the executive director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, a nonprofit organization with the motto "In livable cities is preservation of the wild" that speaks to the Institute's mission of insuring that parks, regional trail systems, greenways and greenspaces are integrated with the built environment in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. Since receiving his M.S.T. in biology from Portland State in 1972, Houck has maintained a close relationship with the University. His Institute is located in the Center for Spatial Analysis and Research where he is an adjunct instructor in the University's Geography Department. Houck serves on the city of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission. He is also a founding member of The Intertwine Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, local park providers, federal and state natural resource agencies, Metro, watershed health agencies, and businesses. The Alliance's mission is the creation of a world class, bi-state interconnected system of parks, trails, and natural areas for the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region.
This award, named for the College's founding dean, honors community leaders who exhibit many of the ideals taught to students and valued by College of Urban and Public Affairs' faculty and community partners. Recipients are honored for their contributions to the political, social and physical landscape of our region. Past awardees include Ernie Bonner, Kay Toran, Vera Katz, Mike Lindberg, Gretchen Kafoury, Charles Jordan and Governor Barbara Roberts.
The College of Urban and Public Affairs houses the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, the Mark O. Hatfeld School of Government, and the School of Community Health. The College also includes 11 research and public service institutes working to enhance the quality of life in the Portland metropolitan regions.
Contact: Megan Tiede, 503-725-4044