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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 http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/49989
 
Visit http://www.portlandonline.com/portlandcan/ for more information about actions Portlanders can take to reduce personal carbon emissions every day.

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The 20th (and Last) BEST Awards

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

This year marked the 20th and final Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards. BPS is excited to announce a new partnership with Sustainable Business Oregon’s (SBO) annual innovation awards. This will couple the City’s expertise with a well-known sustainable business news source to increase visibility for the business leaders in our community.

The SBO annual business awards will take the place of the BEST Awards, highlighting innovation among local sustainable businesses. The City will continue to recognize businesses who demonstrate sustainable best practices in energy, waste, water, and transportation through Sustainability at Work Certification.

For our 20th annual event, the City honored seven outstanding businesses at a ceremony hosted by Mayor Sam Adams the evening of April 25, 2012 at The Nines Hotel in Portland:

 

BEST Practices for Sustainability (Four winners in Large, Medium, Small and Very Small Companies)

Purdy, the Portland paintbrush and roller manufacturer, is dedicated to being a zero-waste-to-landfill facility under the enthusiastic leadership of their “Green Machine” team and offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) training for their employees. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/-ekyI0TBeD0

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance sited their new office close to the bus mall and offers transit benefits to encourage alternative transportation. Employees also use a carbon tracking platform for travel, commuting and various office practices to help measure and reduce their carbon footprint. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/O-7zDP7ozIo

Capital Pacific Bank provides financial services to underserved local businesses and nonprofits, and boasts an impassioned green team that got the entire company excited about sustainability, both in their own operations, and in the businesses they choose to work with. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/19UGPRz_DfQ

FMYI [for my innovation] has a triple-bottom-line business model, helps their clients become more sustainable, and goes above and beyond to support employees and the community. FMYI minimizes travel emissions by offering 100 percent subsidized Trimet passes and Zipcar memberships, and by meeting with clients in a virtual space -- which has reduced corporate travel by over 40 percent. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/Bn7tJZCQJ5g

Sustainable Food Systems

NatureBake (Oregon Grains bread) partners with local farmers and food producers to create bread made almost entirely from ingredients sourced within 100 miles. Almost no waste is generated in production, with dedicated staff to facilitate food donation and a contract with an animal feed company to divert food scraps from the landfill.
Watch the video: http://youtu.be/DFv1u5DkHhs

Sustainable Products or Services (Two winners)

GO Box solves the problem of disposable food cart and take-out containers by providing bike-delivered reusable containers for food cart vendors and customers. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/p2nWb7iZugE
 
Sustainable Northwest Wood partners with local growers and mills, providing the building community with a steady supply of local, sustainable wood. Watch the video: http://youtu.be/fUQWSvAd2Xw
 
For more information about the awards program and the winners: www.sustainabilityatworkpdx.com/recognition/best-awards/

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Planning and Sustainability Commission visits Cully to hear testimony on draft neighborhood plan

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

Residents of the Cully neighborhood didn’t have to go far to comment on the Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project on May 22. The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held their bimonthly meeting in the heart of the Cully neighborhood at Rigler School and will hear public testimony on a draft plan for the community.
 
Over the past year, BPS and the Bureau of Transportation have been working with Cully residents, property owners, bike and pedestrian advocates, and the business community, among others, to collect and analyze data, and hear public opinion on the Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project. Project staff subsequently developed a Proposed Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Implementation Report to respond to the community’s desire for a neighborhood-serving main street and an improved street system.
 
The recommendations in the implementation report include select zoning changes along Cully Boulevard and Killingworth Street area to allow more commercial, residential, mixed-use and employment in the area. The report also includes a local street plan for the Cully neighborhood to increase street connectivity, develop new designs and funding options for implementing local street improvements, as well as prioritizing Cully community street improvements.
 
The PSC reviewed the proposed draft and invited public comment. Testimony generally supported main street proposals. However, questions were raised about how the local diverse population could benefit from the plan, specifically through local job development. Testifiers also commented on the local street plan design options and street improvement priorities.
 
Subsequently, the PSC unanimously voted to endorse the plan and asked that staff revise the report to include more discussion about the impact of potential gentrification and displacement. The report will then be forwarded to City Council for final action at a public hearing in summer 2012. Stay tuned to www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/cully for exact dates and times or for more information about the project.
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Portland City Council unanimously adopts the Portland Plan

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

On April 25, 2012, Portland’s City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Portland Plan. The vote followed a public hearing on the plan, at which dozens of partners and community members expressed commitment to this long-range plan to ensure Portland is more prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable as we move toward 2035. See a recap of the public hearing and listen to what people had to say about the plan.

The Portland Plan presents a roadmap to help our city thrive into the future. Developed in response to some of Portland’s most pressing challenges, including income disparities, high unemployment, a low high school graduation rate and environmental concerns, the Portland Plan is a plan for people, with equity at its core.

Portland is becoming a more racially, ethnically and age-diverse city, and nearly 40 percent of Portland’s youth are people of color. But not all Portlanders have equitable access to opportunities to achieve their full potential. Greater equity in the city as a whole is essential to our long-term success.

“Portland is known for being a well-planned city, but the things we love about our city are not available to all,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “In a resource-constrained world, the Portland Plan recognizes that single actions must produce multiple benefits. This plan provides a framework for public agencies to maximize fiscal leverage and impact by aligning priorities and the budgets that support them.”

The Portland Plan strategies focus on Thriving Educated Youth, Economic Prosperity and Affordability, and a Healthy Connected City. Each strategy contains policies and five-year actions that will help us reach our goals, with special emphasis placed on those disparities related to race and ability.  View the new Portland Plan video here.

“City staff researched plans from around the world — from Sydney, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark and Denver, Colo. to New York City — to determine best practices and gather inspiration for the Portland Plan,” stated BPS Director Susan Anderson. “There’s no other city that is planning for change in quite the same way, with so many partners in alignment and ready to collaborate to reach our common goals.”


The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) led the development of the plan with extensive input from nine Technical Advisory Groups, public and nonprofit agencies, the business community and thousands of Portland residents. With a broader focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability, BPS provides the resources for problem-solving in a more integrated fashion with a broader set of tools beyond the comprehensive plan and zoning code.
 
Collectively, the public agencies that operate within the City of Portland spend more than $8 billion annually. The Portland Plan challenges the City and its more than 20 agency partners (including Multnomah County, school districts, Metro, TriMet and others) to break down traditional bureaucratic silos and be innovative with new budget approaches.


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ReTHINK = Climate Education + Community Action

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

At BPS, community outreach happens with a tailored approach to engage community groups in their own neighborhoods. This winter, BPS’ ReTHINK program partnered with the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, owners of the June Key Delta Community Center (JKDCC). They were selected because of the organization’s long history of community involvement and leadership within Portland’s African American community.

The ReTHINK program partners with host organizations to provide sustainability and climate change education through a series of three workshops. Hosts are selected for their ability to reach diverse and/or  low-income residents and to engage their members in a community action project. The goal of the program is to empower communities with both the information and the resources to make meaningful progress in reducing carbon emissions.

This past year, the ReTHINK program was expanded to include a small grant for the host organization to implement a community action project related to climate change.
      
Additionally, JKDCC is on its way to achieving the highest green building certification of a Living Building, reflecting the organization’s commitment to sustainability. They applied to ReTHINK to inspire their members and community to engage in practices that would support the goals and values of the Center and that can be applied at home.

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, community members gathered for an array of workshops and family friendly Earth Day activities at the Center. The theme for JKDCC’s Earth Day event was “Healthy People, Healthy Planet”, emphasizing that what is good for the community is good for the planet, and vice versa. Workshops included composting, gardening, nutrition, and DIY energy conservation.

“We remain committed to educating our members and the surrounding community on the impacts of climate change and opportunities to make a difference. Earth Day participants continue to discuss and practice the lessons learned during the event, we anticipate that the impact of these lessons will multiply throughout the community.” Vera Pool, President of the Portland Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The ReTHINK program will continue this spring at Self Enhancement Inc. If you are interested in the ReTHINK program for your community group, contact Desiree Williams-Rajee at desiree.williams-rajee@portlandoregon.gov.

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