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Build It Green! Tour attracts homes with good energy

BPS E-news Issue 8

The 2010 Build It Green! Home Tour on Saturday, September 25 was a sensation! Thank you to all the enthusiastic volunteers, tour goers, home owners, contactors, staff, media, nonprofits and vendors who contributed to the vitality, diversity and success of BPS’s 9th Annual Build It Green! Home Tour and Info Fair. Nearly 1,000 tour-goers learned about the latest in green building techniques at the homes and at the Info Fair at Ecohaus.

The 21 green home projects really shined in the 80-degree sunny weather. Solar panels cranked away, insulated spaces stayed cool, homeowners got rave reviews from curious tour-goers, and inspiring information was exchanged. The Info Fair was full of energy, vendors, lively music, raffles, Metro’s native plant display and two tiny houses on trailers.

Thank you to our great tour and Info Fair sponsors:  Metro, Energy Trust of Oregon, Oregon Home Magazine, Solar Oregon, Ecohaus, City of Portland Bureaus of Environmental Services, Development Services and Water.

Do you have a green residential project you’d like to show off next year? 

Do you have a green residential project within the City of Portland to nominate for the tenth annual BIG! Home Tour? Contact Valerie Garrett, tour coordinator, at or 503-823-5431 to be placed on the contact list for nomination forms due out mid-February, 2011.


East Portland Neighborhoods Historic Survey Project seeks mid-century examples

BPS E-news Issue 8

Much of East Portland was developed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, when new architectural styles and building forms were introduced. Popular suburban home archetypes such as the Ranch House, Split-level and “Mid-Century Modern” were conceived during the post-war era and are now enjoying a kind of renaissance among 21st century home owners. Because these styles and forms are now 50+ years old, they are the focus of an historic building survey project in East Portland neighborhoods, thanks to a small grant from the State Historic Preservation Office.

The Historic Resources team at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is working with consultants at Historic
Preservation Northwest to photograph buildings and determine their age, style and characteristic features. The focus is on “Mid-Century” residential areas developed during the 1940-60s, and a sampling of buildings are being surveyed. The project will include a description of the architectural styles of buildings and historical research.

Other important development types and features that contribute to the special identity of East Portland, such as the oldest buildings in the area, historic commercial properties, and public properties and historic natural features, also merit closer attention and may be evaluated in a future phase of survey work, as funding permits. The project team will look at the outside of buildings and will complete their documentation from the public right-of-way. They will not require admittance onto private property.

Historical surveys are the first step to understanding the architectural character and historic significance of an area. East Portland is a special and complex part of the city, and its history, landscapes and development patterns differ in many ways from Portland’s urban core and inner-ring neighborhoods.

Information and photos from the survey will be entered into a state database and made available to the public for mapping, planning and neighborhood character illustration. There will also be a public presentation about the survey results at the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, likely in November 2010.

East Portland Action Plan Item

The survey work partially addresses East Portland Action Plan item CB.7.1: "Gather information regarding historical
resources and determine focus areas for additional research and potential historic preservation efforts."  The project team would like to include some commercial structures from the same time period and invites East Portland residents to suggest commercial structures.

If you have questions about this survey project, contact Liza Mickle at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at
503-823-7666. If you have additional information about “Mid-Century” properties in East Portland and would like to share that information, please call the historical survey consultant, Dave Pinyerd, at 541-791-9199.


BEST Business Center and PGE: Energy Efficiency, One Business at a Time

BPS E-news Issue 8

The BEST Business Center and its partner, PGE, have a common goal to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint. BEST is a free one-stop-shop for businesses that want to become greener and more profitable. Our team of sustainability advisors helps businesses identify and access multiple free services, resources and cash incentives to help make going green easy.

BEST wants businesses to know about a special campaign offered by PGE called "Save More, Matter More™" to help local businesses save energy in their operations. Together with Energy Trust of Oregon, PGE is offering free energy-efficiency consultations for area businesses and a sweepstakes to win one of five $3,000 energy upgrades for businesses. The campaign runs through November 15.

Why efficiency?

Saving energy is a smart business move. It helps businesses:

  • Boost their bottom line (individual results may vary)
  • Control operating and maintenance costs
  • Make businesses more comfortable and inviting for customers and staff
  • Increase the sustainability of business

How to join the Save More, Matter More™ campaign

1. Sign up for a free, no-obligation energy-efficiency consultation with energy experts from PGE and Energy Trust of

Businesses will get free, customized energy-savings advice and be automatically entered into their sweepstakes for one of five $3,000 efficiency upgrades. PGE experts will help you identify how to spend any winnings.

2. Not ready for a consultation or already had one? Simply enter the sweepstakes:

Let PGE’s energy experts help

After a no-obligation, no-cost energy consultation, PGE experts will:

  • Identify energy-saving opportunities, including low-cost solutions
  • Prioritize based on your budget and goals
  • Connect you with trusted contractors, state tax credits and Energy Trust incentives that make efficiency profitable more quickly than you might think.

Funding available for improvements

Even in today’s economy, there’s still help available for energy improvements. Low interest rates make now a great time to act — especially if an upgrade is due soon anyway. Help includes:


Energy Trust cash incentives

Federal and state tax credits


Oregon Energy Loan Program

Visit for even more inspiration about how your business can go green.



West Hayden Island planning process enters next phase

BPS E-news Issue 8

On July 29, 2010, City Council passed a resolution directing the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to continue work on a proposed concept plan and potential annexation of West Hayden Island. The resolution specified that at least 500 acres of West Hayden Island would be protected as open space and designated no more than 300 acres for future deep water marine terminal development.

The resolution directed staff to perform additional technical studies. In addition, Council asked staff to analyze the costs and benefits of developing part of the island, consider nature-based recreational opportunities and assess livability impacts, such as traffic, noise, dust and light on neighboring properties.

City planners are working to refine the process for this next phase of planning for the island, which will occur over the next 12 to 15 months. The work plan includes performing additional rail configuration and harbor lands inventory studies, considering terminal operational efficiencies, conducting cost/benefit analyses, looking at natural area land management options, reviewing local impacts and hosting a design workshop.

During this process, there will be several opportunities for residents and stakeholders to learn more about the project and provide comments through open houses and other events. Meeting notices, project updates and new information about the studies will be posted on the WHI website at

The future of West Hayden Island, lying just outside the City boundaries, has been in dispute for some time. It has been designated by Metro, the regional planning agency, as important industrial land as well a significant natural area. Resolving this long-standing question is important in order to provide certainty to the Port of Portland and the region and inform the City's state-mandated Comprehensive Plan update, which is occurring through the Portland Plan.


Solar Now! brings on Eastern Oregon Partners

BPS E-news Issue 8

solar now university attendees

On a recent sunny weekend in Eastern Oregon, Solar Now! (, a collaboration between the City of Portland, Solar Oregon, Oregon Department of Energy and Energy Trust of Oregon, held its first-ever Solar Now! University at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton. Solar Now! University brought together more than 30 municipal and community leaders representing five Eastern Oregon communities looking to learn about resources for creating their own solar initiatives.
The conference shared practical tools that communities need to grow local clean energy programs and to connect with other like-minded communities in their area. Attendees learned why solar is a smart choice for homeowners and businesses. The Cities of Pendleton and Hood River, and Sherman County formally joined the Solar Now! partnership. The partners received a digital tool kit and other supporting materials that will help them operate a community solar program of their own.
"Solar Now! University was the best organized, content-rich and authoritative training in Oregon's solar strategy,” said Art Hill, vice president of economic development at Blue Mountain Community College. “The team and their presentations prepared us to act as solar ambassadors in our communities."

Solar Now! was created to help volunteers, organizational leaders, municipalities and solar champions establish local solar outreach programs. With the right resources, training and support, community and municipal leaders can create their own community solar initiatives. Current financial incentives for homeowners cover up to 80 percent of installed costs and even more for businesses, making Oregon's incentives some of the best in the nation.

“The City of Portland, in partnership with the United States Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities Program, is
working to increase market demand for solar,” said Susan Anderson, director, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and
Sustainability. “We are delighted to share the practical tools from the Solar Now! program with local governments in
Eastern and Central Oregon.”

The City of Portland launched its first solar program in 2006 with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Cities program. This grant allowed the City to work with regional and national partners to accelerate the installation of solar energy systems in Portland.
"This program is a valuable opportunity to bring together local governments, businesses, residents and stakeholders to expand clean energy use and promote new green jobs in local communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi. "Portland's success and leadership as a Solar America City will offer important best practices and lessons that will help jumpstart new solar initiatives across the State of Oregon."

For more information on Solar Now! visit: