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Rising energy costs motivate businesses to generate their own electricity with solar

BPS E-news Issue 9

Did you know that Portland businesses are increasingly finding successful ways to go solar? There are currently 131 commercial solar installations in Portland. The BPS Solar program provides free information about technology and incentives to guide businesses that are considering switching to solar for their energy needs.

One recent example of a local business going solar is Cloudburst Recycling. This local Portland hauler has tapped into the sun to generate electricity at their North Portland facility near the Fremont Bridge.  Installed in June 2010, the 23,900-watt solar energy system is anticipated to meet over 60 percent of the total annual electric load at the facility with clean, pollution-free electricity. Over the course of each year, the system will avoid the emission of over 10 tons of carbon emissions.  The system includes 104 photovoltaic modules manufactured by SolarWorld in Hillsboro, OR, and was designed and installed by a local solar contractor. In addition, they installed a water wash-down system, designed to help keep the panels clean for maximum efficiency.

“Through a combination of solar power generation, collecting waste vegetable oil to be used for biodiesel production, and conservation we hope to eventually produce most of the energy we consume in the course of providing our Waste Collection and Recycling services,” said David McMahon, founder of Cloudburst Recycling.

From their beginnings in 1975 as one of the first recycling companies in Portland, Cloudburst continues to be a leader in the environmental field and strives towards becoming energy self-sufficient. The solar installation and Cloudburst’s conservation practices highlight great steps for businesses to incorporate that save costs, support the local green economy, and help meet the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan goals.  

Visit www.solarnoworegon.org/business.html for general information. Contact Jaimes Valdez at 503-823-7109 for technical assistance, information about technology and incentives, as well as on-site guidance visits .

Tree project goes to City Hall

BPS E-news Issue 9

Portlanders are surrounded by stunning natural beauty and many residents enjoy the city’s canopy of trees. But did you know that trees in your neighborhood actually increase property resale value, help reduce crime and improve mental and physical health? These are just some of the reasons why the City — in partnership with neighborhoods leaders, developers, arborists and others — has been working to foster the long-term health of our trees through the Citywide Tree Project, which goes before City Council in early February 2011.  

Inspired by community residents concerned about preserving neighborhood trees and making the Portland’s tree regulations more consistent, City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project in 2007. Council directed city bureaus to work up a proposal to make Portland’s tree rules more understandable, consistent and effective in protecting and enhancing this valuable natural asset. Now, after extensive collaboration with stakeholders and between City bureaus — and unanimous approval by Portland Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission — the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report will soon be published for City Council consideration and adoption.

Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2010, at 6 p.m. (time certain) in City Council chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.

The Citywide Tree Project will establish a cohesive, consistent regulatory framework for trees in Portland — a framework that will protect and enhance the urban forest and support the City’s environmental, social and economic sustainability goals by:

  • Consolidating tree regulations under a new single tree code (Title 11, Trees).
  • Standardizing and streamlining Portland’s tree permit system, and creating a simpler permit process for homeowners.
  • Improving standards for tree preservation and planting when development is proposed, without causing undue increases in permitting timelines or development costs.
  • Improving customer service with a new 24-hour tree hotline, single point of contact for public inquiries, community tree manual and an online tree permit tracking system.
  • Generating more than 100 acres of future tree canopy per year through improved tree preservation and planting requirements.


The Citywide Tree Project proposal includes estimated costs and a budget to fund administration and enforcement of the updated regulations and the customer service improvements. A phased implementation strategy is proposed to provide time for public outreach, development of the tree manual and other informational materials. Project implementation is also tied to City budget stabilization, but the majority of the ongoing implementation costs can be supported through modest development fee increases.

The Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report to City Council will be published in mid-December and posted at www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject. The City will also be holding a public meeting to go over the project proposal and answer questions in early-mid January. If you have questions or are interested in being on the project mailing list, please notify project staff at BPSCTP@portlandoregon.gov.

N/NE Quadrant SAC #3: Meeting Summary

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A summary of the N/NE Quadrant Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee's third meeting on December 9, 2010

The N/NE Quadrant Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee met for the third time on Thursday, December 9th. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • A presentation by Cathy Galbraith of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation on the results of survey work done on buildings of historical significance to Portland's African-American community;

  • Discussion of the project scope, with particular interest expressed about the parameters set for I-5 freeway improvements; and

  • Discussion and refinement of draft project goals that will be used to guide recommendations made by the Committee during the planning process.

The meeting agenda and materials are available here. Full notes from the meeting will also be available on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee's (SAC) page on this website once they're approved at the next SAC meeting.

The next SAC meeting is on January 20 from 5:30 - 8:30 at Calaroga Terrace, 1400 NE 2nd Avenue.

Special thanks to the Calaroga Terrace Retirement Community, which donated the meeting space and refreshments. Calaroga Terrace is located within the N/NE Quadrant Project's planning area.