Pittsburgh Trees > Portland Trees

National Geographic studies the tree cover of nine major cities and finds Pittsburgh to be the greenest.

Photo by Dave DiCello


Aha! Just as we suspected all along. Those granola-munching Portlandians love to talk a big game. “We live under a giant canopy of trees like little forest nymphs!” “It’s like Pittsburgh only with more nature!” “Our chickens are spoon-fed wild rice and massaged thrice-daily!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s fact-check time, Portland. The good folks at National Geographic have developed this great interactive map of Nine Cities That Love Their Trees, and guess what the data says?

Portland: 30 percent tree cover
Pittsburgh: 42 percent tree cover


Consider yourself on notice, Portland. We won’t stand for your hippy-dippy hyperbole anymore. Take this, for example, from the “About Us” section on the website of Portland coffee company Stumptown Roasters:

“Walk across the airy space, which once housed a timber processing facility, and you’ll find Jonathan Sielaff in the training lab, bedecked in a dark denim Italian apron, experimenting with new brew methods and equipment, leading a barista polishing session, helping to perfect the consummate swirl when steaming milk.”

Mmm-mmm! We’re getting notes of dried peat moss with hints of gentrification!

National Geographic explains how Pittsburghers have had a personal hand in greening up the Steel City in the years of post-industrial resurgence: “This new-growth forest and the city’s four large parks make for a patchy canopy, so local environmental organizations have enlisted volunteers to plant 20,000 trees in recent years. The expanded urban forest removes 532 tons of air pollution every year.”


On notice, Portland. On notice.

P.S.: Want to help local nonprofit Tree Pittsburgh publish a children’s book about the benefits of urban trees? The Kickstarter campaign is close to reaching its goal. You have until Sunday to donate. Go!


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Categories: Hot Reads, The 412