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Portland City Council approves new goals for Sustainable City Government operations

City bureaus model sustainable principles and practices and save long-term operating costs

Portland City Council approved a new set of Sustainable City Government Principles and an update to the Green Building Policy for City Facilities. Together, these resolutions will guide city bureaus to implement long-term operational efficiencies with a focus on sustainable approaches.

“City bureaus have a long track record of sustainability, but it’s important that we periodically revisit our policies and goals, and push ourselves to continue to look for innovative solutions,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Council passed a resolution to update the City’s green building requirements for facilities that the City owns and manages. Building green reflects the City’s commitment to saving natural resources, while creating healthy spaces for workers and visitors. It also helps the City save money on energy, water, waste and stormwater management.

“From solar installations to recycling to energy efficiency lighting — all City of Portland bureaus are making government operations more cost and resource efficient,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Cities from around the world look to Portland as a leader. Local residents and businesses have invested in resource efficiency, and it's essential that City bureaus walk the talk, too."

The City owns and operates hundreds of buildings, tens of thousands of streetlights and traffic signals and several large-scale industrial plants. Like businesses and other organizations, it must examine every facet of operations for possible energy, resource and cost saving opportunities. Portland adopted the first set of sustainability principles in 1994, a year after Portland released the first-in-the-nation local Climate Action Plan. Through implementation of the first set of principles, the City has saved more than $50 million over 20 years.

"Incorporating sustainability into our operations and our culture helps us improve our operations and service to the public," said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. "We are making differences large and small, in everyday projects and all our operations. By converting street lights to energy-saving LEDs, we are saving dollars and energy in virtually all neighborhoods in the city. We also have turned the leaves collected last fall as part of Leaf Day service into compost that is now available for sale to the public. These principles will help us achieve even more. We support these principles because they're the right thing to do and because they make sense operationally."

In recent years, bureaus have partnered to achieve impressive savings projects, including:

  • Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) sustainability-related projects are saving dollars through lower electricity bills and reduced maintenance costs. PBOT is currently converting 54,000 street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. This conversion will result in a savings of 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – cutting energy use in half and saving $2 million annually. The new LEDs are expected to last up to 20 years without changing bulbs or major maintenance. 
  • Portland’s fire bureau has been making stations more efficient and healthier for over a decade, including two LEED buildings.
  • Portland Parks and Recreation is the first and only park system in the country certified for salmon-friendly parks management. The bureau makes energy efficiency improvements a priority as a routine part of the ongoing work for the Parks Replacement Bond.
  • The Office of Management and Finance’s sustainable procurement program is 13 years old and has received national and international attention. OMF also manages the City Fleet, which will be 20 percent electric by 2030.
  • Today, approximately 44 percent of City-controlled impervious surfaces are managed via sustainable stormwater strategies like green street projects. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services has overseen the construction of over 2,000 green street facilities since 2006. BES staff at Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant have reduced electricity consumption by 40 percent. In 1991, power use was at 30 million kilowatt-hours; in 2015, the number was roughly 18 million kWh. One of the more exciting future initiatives at the plant is to use surplus biogas and make it suitable for use as a transportation fuel. This kind of innovation brings cost savings and significant carbon and emission reductions for the community.
  • “We talk about ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland,’ which means building, maintaining, and operating our parks and recreation system in order to promote ecological health,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “Portland Parks & Recreation enthusiastically supports the new Sustainable City Government Principles, and looks forward to participating in the City’s national green leadership.”

These resolutions renew and refresh Portland’s longstanding commitment to walk its talk when it comes to sustainability.

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/scg

Project contact

Pam Neild, Sustainable City Government Partnership Program Coordinator
pam.neild@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-0231
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Spring brings cleanup events to your neighborhood

Over 40 neighborhood cleanup events are scheduled around Portland in April and May 2015

Man sitting on a bike at a neighborhood cleanup

Is spring cleaning on your task list at home? There are over 40 neighborhood cleanup events scheduled around Portland in April and May 2015 to give residents a chance to remove unwanted clutter from their homes, basements and garages.

Neighborhood cleanups prioritize and promote both recycling and reuse over throwing away items in the garbage. 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)

Need to find contact information for your neighborhood association?
Contact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or call 503-823-4519

Have bulky items other times of the year?
Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge. Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate. For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture, large branches, stumps, and other big items. For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up.

Need help remembering garbage day?
Sign up for free email reminders at www.garbagedayreminders.com.

PSC News: April 28, 2015 Meeting Documents and Video

Multnomah County Health Building; RICAP 7; RICAP 8 Work Plan; Economic Opportunities Analysis

Agenda

  • Multnomah County Health Building — hearing / recommendation 
  • RICAP 7 — hearing / recommendation 
  • RICAP 8 Work Plan — hearing / recommendation 
  • Economic Opportunities Analysis — hearing / recommendation

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.  

SE Quadrant Virtual Open House – CLOSED

Materials from the recent SE Quadrant Plan virtual open house that ended on March 20th

Following the February 19th open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, all materials from the event were posted online along with a comment  form to provide feedback on staff proposals. This “virtual” open house is now closed, and the comment form removed, but you can still access the materials below. A written summary of the open house starts on page 2 of the packet for Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting #14. If you have comments or questions about the SE Quadrant Plan or planning process in general, please contact email Derek Dauphin or call 503-823-5869.

Picture of physical open house on February 19th

Now you can share the experience of the February 19 open house at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.

Welcome to the SE Quadrant Virtual Open House! We’re glad you came.

Perhaps you’re a business owner in the Central Eastside Industrial District. Maybe you pass through the district on your way to and from downtown. Or just like to visit to enjoy the food, drink and creative energy of the area. Any way you experience it, there’s no denying this part of Portland is bustling with activity: new development and businesses; more bikes, cars and trucks; and increased attention and interest from near and far.

The SE Quadrant planning effort is harnessing all of that energy into a new long-range plan for the area. The plan will help ensure that this unique part of the city evolves the way Portlanders want it to.

So far we’ve heard that people want to preserve the character of the area with its historic warehouses and protect its unique role as an industrial sanctuary and business incubator. But they also recognize that as the area grows and changes, it creates pressure on the streets and transportation system to accommodate more trucks, cars and even bikes. And then there’s its relationship to the river, which provides opportunities for greater access to this beloved natural resource, recreation, and even arts and culture.

So get comfy and explore the proposals below. Then tell us what you think with the comment form.

As you look at the proposals that follow, keep in mind that most of the SE Quadrant is an industrial sanctuary and has long served as an incubator for small businesses. A key goal of the new plan is to maintain this sanctuary while allowing for new industrial businesses and increased employment density.

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Land for Jobs

The Central Eastside is experiencing a period of extensive growth and renewal. But without new regulatory tools, the Central City will not be able to keep up with the demand for employment land. Staff land use proposals tweak the existing zoning to allow for more dense employment in the Central Eastside, including the new station areas along the MAX Orange Line due to open in September 2015.

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Staff are also preparing a new industrial disclosure statement that would inform people and businesses moving into the area about the characteristics (noise, fumes, trucks) common to the district. The disclosure would make it clear that the City of Portland would not enforce complaints against lawful activity within the district.


Historic Resources

Proposals also call for recognizing the historic character of much of the Central Eastside, particularly along historic main streets such as Morrison Street.

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Urban design

Potential conflicts between different kinds of businesses and uses — particularly residential, retail and industrial areas — are addressed through urban design. These proposals seek to clarify how areas with different zoning can co-exist.

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Transportation, parking, freight

Another area of concern is the already limited parking in the district. With more jobs and residents coming to the district, congestion on the streets will affect the ability of businesses to move freight. These proposals address concerns about traffic and congestion by applying a wide set of tools.

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Other proposals would help reduce conflicts between trucks and other types of traveling to and through the district. By making some routes that are less important to freight more attractive for bicycles and pedestrians, trucks and bikes will be less likely to get in each other’s way.

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Green Loop

A concept for a bicycle and pedestrian loop is proposed for the Central City. This “Green Loop” would be a key north-south route in the Central Eastside, connecting to the South Waterfront and downtown via the new Tilikum Crossing bridge. The eastside leg would include an I-84 pedestrian/bicycle bridge. What factors should be considered in picking a route, considering some initial data showing how loading and intersections could impact design?

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Open space

Staff responded to concerns about the lack of open space and green infrastructure such as trees. Due to the industrial nature of the district, areas for employees and residents to gather and relax will likely be near the most intense employment or residential development. The exception would be at the waterfront where there may be new park-like areas and enhanced habitat.

poster    poster    


The Willamette River and Riverfront

Staff presented a strategy for the Willamette River and riverfront which includes restoring and enhancing habitat, enlivening key locations with new activities and uses, and improving recreation options such as swimming and boating. This strategy is closely linked with all of the other concepts in the district; open space linkages, economic development and transportation alternatives are important components of the strategy along the riverfront.

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Next Steps

Input from the open house, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and other Central Eastside stakeholders will help shape the Public Review Draft of the SE Quadrant Plan to be released in late April. In late May/June, the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold public hearings on the Proposed Draft, followed by City Council hearings on the plan in summer/early fall of 2015.

List of all posters

Introduction

Proposals

Planning and Sustainability Commission Approves Terminal 6 Environmental Zoning Code and Map Amendments

Pembina’s proposal to transport propane through Portland moves on to City Council; carbon fund established to offset effects of greenhouse gas emissions

On Tuesday, April 7, after a six-hour meeting (including four hours of testimony), Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission voted 6 to 4 in favor of recommending zoning code and map amendments to City Council that would accommodate Pembina’s proposal for a propane export facility at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6.

The Zoning Code and Map amendments included:

  1. Amend the Environmental Overlay Zone to allow for the transport of propane through a pipe across an environmental overlay zone on sites zoned Heavy Industrial and only when the transporting is part of a river-dependent industrial use.
  2. Amend the zoning map to extend the existing environmental conservation overlay zone boundary to some of the currently unprotected significant natural resources identified in the adopted 2012 Citywide Natural Resources Inventory.
  3. Adopt a City-Port intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to address other issues not covered by the Zoning Code.

Intergovernmental Agreement
The IGA Framework covers a wide range of issues. It formally documents many of the commitments made by Calgary-based Pembina and the Port of Portland during the PSC hearings process. Some of the proposed terms address policy issues related to Portland’s Climate Action Plan; others address safety and community relations.

The key terms of the IGA include:

Community Advisory Committee (CAC): Provide a public forum to address operational issues that may affect the surrounding community, i.e. noise, lighting and other nuisance issues.

Safety: Ensure the Port and Pembina implement all of the safety measures, including providing the Portland Bureau of Fire and Rescue with the specialized equipment or training necessary to respond to an incident at the facility.

Onsite Energy Use: Require the facility meets 100 percent of its energy needs for onsite operations from Oregon renewable energy sources.

Grassland Habitat Mitigation: Ensure that the features and functions of the grassland special habitat area affected by the facility are fully replaced.

Environmental Impact Mitigation: Pembina to contribute $6.2 million annually to the Portland Carbon Fund to offset the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the propane itself. The fund will be used for projects that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy and sequester carbon.

Liability: Provide insurance and other financial assurances to cover damages from a catastrophic event.

Much of the public testimony and discussion was about safety. Prior to the hearing, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability provided extensive information to the PSC about safety, including detailed reports from technical experts. The City hired an independent consultant (Arkana) to evaluate Pembina's Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) performed by DNV GL, a Norwegian company that specializes in safety reviews for the world gas and oil industry. The final analysis put the odds of an injury to the nearest residents at about one every 10 million years. These and other documents from the April 7 meeting are posted on the PSC website.

Portland Carbon Fund
To account for carbon emissions from the propane, the PSC recommended an annual carbon mitigation contribution of $6.2 million/year to the City. This amount is estimated based on the life cycle of GHG emissions from the exported propane, including the processing, transport and end use of the fuel. These emissions have been discounted to account for some use of the propane in plastics manufacturing and as a transition fuel that will displace dirtier sources of fuel, such as coal and fuel oil.

Pembina’s contribution will be based on the market price for GHG emissions (roughly $6.77/metric ton CO2-equivalent or roughly a penny per gallon) in Europe, which has one of the most well-established trading programs in the world. If propane exports become subject to a carbon fee or pricing mechanism, the contribution will be re-evaluated.

The Portland Carbon Fund will be a separate fund administered by the City of Portland with oversight from an advisory board, much in the same way the City’s Children’s Levy is administered. This fund is different from the Community Investment Fund announced by Pembina and will fund projects across the city that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy, and sequester carbon.

Next Steps
With the PSC vote, the amendments and IGA move onto to City Council for another public hearing and a vote, tentatively scheduled for April 30 (time TBD). Check the Council agenda page about a week before to confirm the date and time.

For a recap of the April 7 public hearing and vote, please visit the PSC news feed