Tri-County Regional Work

“One of the things that helped me truly unpack my refugee bags was when I started experiencing be geographical landscape of Oregon through sightseeing, hiking, and learning about the many ways Oregon’s residents have contributed to preserving the natural environment.”
- Kayse Jama, Unite Oregon Executive Director and Somali Refugee 

Nurturing a sense of home and belonging for immigrants and refugees coming to Oregon lessens the trauma and cultural shock experienced by our newest neighbors, enabling them to become active participants in their adopted country. 

“Being in nature is transformative," explains Executive Director Kayse Jama, "Because until then I never felt at home.”

For the past two years, Unite Oregon and Metro have collaborated to produce a program aimed at connecting Oregon’s newest residents to our natural environment and to foster an understanding of the public policy, legal structures, governmental agencies, and volunteer community actions that protect it.

Unite Oregon/Metro Partnership Goals

1. Build understanding of parks and natural areas for participants in Unite Oregon’s Multnomah and Washington County leadership development programs;

2. Train emerging immigrant and refugee leaders on the public policy, legal structures, government agencies, and volunteer community actions that protect the tri-county region’s environment

3. Help immigrants and refugees to connect to natural areas as well as the regional government that protects them

4. Assist in the development of best practices and creative engagement methods for involving the diverse community members living within Metro’s boundaries

5. Provide opportunities for hands-on learning through site visits to Metro parks and natural areas and through strategic training/convenings

6. Develop a working and ongoing collaboration between Metro and Unite Oregon