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From BPS Director Susan Anderson: Three kids and a mini-can

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

Now that curbside collection of food scraps is just around the corner, I thought I would share my experience with garbage and composting at home.

Several years ago, I proposed a challenge to my family (including three kids) to recycle and compost as much as we could, and shift to a 20-gallon mini-can for garbage.  Like many families, I was looking for ways to cut costs and, if possible, protect the environment.

We went to the hardware store and bought the mini-can, and after just a few weeks, the results were amazing.  The older boys were in charge of making sure all our veggie waste went into the compost bin on the side of the house, and my daughter, who was eight at the time, made sure we sorted the recycling and glass.  There wasn’t much left in the garbage.  In fact, some weeks we only had one small bag of trash.  And in the summer, we had great compost for the garden.

Fast forward six years, and now we are ready to compost even more. Starting October 31st, we will be able to compost meat scraps, fish, bread, grains and even pizza boxes in with our yard debris – and it will be picked up every week.  It will be good to know that when the truck picks up our green cart, our food scraps will become nutrient-rich compost for someone else’s garden.  

So if you don’t have a compost bin now, you will finally have an easy way to compost all your food waste and veggies.  And, if you’re like me, you can do both:  Compost veggie waste in your compost bin (or the green cart), and the rest of the food waste in your green roll cart.

So what’s next for the Anderson household?  With the shift to every week composting and recycling, and the boys going off to college, I’m ready for a new challenge — so we are getting ready to shift to once-a-month garbage pick-up!  

To learn more about the new food scrap program, please visit This new program will keep more than 20,000 tons of food scraps from going to the landfill, and less waste to the landfill means less greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.  In fact, the reduction in emissions is equal to Portlanders driving 48 million miles less each year.  

Your participation really adds up!

All the best,

Susan Anderson sig


Susan Anderson

New Curbside Collection Service is coming to Portland this fall

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

Starting on Halloween, you* will be able to place all food scraps (including meat, bones and dairy!), along with yard debris, in your green Portland Composts! roll carts. *All Portland single-family households and residents living in buildings with four or fewer units.

As part of the new Curbside Collection Service, the green Portland Composts! roll cart will increase to weekly pick-up, and garbage collection will be changed to every-other-week, allowing additional food scrap and yard debris collection without raising prices for most residents. The blue Portland Recycles! roll cart and yellow glass recycling bin will continue to be collected weekly.

The new Curbside Collection Service means residents will be making shifts in how they deal with garbage in their kitchens and at the curb. Over the past year, the 2,000 Portland households who took part in the Food Scrap Curbside Collection pilot have proven that the new service can work for Portland residents. Not only were 87 percent of pilot survey respondents satisfied with the Curbside Collection Service at the end of one year, they also provided honest feedback that helped the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability understand when and how residents need assistance.

“Composting was new to us and at first my family was skeptical that we could make the change to every-other-week garbage collection work,” said Val Thorpe, a pilot resident from the Centennial neighborhood in East Portland. “We were surprised how much of our garbage really was compostable in the green roll cart and we quickly learned to make composting part of our family’s day-to-day routine. We feel great about turning what was garbage into something valuable that can be used again.”
Composting food scraps reduces waste and creates nutrient-rich compost for fertilizing yards and gardens. The food scraps and yard debris will be sent to local commercial composting facilities with specialized processes that break down food scraps and turn them into compost. The compost is then sold to landscapers and other agricultural users to fertilize the soil, prevent erosion, block weeds, retain water and prevent plant disease.

Why is the system changing?

The addition of curbside food scrap collection marks the implementation of Phase II of the Portland Recycles! Plan, which was adopted by city council in 2007 and included an extensive public involvement process. Read more about the Portland Recycles! Plan.

What’s next?

Prior to October 31, 2011, residents can expect to receive a kitchen pail for collecting food scraps in their kitchens, instructions on collecting food scraps, tips for maintaining the kitchen pail and green roll cart, as well as information about selecting a service option appropriate for their household.

Have questions?

Three easy ways to get help:
1. Visit to learn more and submit a comment form online.
2. Call the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202.
3. Send an e-mail to


Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project off and running

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

A lot has been happening around Cully Boulevard these days. In addition to the green street improvements that were recently completed and celebrated by the community on June 21, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability hosted a Roll and Stroll event to kick off the Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans project. See Cully Neighborhood Roll and Stroll Summary for event results.

Existing Conditions Report now available online

To start the project, staff researched and documented existing conditions of the Cully Main Street area and the Cully neighborhood overall, particularly its transportation system. The results of that research are summarized in the new Existing Conditions Report, which includes key findings about business climate conditions, transportation and mobility options and challenges, and community desires for enhanced neighborhood services.

Cully Main Street Redevelopment Analysis ready for review

The market research firm, Marketek Inc., which specializes in market analysis and economic development services for downtown revitalization projects, has completed an analysis of the existing conditions and potential for future development of the Cully Main Street area. This information will inform future rezoning recommendations to enhance the area with more opportunities for commercial development. The analysis focused on:

  •  retail/office/service analysis and identification of businesses that can be supported in the project area for a 25-year planning horizon.
  • A commercial land needs analysis to quantify the land required for supportable businesses.

To learn more about the Cully Main Street Project Redevelopment Analysis, please visit


Sustainability at Work promotes better workplaces, healthy communities

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

BPS recently engaged over 400 businesses and 30 organizations to improve our business services. Together with our partners, we’re excited to launch Sustainability at Work. This integrates the services of Recycle at Work, Portland Composts and BEST Business Center. We bring you the same friendly team of experts, and are introducing some great new features – including new recognition opportunities!

Our tools are at your fingertips. You can now directly access our checklist of best practices, free tools and incentives on our new website,

Certification to showcase your achievements. Sustainability at Work now offers Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels of certification for Portland businesses and organizations based on their level of achievement. Plus, we’ve launched a new online directory of certified business that spotlights the concrete actions they are taking to strengthen our economy, community and environment.

People. Planet. Profit. Businesses in Portland play an important role in reducing disparities, promoting equitable outcomes, and make our city a place where all communities are prosperous and have real opportunity. We’ve launched a pilot to share best practices for a socially sustainable workplace – and to collect your best thinking on this important subject over the next year.

Take action. In addition to providing free tools and expertise, your Sustainability Advisor can help you build an action plan. Together, you’ll set achievable goals and prioritize actions that will deliver the biggest benefit to your company, employees and community.

Visit our website to learn more:


Alternative concepts for West Hayden Island developed

BPS E-News Issue 13 - September

In July 2010 the Portland City Council passed a resolution directing BPS to develop a legislative proposal for the annexation of West Hayden Island to the City. Because the island is valuable for both its marine industrial potential as well as wildlife habitat, Council specified that the proposal should designate at least 500 acres as open space and no more than 300 acres for future deep water marine terminal development. Since then, the City has been conducting research, engaging the public and working with the project Advisory Committee to prepare a Concept Plan and legislative package for City Council consideration.

The City of Portland is working with consultant Worley Parsons to formulate concept plan alternatives for West Hayden Island, based upon the direction of the City Council resolution. New rail and street access will be included in the developed portions of the island. The consultant (an international firm specializing in sustainable marine, industrial and infrastructure development) and City staff have been working with the project’s Advisory Committee to identify a list of issues and evaluation criteria to review any future proposals.

The City anticipates releasing two Concept Plan options from Worley Parsons at the end of September. These will be followed by two public open houses in October to discuss the options and invite feedback. The open houses will be held on Hayden Island, and the concepts will be posted on the West Hayden Island website during this time.

Exact dates for the open houses will be available in September at