More Planning and Sustainability News: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/28534
Congressman Calls on Mayor, Other Leaders Discuss Transportation Issues
TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday joined some of the most influential leaders in transportation for in-depth discussion of funding streets, roads and highways at U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s “Forum on the Future of America’s Transportation Infrastructure.”
“Portland is in competition with other cities for quality of place — and other cities are being more aggressive, improving their streets, sidewalks, bikeways and public transportation,” Hales said. “When 40 percent of our streets are in ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ condition, we need to do something.”
Blumenauer organized the forum to discuss federal, state, regional and city transportation funding issues, and to brainstorm ways to pay for transportation infrastructure outside of federal funding. Leaders also discussed “climate smart” transportation planning, emphasizing sustainable modes of transportation that also reduce wear and tear on roadways.
Ultimately, leaders said, transportation improvements boil down to more revenue. Representatives from trucking and associated industries supported higher taxes to pay for infrastructure, which would benefit their industries in the long run. Likewise, Hales said, Portlanders and Oregonians paying for their streets and sidewalks today will have long-term payoffs.
“Right now we call our highways in this country ‘freeways,’” Hales said. “That’s unrealistic. We’re going to have to get used to paying as we go. It’s taking care of the infrastructure we have and investing in long-term growth.”
In other parts of the country, sales tax and highway tolls pay for transportation and other needs. With the federal Highway Trust Fund stagnant at 1993 funding levels and inadequate state gas tax revenue, Hales said, eventually that also will be Oregon’s reality.
“We’ve gotten used to a state of affairs that can’t last,” he said.
The street fee proposed by Hales and Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick would raise the revenue for pavement maintenance, safe routes to schools, building sidewalks, improving crosswalks, and building protected bike lanes.
“It’s a clumsy method to raise revenue,” Hales said. “I’m open to other ideas that can raise the $53 million we need for streets. But so far, there hasn’t been a viable alternative.
“Streets are only getting worse. There are unpaved gravel roads in the city limits,” he added. “Potholes are driving neighborhoods crazy. Kids in some neighborhoods don’t have proper sidewalks or crosswalks. We need revenue to address these problems.”
Mayor Hales Talks Sustainability, Equity with Indianapolis Mayor Ballard
FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014 — Government has a responsibility to make sustainability a meaningful reality for its citizens, Mayor Charlie Hales said Thursday at a sustainability forum, joined by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
“The challenge for leaders is to connect people’s love of place with the arcane work of government,” Hales said. “In Portland, we have an exceptional parks system and a culture of sustainability. But it’s up to city government to make sure infrastructure matches that culture.”
Emerging Local Government Leaders, an organization that builds networks among local governments, hosted the forum. Ballard joined Hales Thursday for the Suzhou Sister City Gala at Lan Su Chinese Garden in Northwest Portland, and on Friday for a bike ride around Portland with 170 policymakers.
Hales has encouraged the sustainable Portland lifestyle through transportation and equity. The mayor preserved funding for Sunday Parkways, which closes streets so families can bike around their neighborhoods, through the $21.5 million budget cutting process of 2013. The North Portland Greenway Trail for biking and walking is in the works, supported by the $150 million Daimler Trucks expansion on Swan Island. The mayor’s focus on light rail has expanded sustainable methods of public transportation in the city. A proposed street fee to pay for street and sidewalk improvements would make commuting safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Ultimately, Hales said, government’s role in sustainable living comes down to the, “orange juice test: Can your kids quickly and safely get to the store to buy orange juice?
“Every Portland resident should be able to buy local, healthy food in their neighborhood,” Hales said. “We want every kid in Portland to be able to walk or bike to school.”
The Healthy Connected City strategy, part of the 2012 Portland Plan, a 25-year plan to improve the city, juxtaposes neighborhood equity — making sure every neighborhood has access to healthy environments and opportunities — and sustainability projects, such as reducing carbon emissions below 1990s levels and planting trees over one-third of the city.
“Sustainability can also be about economic uplift,” Hales said. “We as leaders can work to eliminate inequity among our neighborhoods while saving the planet.”
Mayor Hales Touts Portland Transportation Issues to Nation’s Mayors
FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014 – Portland’s innovative transportation policies were highlighted in the July edition of U.S. Mayor, a publication of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Hales attended the June mayoral conference in Dallas, Texas. He serves as vice chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee for the nationwide association.
While in Dallas, he discussed the metro region’s bus service, light rail, street car, walkability, bridges dedicated to non-automobile transportation and thriving bike culture.
“We’re just trying to be the best European city in the U.S.,” he said.
The conversation included metro-area bridges dedicated to bicycles, pedestrians and mass transit options, which few other cities in America have. He told the crowd that the Hawthorne Bridge carries more than 8,000 cyclists and 800 TriMet buses per day.
Municipal planning needs to drive transportation planning, Hales has said, and not the other-way-around. He called community involvement the “critical first step” in planning for both.
“It’s important to view (transportation) projects as placemaking,” Hales said. “And not just ‘plumbing.’”
Mayors in Dallas Back President's Climate Action Plan
MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014 – Mayors from throughout the United States gathered in Dallas, Texas, this past weekend for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. While there, mayors were asked to sign onto President Obama’s 2014 Climate Protection Agreement.
“Portland has had a Climate Action Plan since 2009, so of course I was excited to sign onto this,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Addressing climate change is one of the moral imperatives of our era.”
The agreement came from the president’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration, spoke at the conference. McCarthy toured Portland two weeks earlier, meeting with Hales and Congressman Earl Blumenauer to discuss cleanup of the Willamette River Superfund site.
Also on hand in Dallas were White House Intergovernmental Affairs Director David Agnew, and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Portland Makes Short List of Global Cities Fighting Climate Change
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2014 – The City of Portland has made the C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards’ short list for its Healthy Connected City strategy, which judges called “an outstanding example of innovation, producing a significant impact on your city’s sustainability performance.”
C40 is a global network of cities working to take sustainable action on climate change.
The Healthy Connected City strategy is part of the 2012 Portland Plan, a 25-year proposal to improve the city. The strategy juxtaposes neighborhood equity and sustainability projects, such as reducing carbon emissions below 1990s levels and planting trees over one-third of the city, and aims to bring “complete neighborhoods” — with equitable access to healthy environments and opportunities — to 80 percent of the city’s population by 2035.
“This is about economic uplift for those who’ve been left behind, as well as ecological improvement and saving the planet,” Mayor Charlie Hales told C40. “Who can argue, if we can accomplish all those accomplishments at once?”
Mayor Hales in February attended C40’s Mayors Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss sustainable planning and infrastructure and climate issues with mayors from around the world. Incidentally, it was snowing in Portland during this year’s summit.
Portland is a contender in the Sustainable Communities category. Last year’s winner was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for its urban revitalization strategy. C40 will announce winners in mid-July.
Apply for the Youth Position on the Planning and Sustainability Commission
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12, 2014 – The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission has a vacancy and coordinators are looking to fill the role with a youth.
Ideally, someone age 18 to 25 would be added to the commission.
“To continue to increase the diversity of the commission, one position will be filled by a younger community member,” Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said. “So we’re seeking someone who is enthusiastic about innovative urban solutions, new technologies, community building and efforts to makePortlanda thriving, livable city for all.”
Green Roof Leader Named to President’s Council
MONDAY, SEPT. 23, 2013 – Vanessa Keitges, chief executive officer of Columbia Green Technologies in Oregon, last week was one of seven new members appointed to President Obama’s Export Council.
Columbia Green is a green roof development company whose technologies are based in vegetative roofs and sustainable functions that help manage water runoff and energy usage.
Keitges is President and CEO of Columbia Green Technologies, a position she has held since 2008. From 2005 to 2007, she was sales director at Site9 in Portland. She has held various positions at VoteHere Ltd., including European business development manager. She currently serves on the Oregon Zoo Wildlife Board.
Keitges received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Oregon State University.
She is one of seven people appointed by the Obama administration to the Export Council.
“This is great news,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Oregon is a leader in green thinking, when it comes to design and construction. I’m proud that the president reached out to a local Portlander for her expertise and advocacy in this issue.”
President Obama said, “I am proud that such experienced individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles and I look forward to working with them to boost exports, increase competitiveness, and help our businesses grow. As we recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our top priority must be rebuilding an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead and I’m confident these well-qualified individuals will help us do just that.”
Repairs Begin on Springwater Corridor Trail
MONDAY, SEPT. 9, 2013 – Work will begin at the end of September to repair a section of Portland Parks & Recreation Springwater Corridor Trail, about a mile south of the Ross Island Bridge, which was damaged by erosion.
Beginning at the end of September – on a date to be determined – and lasting through the month of October, a portion of the trail between milepost 1.5 and milepost 1.75 will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Monday through Friday. There will be no public access to that section of trail during these construction hours.
Many people use the trail for commuting and recreation. The trail will be open for use before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. on weekdays, as well as on weekends. Walkers, runners and cyclists should continue to use caution through the construction area.
Portland Parks & Recreation has been working on the erosion repair solution and trail restoration project since it became a problem due to unusually hard, prolonged rain and high river water in March 2012. The goal is to stabilize the slide and make the trail fully operational again, while taking steps to protect the riverbank. And to ensure that the bottom of the riverbank does not wash out once again.
The estimated total project cost is $650,000. Special thanks to Metro, which is contributing a matching grant of up to $400,000 towards the project. The City of Portland will cover the remaining costs, and has retained GeoStabilization International as the contractor for the project.
Innovation in Sustainability Awards: Nominations Now Open
MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013 – Sustainable Business Oregon’s Innovation in Sustainability Awards highlight the most brilliant and innovative approaches to organizational sustainability in Oregon. Now in its fifth year, the awards honor breakthrough ideas and technologies across seven primary focus areas: energy, equity, food, natural environment, transportation, waste and water.
Nomination and judging for the Innovation in Sustainability Awards are supported by Sustainability at Work, a program from the City of Portland, together with Metro, the Energy Trust of Oregon and Pacific Power.
Nominate a business, advocacy group or individual from Oregon or Soutwhest Washington for their sustainable business work: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/nomination/55201. Nominations close on Aug. 30.
More information about the awards
Awards will be flexible; one recipient can be recognized for innovation across multiple focus areas. Nominees are asked to share measurable results for each area they apply in. Sustainability at Work partners will have an opportunity to review nominations for achievements in their focus area and provide their recommendations to SBO for the award, and will be recognized at the event for contributing their time and expertise to the process.
Column: Portland’s trailblazing Climate Action Plan
By Susan Anderson, Director, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Because of its amazing natural resources, Portland, Oregon, USA, has worked for several generations to bring together what in many other places are often seen as competing goals – an economically prosperous community and a healthy environment. The progress in the last 20 years proves that this can be done.
Portland has been a national leader in the USA on urban policies and investments that have resulted in a prosperous, healthy and more resilient city. Often called the most sustainable city in America,Portland’s brand is both emulated by other cities and parodied on television in “Portlandia.” New urbanism, transit-oriented development, green building and sustainability practices were common tools in the city long before they had garnered much attention elsewhere.
Much of the work began in the 1970s and ’80s. As many American cities pursued an approach of expanding freeway networks and creating sprawl, Portland took a different path and focused inward. An Urban Growth Boundary was established for the metropolitan area to protect surrounding agricultural land and forests. Federal funding for a new freeway was redirected to one of the first modern light rail lines. This was built out over the years into a 52-mile light rail system connecting through downtown and the metro area, and a 15-mile streetcar (tram) system.
Much of the early focus was on building the community. The interstate highway was moved from along the Willamette River and replaced with Waterfront Park, bringing the community together instead of bisecting it with an impassable freeway. A downtown parking structure was torn down and replaced with a more European public plaza, Pioneer Square, often called Portland’s living room.
At the same time, a comprehensive plan was completed to balance and integrate goals such as economic development, housing, water and air quality, transport, parks and urban forests, and resource efficiency. The oil crisis of the mid and late 1970s spurred the development of the first local energy plan in the USA, which included specific actions to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power.
In the 1990s and 2000s, many new efforts were begun that focused on sustainable building, energy and water efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, bicycle infrastructure, solar and wind power, storm water management, and creating walkable 20-minute neighborhoods.