Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Projects

BPS E-News Issue 15 - January

Residents of the Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland are witnessing a neighborhood in transition — and getting the chance to create positive change in their community. Through the Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Projects, residents are helping the City meet the needs of residents in the community by enhancing local services and amenities and improving sidewalks, streets and bikeways. The project will increase much-needed neighborhood–serving retail and services in the Cully Boulevard main street area and include a local street plan to increase street connectivity, as well as develop new designs and funding options for improving local streets and prioritizing improvements.

With input from the community, staff will recommend select zoning changes along Cully Boulevard and the Killingsworth Street area. Staff will share proposed solutions with the public at an open house in early March (check website for exact date and time). A staff report with recommendations to the Planning and Sustainability Commission is scheduled to be reviewed in early spring 2012, and a revised proposal will then go to City Council for final action at public hearings in late spring 2012.

To view project information visit For more information regarding the project overall and the main street component, contact Debbie Bischoff, senior planner, at or 503.823.6946. For information on the local street plan work, contact Denver Igarta, transportation planner, at or 503.823.1088.


Urban Food Zoning Code Update sets the table

BPS E-News Issue 15 - January

There’s no doubt Portlanders love their food. So much so that we want more opportunities to grow our own, shop at farmers markets and purchase fresh local produce from community supported agriculture boxes.

In just a few weeks, the Urban Food Zoning Code Update project will release a discussion draft of changes to the City’s Zoning Code that will affect the way that food can be grown and distributed in Portland — particularly in our neighborhoods. The proposals support activities such as community gardens, farmers markets and food buying clubs at a scale that is appropriate to neighborhoods and helps build community.

The Code Development Advisory Group (CDAG), composed of 18 community members with a variety of interests, perspectives and experiences around urban food production and distribution, has been working closely with project staff to help develop the code proposals. For more information about the membership and work of the CDAG visit

The discussion draft will be published in early February with a public comment period extending into early March. For more information or a copy of the discussion draft, please contact Julia Gisler at or 503-823-7624 or Steve Cohen at or 503-823-4225. Find out ways that you can participate at


Sustainability at Work business profile: Meet Bamboo Sushi, 2011 BEST award winner

BPS E-News Issue 15 - January

BEST logoIn partnership with the world’s leading marine conservation organizations, Bamboo Sushi is proud to be the first certified sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. Born out of a desire to change the existing business paradigm that says altruism and profitability are mutually exclusive, Bamboo Sushi employs business practices that serve to achieve greater social equity and support the local economy, while ensuring the highest possible standard of environmental sustainability.

Learn more about Bamboo Sushi at

Apply to be a 2012 BEST Award Winner!

Like Bamboo Sushi, does your business have practices, products or services that exemplify social, environmental and economic sustainability?

Download your application at Deadline to apply is February 10. Winners will be announced at the 20th Annual BEST Awards on April 25, 2012. In addition to on-stage recognition, winners will be featured prominently at the event and on our website.

Mark your calendars now for this must-attend event!


Neighbors, local businesses and PSU students provide input on SE 122nd Avenue Corridor rezone project

BPS E-News Issue 15 - January

For many years, East Portland residents have advocated for more local businesses along SE 122nd Avenue and better multi-family residential design in the area. So during the fall and winter of 2011, BPS staff met with a neighborhood-based advisory group, hosted neighborhood walks and reviewed existing economic and land use data about rezoning SE 122nd Avenue to better meet community and resident needs. The SE 122nd Avenue Corridor Rezone Project team also received ideas on how to improve the area from students of Portland State University Professor B.D. Wortham-Galvin’s Fall Architectural Studio class.

Together residents, students, staff and members of the business community are working to generate more small-scale commercial activity along the SE 122nd Ave corridor, provide more opportunities for “cottage commercial” uses, and improve the design and location of multi-family residential development within the study area.

The SE 122nd Avenue Corridor Rezone Project will implement portions of the community-led SE 122nd Avenue Pilot Study, an offshoot of the East Portland Action Plan.

Project Advisory Group helps guide the process

Staff have been guided in their efforts to update the zoning map and recommend changes to the zoning ordinance by a Project Advisory Group (PAG) made up of roughly a dozen members of the business and neighborhood communities invested in the SE 122nd Ave area. Three PAG meetings have been held in the Leander Court community room, where members gave their input to staff, raised concerns and suggested ideas for improving the neighborhood. In the upcoming months a draft list of property rezonings will be refined and recommendations for code language amendments will be presented that accomplish the objectives generated by the PAG.
The next Project Advisory Group meeting will be Jan. 26, 2012. An open house for the general public is scheduled for February 23rd, with representatives of the Portland Development Commission and the Bureau of Transportation helping to facilitate. Portlanders will have a chance to learn more about the project and give feedback on the code amendments at this time. After final input from the public and other stakeholders and refinement of the code language in early spring, a final package of rezoning and text amendment recommendations will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission for their consideration and to City Council for adoption in July.

For more information on this project or about the upcoming open house, please visit the project website. You may also contact Chris Scarzello at or 503-823-7716; or John Cole at or 503-823-3475.


Q&A with the Regional Green Building Hotline

BPS E-News Issue 15 - January

Ever wonder about simple ways to make your home more energy efficient or wanted guidance navigating legislation
and permits?  Our Regional Green Building Hotline staff are standing by with answers.  Check out a few of our most
frequently asked questions below.

Have a question for the Regional Green Building Hotline? 

Call 503-823-5431 or e-mail us. The Regional Green Building Hotline is a free service from the City of Portland, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties.

Q:  Can you tell me about the new light bulb legislation starting in January 2012?

A: This new federal legislation increases the efficiency of all bulbs by at least 25 percent. You can still buy incandescent bulbs. Home lighting makes up around 11 percent of a home’s total monthly energy bill.  Higher bulb efficiencies will begin phasing in 2012 to 2014, increasing again in 2020. Specialty bulbs such as plant bulbs, three-way, appliance, colored bulbs are excluded.  With the legislation, new product labeling allows customers to shop for bulbs based on visible light (lumens) rather than watts (power).

More efficient bulbs mean that homeowners will replace bulbs less often, save on their energy bills and generate more light and less heat from bulbs.  For most, light bulbs are an easy change with a big impact –- no large investment or planning is required and bulbs can be replaced room-by-room.  

Compact fluorescents (CFLs) offer consumers a range of color temperature -- from warm white (like incandescents) to cool white (similar to many office/school fluorescents) to daylight color (blue hue). With new CFLs and light emitting diodes (LEDs) the bulbs light up to full brightness quickly, stay cool to the touch and last much longer than incandescents (offsetting higher up-front costs).  A few dimmable CFLs and LEDs are currently on the market.  Burned-out and broken CFLs must be disposed of properly as they contain a small amount of mercury and cannot go into the trash (neither incandescents nor LEDs contain mercury).  Look for ENERGY STAR labeled products.

Q:  I want to build a “granny flat” in my back yard, so where do I start?

A:  Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and space-efficient dwellings, sometimes called granny flats, are recognized by ADU Examplethe City of Portland as providing an affordable, low impact solution to increase density. Through July 2013, the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services system development charges (SDCs) are waived resulting in potential savings of $7,000 to $12,000 in building permit fees for these small units. is a great local site to start your research.  Space-efficient dwellings and ADU’s can provide rental income and allow for changing household sizes over time.  These dwellings have a low impact on existing city infrastructure, are affordable to build and maintain and are constructed using few building materials.  Check the City of Portland Sustainability Calendar for ADU workshops.

Q:  Can I use graywater to irrigate my garden?

A:  Yes, now you can. In Oregon, graywater is drain water from utility, bath and kitchen sinks (not the garbage graywater reusedisposal), showers/tubs and clothes washers. Drain water from dishwashers and toilets (black water) is not included.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will start accepting permit applications for graywater garden irrigation in Spring 2012.  There are three permit tiers.  Most residential systems will fall under Tier I –- less than 300 gallons/day with a physical filtering process and sub-surface irrigation only.  The permit will cost $90.00.  The next two tiers are for larger gray water volumes and include chemical and disinfectant processes and fees are significantly higher.  Local jurisdiction plumbing permits are required. This document has more information.

Q:  How can I find out more about green building and sustainability, perhaps leading to a job?

A:  The City of Portland Sustainability Calendar is full of City and community trainings, tours, workshops, conferences, open houses and events – many of which are free.  Postings are accepted from many organizations in addition to City

The non-profit Center for Earth Leadership has a stimulating, free six week course called Agent of Change In Your
Circle of Influence
where you can meet fellow sustainability enthusiasts, listen to guest speakers and get involved with
community projects.

A useful local guide available specifically for our region is the “Portland Green Guide to Networking and Jobs.”  Written by career counselors, it lists local organizations in environmental and sustainability-related fields, resume and interview best practices, how to research job opportunities, what employers are looking for, targeted volunteering and profiles of successful candidates.

The long-standing local networking group Portland Green Drinks meets the first Tuesday evening of every month at Ecotrust, 721 NW Ninth Avenue, Portland.  Listen to diverse guest presenters and mingle in a relaxed atmosphere.Contact anyone you know in the industry for a short informational interview. Many professionals are amenable to sharing some time to meet with you.  When you meet, ask the contact for more referrals.