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Walking tour and new report highlight Portland and Northwest as leaders in capturing carbon, saving money, and enhancing communities

August 1, 2013

The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Ecotrust, and the Willamette Partnership provided a briefing on the climate and economic benefits of natural infrastructure in Portland and the Willamette Valley, announced the release of the report Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution, and led a 45-minute tour of multiple natural infrastructure projects in Portland's South Waterfront area.

"Portland uses green infrastructure to manage our stormwater and keep our rivers clean,” said Portland Commissioner Nick Fish. “One of the great things about green infrastructure is that it has multiple benefits, including reducing carbon pollution in our atmosphere.”

"In June when President Obama launched his climate action plan for the nation, he cited the use of natural systems to capture carbon as a priority," said Eileen V. Quigley, Director of Strategic Innovation at Climate Solutions. "As outlined in our new report - Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution - Portland and the Northwest region lead the nation in using biocarbon and natural infrastructure solutions in cities, forests, rural communities, wetlands, even the ocean to store carbon and remove carbon pollution from the atmosphere.”

The City of Portland and Climate Solutions were joined by Ecotrust and the Willamette Partnership on a tour of Portland’s green streets, ecoroofs, and other examples of natural infrastructure to provide context for biocarbon solutions and benefits throughout the region.

"In Oregon, restoration and natural infrastructure projects have created jobs in construction, in technical fields, such as engineering and wildlife biology, and in supporting businesses like plant nurseries, heavy equipment companies, and rock and gravel quarries,” said Cathy Kellon, Director of Water and Watersheds Program at Ecotrust. "These are jobs that can't be outsourced."

"Everything we do today is more connected: people, economies, communication. Why aren't we looking at the environment that way?" asked Bobby Cochran, Executive Director for the Willamette Partnership. "Building up our natural infrastructure – from farms to floodplains to green streets – cleans our water, stores carbon, increases local food production, and ultimately makes our communities healthier and happier."

The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (NBI) is a program of the Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit Climate Solutions that promotes the role of natural systems in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. NBI has released a new report - Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution - that explores the climate and economic benefits of natural infrastructure and profiles specific projects.

The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is a leader in using urban infrastructure and stormwater management techniques that mimic natural systems as an effective, affordable way to protect water quality and restore healthy urban watersheds.

Ecotrust's mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity and environmental wellbeing. Their goal is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world.

The Willamette Partnership is a diverse coalition of conservation, city, business, farm, and science leaders in the Willamette River basin and beyond who are working to shift the way people think about, value, manage, and regulate the environment.

For More Information

Bobby Hayden, Climate Solutions – 503.781.3383, bobby@climatesolutions.org

Linc Mann, Bureau of Environmental Services – 503. 823.8872, linc.mann@portlandoregon.gov