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New Sustainable City Government blog: Inside the City that works green

BPS advisors encourage colleagues to keep working green

The Sustainable City Government (SCG) program, hosted by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, helps City bureaus save money, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier more equitable workplace through technical assistance and advocacy. By investing in energy efficiency, the City has saved more than $50 million in utility bills since 1991. Emissions from City operations have fallen 32 percent since FY 06-07 (our baseline year.) Over the next 15 years, the City’s goal is to reduce emissions from operations 53 percent below FY 06-07 levels.

“BPS has assembled an expert group of technical advisors to help all City bureaus work toward the Sustainable City Principles and 2030 Environmental Performance Objectives that were reaffirmed by City Council in 2015,” said Andria Jacob, senior manager of energy programs and policy at BPS. “We are reaching out to make it easier to go green.”

Sustainable City Government Team
Clockwise starting top left: Kyle Diesner, Andria Jacob, Danny Grady, Paul de Block, Pam Neild.

Meet our sustainability experts:

Paul De Block
Sustainability Advisor, Sustainability at Work

Waste not, want not

BPS Sustainability Advisor Paul de Block is a key member of BPS’s business outreach program, Sustainability at Work. In this capacity, Paul provides technical assistance to City bureaus, facilitates the Waste Subcommittee and supports the coordination of recycling and waste prevention projects. With more than 10 years of experience supporting large Portland-based organizations such as Providence and Portland State University, Paul really knows his stuff, and, more importantly, how to get rid of it in the most environmentally responsible way.

I’m most proud of the city offices and bureaus who have achieved Sustainability at Work certification.

Pam Neild
Program Coordinator, Sustainable City Government and Green Team Chair

Analyzing currents for safe passage

Pam Neild, aka “The Skipper,” maps out program strategy for Sustainable City Government, designs communications materials and leads city-wide green team activities. Pam is most proud of the SCG 2030 Environmental Performance Objectives. She steered numerous stakeholder meetings and multiple rounds of drafts to develop objectives for City operations that are clear, comprehensive and measurable.

I’m a guide like any other. I’m a trusted friend who responds with accurate and timely information. I navigate staff through sustainability rapids and we survive the journey unscathed, most of the time.

Danny Grady
Senior Energy Specialist, Sustainable City Government

Taking good energy to City bureaus

As senior energy specialist, Danny sparks City bureaus to save energy and to create energy from renewable energy sources.  Swift like an electrical current, he offers technical assistance, identifies funding opportunities for energy projects, and advises city operations staff on issues relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Since entering into his role last August, Danny is most proud of the continued development of a strategic plan with the OMF Facilities’ Strategic Planning group. He has worked closely with this team to incorporate strategic energy management, utility billing tracking, and capital planning efforts into a comprehensive energy strategy for City Facilities.

Kyle Diesner
Policy Analyst, Sustainable City Government

Oceans of experience

Kyle is a policy analyst on the clean energy team at BPS. He provides policy analysis, long-range planning, and program development for a variety of programs, policies, and actions under the umbrella of the City/County Climate Action Plan. Kyle also coordinates the community-wide greenhouse gas and consumption-based emission inventories for Portland.

For Sustainable City Government, Kyle guides the development of the carbon emissions inventory used for tracking progress towards the City of Portland’s Sustainable City Government goals. He also provides technical support to bureaus who want to quantify carbon emission reductions and their contributions to achieve Climate Action Plan goals.

A frequent presenter on our climate and energy work in the community, he has served on diversity and equity committees and brings a social equity lens to all of his work.

Learn more about Sustainable City Government at:

Green Loop is featured attraction at Saturday Walkways event in the Park Blocks

Loop PDX contest winner Untitled Studios engaged hundreds of people participating in the all-day event

people walking and riding bikes downtown

Last Saturday, August 20, hundreds of Portlanders braved the heat to join the Oregon Walkways: Connect the Park Blocks on the Green Loop event. A mile-long celebration of public space to promote active transportation on the historic Park Blocks, the event illustrated how a potential Green Loop could feel on the ground. Co-sponsored by Oregon Walks and Better Block PDX , the all-day event was also supported by Metro, Neighbors West/Northwest, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The winner of Design Week Portland and UO John Yeon Center’s  Loop PDX design competition, Untitled Studio was a key attraction along the walk route. Members of the design team engaged passersby in a pop-up exhibit, featuring two interactive displays: a large map of the Central City and a 3D model of a typical intersection. Participants were asked to share their insights about the future design of the Green Loop through writing and drawing. Untitled Studio hopes to assemble these ideas into a future exhibition for Design Week Portland next spring.

Placed along the mid-town blocks were historical markers, created by Chet Orloff and Linda Wisner, showcasing the history of Portland’s transportation and planning in the Central City. In addition, the route featured programming and activities sponsored by community organizations, institutions and businesses such as the Multnomah County Central Library, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society, City Repair, Portland Bocce League, Nelson/Nygaard, Street Roots and many more. 

Missed the event?

Watch a short video of people interacting with the Untitled Studio displays. Or view and interact with the displays in person, along with the historical markers and photographs of the event, in the lobby of 1900 SW 4th Ave from Monday, August 29 to Friday, September 9.  

First public feedback phase for Residential Infill Project comes to a close; 1,400 comments received

Council to review recommendations for new regulations shaped by community input

After eight weeks of open houses, an online questionnaire and other public engagement efforts, the initial phase of outreach for the Residential Infill Project closed on August 15. The online open house had more than 8,000 visitors, and nearly 600 community members attended the in-person open houses held throughout various parts of Portland. Thanks to the Neighborhood District Coalitions and Multnomah Arts Center, Tabor Space, Kenton Firehouse, East Portland Neighborhood Office, the German American Society, and Smile Station for assistance arranging the space, hosting events and publicizing the events.

Staff received more than 1,400 public comments from the questionnaire, comment forms, chart pack notes at the open houses, emails and letters. The proposals for scale of new houses in single-dwelling zones, alternative housing types and narrow lot development were full of detail and technical information. Thanks to everyone who took the time to dig into the proposals and give feedback, as well as share concerns and suggestions. Feedback on the proposals will help shape the recommendations for City Council to consider in this fall. While the comment period has ended, the online open house of draft proposals will be available to review through September.

Next steps
Staff will be reviewing and summarizing public input in a summary report to be published by mid-September. This will help staff develop recommendations for City Council to consider in November at a series of public hearings.

After the hearings, City Council will give staff direction on the recommended concepts in order to develop specific code amendments as part of a legislative process phase in 2017. That process will include a Discussion Draft public review period, followed by public hearings at the Planning and Sustainability Commission, before going back to City Council for a final decision. 

Planning and Sustainability Commission completes public hearings on CC2035

More than 750 Portlanders gave testimony on the new long-range plan for Portland’s urban core; PSC will delve into the details at upcoming series of work sessions

Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held two 3-hour hearings on July 26 and August 9. A total of 130 Portlanders testified about the Central City 2035 Plan (CC2035) Proposed Draft, and the record is now closed.

Testimony Received

Type of testimony Amount (approximate) Links
Oral testimony 130 July 26, August 9
Written testimony    
Letters 280 July 26, August 9
Map App comments 350 Document with all comments
Total: 760  

What did people talk about at the hearing?

While it’s difficult to summarize hundreds of comments in one set of bullets, there were some common themes, such as:

  • Tools for historic preservation, setting appropriate building height limits and ensuring the compatibility of new buildings with existing character in historic districts.
  • Public view corridors and the impacts to development of maintaining current views.
  • Tools for improving the supply of affordable, family-friendly housing in the Central City, in addition to ongoing work by City bureaus (BPS’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Program and the Housing Bureau’s Inclusionary Housing Program).
  • Different approaches to increasing the stock of low-carbon buildings.
  • Changes to parking requirements for new development.
  • Balancing new bike infrastructure with other modes, such as freight.
  • Requests from property owners and residents for specific changes to zoning, allowed building floor area and height.
  • Costs and benefits related to ecoroofs on new buildings.
  • Ideas about improving recreational access to the river in the Central City.
  • New parks and schools to support increasing populations.

View the videos of both hearings and review the written testimony

Next steps

Don’t worry if you don’t see your topic listed above. Staff and the PSC Commissioners are currently reviewing all comments in preparation for a series of work sessions on September 27, November 8 and January 24, 2017. At the final PSC meeting in January, the Commission is expected to recommend a new draft of the plan to City Council for review in early 2017.

These dates are subject to change. Check the PSC Calendar one week prior to the scheduled meeting to confirm the date, time and location. Staff will publish materials approximately one week prior to each work session.