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Proposed changes to city's food regulations unanimously approved by PSC

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

Portlanders are one step closer to gaining greater access to healthful, locally-grown food in their neighborhoods. On April 24, 2012, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) unanimously approved the proposed zoning code changes in the Urban Food Zoning Code Proposed Draft.

The Urban Food Zoning Code Update project recognizes the connections between food and the community’s environmental, economic and physical health and promotes traditional and emerging ways of producing and distributing food.

The recommended changes support community gardens, farmers markets and small scale market gardens. Alternative distribution methods such as community sponsored agriculture (CSA) and food buying clubs were also promoted at a scale that is appropriate to neighborhoods and helps build community. Project staff was aided by a Code Development Advisory Group, which helped sift through the existing code regulations and develop recommended changes that support these activities, while also protecting the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Urban Food Zoning Code Recommended Draft, which is the PSC recommendation to City Council, will be published by May 21. The City Council public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, 2012, 2 p.m. time certain in the Portland Building, 2nd floor auditorium, 1120 SW 5th Avenue (across from City Hall).

If you operate a market garden, food membership distribution site and/or farmers market, visit to learn more about "grandfathered rights” and fill out a short questionnaire to be included in the inventory. This will establish your right to continue to operate at your current level — even if you don’t meet new regulations approved by City Council. Project staff is offering this inventory as a service; after June 6, 2012, you will be required to go through a more rigorous process to document that you existed and are eligible for “grandfathered rights.”

For more information, please contact Julia Gisler at or 503-823-7624.

Pivotal Leaders group honors Susan Anderson

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

The Pivotal Leaders network recently named BPS Director Susan Anderson to their list of 2012's top Northwest cleantech leaders. Every year, Pivotal Leaders honors and connects the Northwest’s most innovative and talented cleantech executives.

This peer-selected list of leaders helps the Northwest region build on its strong ethos of innovation around resources and sustainability, creating more jobs and new companies. The end goal is to make this region an international leader in the rapidly growing cleantech economy. Cleantech includes a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and waste.

Other 2012 leaders include Margi Hoffmann, Office of Governor John Kitzhaber, Sam Pardue, Indow Windows and Rachel Shimshak, Renewable Northwest Project. Please join us in congratulating Susan Anderson for this recognition.  See the complete 2012 list of honorees and read more details about the Pivotal Leaders effort at .


New curbside collection service: A six-month report

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

Portlanders have been using their new curbside collection service (weekly food scraps/yard debris, weekly recycling and every-other-week garbage collection) for just over six months. During this time, the City has been evaluating progress and gathering data. Adapting to new changes takes time but the efforts residents are making are already paying off.

Here’s what we’ve learned

Portland households are throwing away 44 percent less garbage from this same period last year. By composting food scraps, recycling more and making careful purchasing decisions to avoid items with bulky packaging, nearly 1,800
truckloads of garbage have been diverted from the landfill since the beginning of the program. If those trucks were lined up end-to-end, they’d stretch over eight miles!

Portlanders are turning food scraps into valuable compost. Almost 40,000 tons of yard debris and food scraps has been collected since the new service began. That’s enough compost to fill more than seven Olympic-size pools!

Residents are “right-sizing” their garbage. Portlanders are still finding the right size garbage container to meet their household needs. Some have requested larger garbage containers while others have requested smaller ones. Call your garbage and recycling company about options or to make a change.

We still have room for improvement. Though Portlanders are doing a great job composting their food scraps, a lot of food is still left in the garbage. Don’t forget that every little bit of food makes a big difference.

Community involvement

This spring, community volunteers hit the streets of Portland in a 12-week door-to-door outreach campaign as part of the City’s efforts to offer residents technical assistance. More than 100 volunteers participated in this canvassing effort, including neighborhood associations, churches, ethnic organizations, school groups and volunteers with the Master Recycler program. They answered questions about what can go into the green roll cart and shared tips with thousands of households across Portland.

A big thank you to all the volunteers for helping their neighbors and boosting Portland’s curbside savvy!


Photo-simulations highlight Barbur Concept Plan Community Forum

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

Sometimes it’s hard to visualize future changes to our neighborhoods based on diagrams and maps of land use  concepts. But at a May 3 community forum about the future of Barbur Boulevard, nearly 50 community members were able to see photo simulations of different possible development scenarios along the southwest corridor. Barbur Blvd Neighborhood Virtual Model

At the community forum, City staff and the Barbur Community Working Group presented the audience with background and history of the boulevard, a summary of the corridor's opportunities and limitations, and photo-simulations or visualizations of possible building forms and arrangements for a few areas in the Barbur corridor. Participants were able to vote on different scenarios for future development, and the results will be used to help shape the concept plan.  

Photo caption: One scenario showing a moderate level of mixed use along SW 13th Ave between Barbur and Bertha

All Portlanders are welcome to make their voice heard about the future of Barbur Boulevard by taking a survey similar to the one used at the community forum. The presentation and other background materials are available at for reference.

The Barbur Concept Plan will create a long-term vision for the six-mile Barbur Boulevard corridor, from Portland’s Central City to the Tigard city limit. Beginning in summer of 2011, the Community Working Group began exploring alternative land use concepts for the corridor through a public process that will last 18 months.

For more information about the project and/or to take the survey, go to The survey is open until June 15.


Climate Action Plan progress report shows decline in local carbon emissions

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

The recent two-year Climate Action Plan progress report shows that total local carbon emissions continue to decline. BPS and Multnomah County Office of Sustainability presented the report  to City Council in April. The guiding document for the City and County’s response to climate change, the Climate Action Plan is a three-year plan to put Portland on a path to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

By the end of 2010, total emissions were 6 percent below 1990 levels, while national carbon emissions are up almost 12 percent over the same period. On a per person basis, Multnomah County carbon emissions have dropped 26 percent since 1990.  (Local population has increased more than 25 percent in this same period.)

"We’re making solid progress on our ambitious Climate Action Plan goals, in part because we’re creating a more connected city. Portlanders now have more low-carbon options to get to school and to work, more efficient ways to heat and power their homes and new ways to deal with household waste," said Sam Adams, mayor of Portland, Oregon. "I’m excited to see this progress continue as we implement the Portland Plan."

The report provides status updates on all of the actions called for in the Climate Action Plan. Highlights include:

  • Portland homes use 10 percent less energy per person compared to 1990, and a larger percentage of the energy that is used comes from clean energy sources like wind and solar.
  • Since 2009, more than 1,200 homes have been weatherized through Clean Energy Works Oregon and more than 1,400 homes and businesses have installed solar panels.
  • As of the end of 2011, total installed solar energy capacity in Multnomah County exceeded 14 Megawatts. If all those solar modules were arranged together, they would cover more than 24 football fields.
  • Nearly 150,000 households can now compost food scraps at the curb.
  • During the first five months of the city’s new curbside composting program, almost 40,000 tons of yard debris and food scraps were kept out of the landfill where rotting food waste creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Imagine compost-carrying trailers (laid end-to-end without the trucks pulling them) that would stretch for more than 9 miles.
  • Despite a 26 percent increase in population, fewer gallons of gasoline were sold in Multnomah County in 2010 than in 1990.
  • This reduction is due in part to developments that make it easier for people to walk, bike, or take transit.  For example, the City built nearly ten miles of Neighborhood Greenways in 2011, providing Portlanders with safer places to walk and bicycle.
  • Since 2009, the number of bicyclists has increased by 14 percent.
  • Oregon’s architecture, engineering, and construction firms continue to design and build the world’s greenest buildings. Portland is home to nearly 150 certified green buildings, and has more LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified buildings than any other city in the U.S.  
  • In the past year, 2.3 acres of ecoroofs were constructed in Portland for a total of 7.3 acres (177 ecoroofs) since 2009.  
  • Portlanders have rolled up their sleeves to make a difference on climate change.
  • Over 7,000 trees were planted in Portland in 2011 through a variety of programs including partnerships with Friends of Trees and the Youth Conservation Crew.
  • Over the past year, thousands of Portlanders attended City of Portland Fix-It Fairs where over 60 government and community organizations provided information, demonstrations and classes on weatherization, cutting energy bills, vegetable gardening, composting, tree-care and all season cycling.
  • Over 500 organizations and individuals have signed on to support the Multnomah Food Action Plan to promote the local food system.

"No single action, nor single entity—public, private, non-profit, or individual—is responsible for these accomplishments,” added Susan Anderson, director, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "Instead, they are the result of many thousands of people, businesses and organizations taking action every day—at home, at work, and at play."

Read more

The Year Two Progress Report and the complete Climate Action Plan are available at
Visit for more information about actions Portlanders can take to reduce personal carbon emissions every day.