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Fix-it Fair Celebrates a Successful 28th Season

Over 70 organizations provided exhibits and workshops that attracted more than 1,700 attendees.

Parkrose High School, Rosa Parks Elementary School and David Douglas High School hosted this winter’s fairs, offering 40 workshops and drawing more than 1,700 people from the diverse surrounding communities.

If you attended a Fair, you may have gotten help from Repair PDX fixing a broken appliance, or had your bike tuned-up by the folks from Safe Routes to School, learned to weatherize your home, or even attended one of the many workshops in Spanish at David Douglas HS.Fix-It Fairs help Portland residents save money while creating healthy homes and enhancing our natural environment. With a primary audience of low- to middle- income residents that are racially and culturally diverse, the Fairs offer free access to community resources and educational opportunities. Spanish speaking attendees made up 16 percent of attendees at the third fair, thanks to a Spanish-language track publicized by Univision KUNP.

Fix-It Fairs have been a success for nearly three decades because of our committed partners. While BPS facilitates the huge events, the rich content and resources are provided by more than 70 organizations who offer exhibits, on-site repairs and workshops. We would also like to thank the more than 60 volunteers who provided outreach, interpretation and staff assistance at the fairs.

A very special thank you goes to our sponsors, Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, Portland Water Bureau and Univision KUNP.

And while we’re saying thank you, we would like to honor one of the founders of the Fix-it Fairs, Dave Tooze who is retiring this year. Dave helped organize the original fairs and continued to provide workshops on energy savings for just about all 28 years. His friendly smile and depth of knowledge will be sorely missed – but his Fix-It Fair legacy will live on! 

From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Portland takes action on climate change; new video features the business case for climate action now

BPS E-News, Issue 41, April 2015

When I was first hired by the Portland Energy Office to work on local energy policy in the 90s, few people were interested in the issue of global warming. While scientists talked about climate change as a reality, it hadn’t yet become a key public issue.

At that same time, two city council members, Mike Lindberg and Earl Blumenauer, also agreed that national energy policy was unsustainable and that we might have to wait decades to see changes, so we should start at the local level.

With their political support and leadership, in 1993 we adopted our first Climate Action Plan and started to make things happen. And as public awareness of climate change grew, more and more businesses, government and community leaders came together around the need to act.

Fortunately, we realized early on that the things our city desired — reduced costs for businesses, more affordable housing, clean air, healthier kids, lively, walkable neighborhoods and great quality of life — all aligned with actions to reduce carbon emissions.

As business, community and political leaders began to recognize these “co-benefits,” Portland was in a position to embrace its role as a climate change leader, while showing that residents and businesses were saving money. Creating good public policy, together with programs that addressed climate change, became the norm.

Our community has some impressive results to show for it:

  • We made transportation easier with a network of light rail, streetcar and buses.
  • Hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes were added to the city’s street network. Today, more than 6 percent of Portlanders ride their bikes to work, compared with 1 percent on average in other cities.
  • We invested in infrastructure. The new Tilikum Crossing bridge is the most recent example of investments in good urban design, energy efficiency, and healthy, connected communities.
  • City facilities are now more efficient, with savings of more than $6 million/year due to investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Solarize Portland and related efforts resulted in more than 2,000 residential solar systems installed.
  • The high performance, green building industry took off early here, resulting in large numbers of LEED Gold and Platinum buildings. These designations in Portland are now interchangeable with the words “quality building.”
  • We launched Clean Energy Works to make homes more energy efficient. About 5,000 homes have been improved, thanks to the program’s mix of incentives, loans and individual investments.
  • A similar effort for multifamily housing in the 1990s and 2000s resulted in energy efficiency improvements in more than 40,000 apartments.
  • Recycling is another big win. Four years ago, we changed curbside collection so that recycling, yard debris and food waste are collected weekly, but garbage is picked up every other week. Practically overnight we reduced single-family waste headed to the landfill by 37 percent. The total recycling rate is now 70 percent for all commercial and residential solid waste.

Portland’s early action on climate change had some unexpected benefits with a surge in local expertise in green building, energy efficiency and developing vibrant neighborhoods. Our local designers, engineers, inventors and problem-solvers created all kinds of solutions to address climate change and use resources more efficiently. Now, those people are selling their solutions to the rest of the world. Whether it’s a green building design, stormwater management system or a recycling/waste reduction solution, the sustainable technologies and services sector is now a robust part of our traded sector economy.

Since we created our first Climate Action Plan in 1993, Portland has grown by more than 120,000 people. But we’ve managed to reduce carbon emissions by 14 percent citywide, and on a per person basis, we’re down 35 percent.  In plain language, that means we are continuing to live a good life here in Portland, while cutting the use of fossil fuels by 35% per person.

And at the same time, we’ve added thousands of jobs – proving that you can grow a local economy while downsizing your carbon footprint.

But today, as we set even more ambitious goals for climate action, the sense of urgency has increased. We can’t wait decades to see the dramatic results we need.

And that means we must 1) invest in renewable energy, 2) retrofit our existing buildings to make them healthier and more efficient, 3) develop net-zero energy new buildings, 4) promote more transit, 5) implement land use planning that supports walking and biking, 6) reduce our total consumption, and 7) reuse, recycle and compost as much of our waste as possible.

As Portland has done in the past, these leaps forward will require collaboration among residents, businesses and government. For the latest thinking -- check out the draft 2015 Climate Action Plan, headed to City Council this summer. And, watch this new video to hear from local resident and business climate action leaders.

Together, we can show the world that climate innovation happens here.

 

Susan Anderson, Director

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Plan ahead for neighborhood cleanup events

Reduce clutter by reusing and recycling.

There are over 40 neighborhood cleanup events scheduled around Portland in April and May to give residents a chance to remove unwanted clutter from their homes, basements and garages.

Neighborhood cleanups prioritize and promote both recycling and reuse. The materials accepted at cleanup events vary, from bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances to items for recycling and reuse like scrap metal, building materials and household goods.

Volunteers from neighborhood associations coordinate these events and have been offering more options for reuse every year. In fact, there are about 30 events that will include onsite reuse options, allowing neighbors to take, swap or buy items immediately.  

The seven Neighborhood Coalitions are the best source of information about the scheduled cleanup events by neighborhood association.

Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN)

East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO)

Neighbors West/Northwest (NW/NW)

North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS)

Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN)

Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (SEUL) 

Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI)

Find contact information for your neighborhood association from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or call 503-823-4519. 

Contact the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-7202 for cleanup dates, locations, costs and accepted materials.

BPS makes it easy to find your farmer

New food website connects you to almost 200 Community Supported Agriculture neighborhood drop-off points and two dozen farmers markets.

Updated map tools on the BPS website make it easy to find local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman, featuring more than 50 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and more than two dozen neighborhood farmers markets that serve up the best of Oregon’s bounty.

CSA Farms

CSA farms sell shares—or memberships—to households who typically receive weekly boxes of seasonal vegetables delivered to their neighborhood. Many CSAs also provide a wide variety of additional food, including fruit, eggs, dairy, fish, meat and poultry. And some farms deliver all year or directly to your house.

CSA shareholders help farmers cover their up-front operating and farmers get a fair price for their labors by selling directly to consumers. In exchange, CSA members get the convenience of fresh food delivered to their neighborhood and try new produce varieties that are grown for our region. CSA participants directly support the local economy, help protect farmland, and connect with local farms and farmers.

Farmers markets

If you’d rather pick your own produce, Portland boasts a strong web of farmers markets that can be found all over town, every day of the week. And farmers markets are more than peas and cukes. You can talk to the folks who produce your food, visit with your neighbors, taste delicious prepared food, and learn culinary skills at cooking demonstrations.

Don’t forget that almost all the markets accept SNAP benefits and many have matching-dollar programs.  

Connect

To find a farmers market any day of the week, visit the 2015 Farmers Market Map

To find your perfect match and a convenient CSA drop-point, check out the CSA map.

Comprehensive Plan activity springs forth in April

Film festival, public hearings and concept reports populate the calendar

For those following the Comprehensive Plan, there’s something for everyone this spring. Starting with new concept reports for both the Mixed Use Zones Project and Campus Institutions Project. Both efforts will help implement the new Comprehensive Plan by updating the zoning code in Portland’s growing mixed use centers and corridors, as well as in and around the education and healthcare campuses throughout the city.

These concept documents have evolved over the past several months with lots of input from project advisory committees, open houses and other outreach. The public is now invited to review the drafts and share their feedback with staff.

A public draft of the Campus Institutions Concept is available now for review and comments.

The Mixed Use Zones Concept Report will be released early next month. Sign up to receive project updates here.

In May, planners will begin developing specific zoning code language for these projects. The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will receive a briefing from staff on the projects in June and July, before holding public hearings on each one.

Economic Opportunities Analysis

On April 28, the PSC is holding another public hearing on the updated Economic Opportunities Analysis.

Last month, we shared information about the EOA, which is an analysis of employment growth and future land supply.

Read the revised Economic Opportunities Analysis.

Film Festival Shines Light on Local Film Makers

And now for the fun stuff! On Wednesday, April 29, BPS is hosting Portland is Growing: A Festival of Local Films in partnership with the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The festival will showcase how Portlanders perceive, experience and benefit from the city’s growth and development. Themes cover demolition and infill, gentrification and displacement, how centers and corridors are awesome, and love letters to the city. Featured films include homegrown videos made with iPhones by Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff, elegant movies from Oregon Humanities, and everything in between.

Join us at the Kennedy School Gymnasium for a night of moving pictures and storytelling. Light refreshments will be served before the movies start so you can chat with friends and fellow cinephiles. Then, sit back and relax, tuck into the popcorn and watch ‘em roll.