The College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University (PSU) is pleased to announce Mike Houck as the recipient of the 2011 Nohad A. Toulan Urban Pioneer Award for Public Service. Houck, executive director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute, has been a leader in urban park and greenspace issues for more than three decades.
"Mike Houck is a local treasure," said Dean of the College Larry Wallack. "He has changed this region in a way that will create benefits for generations to come."
The Urban Greenspaces Institute, located in PSU's Center for Spatial Analysis and Research, is a nonprofit organization that works to integrate parks, regional trail systems, greenways and greenspaces with the built environment in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. Houck also founded the Urban Nationalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland in 1980 and is 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.
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 serves on the city of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission. He received his M.S.T. in Biology from PSU in 1972 and is an adjunct instructor in the University's Geography Department.
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.