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Green guard

• Environmentalists of all hues take roost under city's umbrella

It's easy to be 'green' in Portland.

More than 50 environmental groups have offices in the city, creating a formidable network that sets Portland apart from places such as Cleveland and Houston.

'We have more environmental advocates per square inch than any other place in the country,' boasts Portland's congressman, Earl Blumenauer, who took a bicycle instead of a car to the nation's capitol when he was elected in 1996.

Jane Haley, who works for Friends of the Columbia Gorge and runs Oregon Center for Environmental Health in her spare time, says the reason for the proliferation is simple: 'We live in a beautiful place, and people here are passionate about saving it.'

Of course, the Portland greens are far from unified on what to save first. Their issues range from fish and trees to toxic chemicals and wind power. Their methods include multimillion-dollar land acquisitions as well as tree sitting to protect forests.

For a look at six Portland environmentalists, turn to Pages A7, A8 and A9.