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Sustainable Business Spotlight: Viking Motel

North Interstate motel goes green with help from BEST Business Center and Portland Development Commission

When Hari Karia bought the Viking Motel on North Interstate in 1978, the mid-century motel provided lodging for nearby shipyard employees. Today, the MAX train takes guests from the motel’s front door straight to downtown, past growing neighborhoods and businesses on North Interstate Avenue.  

While Hari greets guests and checks them into Viking Motel, his wife and three children have worked alongside him to support the family business. Because the whole family recognizes the immediate cost savings and environmental benefits of sustainability, the father and son long ago implemented simple practices such as energy-efficient lighting, recycling and low-flow shower heads.

This year, Hari turned to BEST Business Center for free evaluation of their operations and recommendations for sustainable improvements. Because substantial changes require significant up-front investment for small-business owners, the Karia family was pleased to discover their eligibility for Portland Development Commission’s Green Features Grants program, which provides grants for small businesses to achieve greener operations in designated urban renewal areas such as the Interstate Corridor.

“Working with BEST took a lot of confusion out of creating a sustainability plan for the Viking Motel,” said Hari Karia. “When you’re caught up thinking about business, you miss glaring opportunities for sustainable improvements and you don’t know where to start. BEST business consultants looked at our parking lot and saw immediate potential for stormwater reduction – something we never would have thought of on our own.”   

While BEST consultants helped Hari create a sustainability plan, the Green Features Grants program makes implementation possible by allowing the motel to invest in new sustainable technologies and make big changes.

“The BEST Business Center promotes sustainability across all industries, not just in businesses we typically associate with green practices,” says BEST Business Consultant Genevieve Joplin. “By making the Viking Motel a leader in sustainable practices, the Karias can impact other small businesses while gaining community recognition and reaching new clients.”  

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