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Planning and Sustainability

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BPS News: Portland recognizes seven local business leaders at the 20th annual BEST Awards

Award winners build on two decades of groundbreaking sustainable business innovations


April 25, 2012


Jocelyn Boudreaux
Megan Stein

City of Portland recognizes seven local business leaders at the 20th annual BEST Awards

Award winners build on two decades of groundbreaking sustainable business innovations

Portland, Ore. -- Portland's top awards for business sustainability were revealed today at the Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards presented by Sustainability at Work, a program of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the BEST Awards, which recognize businesses demonstrating a commitment to excellence in sustainable business practices.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams presented the awards at the ceremony held on Wednesday, April 25 at the The Nines Hotel. Introduced by Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson, the keynote addresses featured reflections from three local leaders about the past, present and future of Portland’s sustainable business efforts: Nik Blosser of Celilo Group Media, Aneshka Colas-Dickson of Colas Construction and Renee Spears of Rose City Mortgage.
“In producing the Portland Plan, which was adopted by City Council just today, we learned something important: that prosperity, education, health and equity are all interconnected. The businesses honored tonight are a model for how sustainable innovation can improve our city in each of these areas. These businesses are one of the reasons Portland is among the most sustainable cities in the world,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “It has been 20 years since the city began recognizing the very best of our sustainable businesses, and it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come in creating an environment where companies that embrace social and environmental sustainability can truly thrive and prosper.”
The winners of the 20th annual BEST Awards are listed by category, along with a link to a video highlighting their sustainable practices, below: 

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Large companies

Purdy, the Portland paintbrush and roller manufacturer, is dedicated to being a zero-waste-to-landfill facility under the enthusiastic leadership of their “Green Machine” team and offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) training for their employees.

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Medium companies

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance sited their new office close to the bus mall and offers transit benefits to encourage alternative transportation. Employees also use a carbon tracking platform for travel, commuting and various office practices to help measure and reduce their carbon footprint.

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Small companies

Capital Pacific Bank provides financial services to underserved local businesses and nonprofits, and boasts an impassioned green team that got the entire company excited about sustainability, both in their own operations, and in the businesses they choose to work with.

BEST Practices for Sustainability – Very small companies

FMYI [for my innovation] has a triple-bottom-line business model, helps their clients become more sustainable, and goes above and beyond to support employees and the community. FMYI minimizes travel emissions by offering 100% subsidized Trimet passes and Zipcar memberships, and by meeting with clients in a virtual space -- which has reduced corporate travel by over 40%.

Sustainable Food Systems

NatureBake (Oregon Grains bread) partners with local farmers and food producers to create bread made almost entirely from ingredients sourced within 100 miles. Almost no waste is generated in production, with dedicated staff to facilitate food donation and a contract with an animal feed company to divert food scraps from the landfill.

Sustainable Products or Services (Two winners)

GO Box solves the problem of disposable food cart and take-out containers by providing bike-delivered reusable containers for food cart vendors and customers.
Sustainable Northwest Wood partners with local growers and mills, providing the building community with a steady supply of local, sustainable wood.
For more information about the awards program and the winners:

The Future of the BEST Awards

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is excited to announce a new partnership with the Portland Business Journal (PBJ) and Sustainable Business Oregon (SBO). The SBO annual business innovation competition and awards will take the place of the BEST Awards and will be jointly presented by the City and PBJ.

This partnership between a strong local publication and the City’s expertise in working with sustainable businesses will offer increased visibility for sustainable businesses and extend the City’s reach to a larger business community.

About Sustainability at Work

Sustainability at Work offers free tools and expertise to help Portland organizations create more sustainable workplaces. Get matched with an expert Advisor, who will help you create a customized plan, connect you to financial incentives and technical assistance from local partners, and help you celebrate your achievements. As a result, your business can lower the cost of its utility bills, provide a healthier workspace for employees and improve its image. Sustainability at Work is a partnership of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Bureau of Transportation, Metro, Pacific Power and Energy Trust of Oregon.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS)

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland's diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland's position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.

Portland City Council unanimously adopts the Portland Plan

Commissioners celebrate the city's road map for the next 25 years

Portland’s City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Portland Plan on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. The vote followed the previous week’s public hearing on the plan, at which dozens of partners and community members expressed commitment to this long-range plan to ensure Portland is prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable from now until 2035.

The Portland Plan presents a strategic roadmap to help our city thrive into the future. The result of more than two years of research, dozens of workshops and fairs, hundreds of meetings with community groups, and 20,000 comments from residents, businesses and nonprofits, the plan’s three integrated strategies and framework for advancing equity were designed to help achieve the plan’s goals.

Developed in response to some of Portland’s most pressing challenges, including income disparities, high unemployment, a low high school graduation rate and environmental concerns, the Portland Plan is practical, measured and strategic.

Portland is becoming a more racially, ethnically and age-diverse city, and nearly 40 percent of Portland’s youth are people of color. But not all Portlanders have equitable access to opportunities to achieve their full potential. Greater equity in the city as a whole is essential to our long-term success.

The Portland Plan strategies focus on Thriving Educated Youth, Economic Prosperity and Affordability, and Healthy Connected City. Each strategy contains policies and five-year actions that will help us reach our goals, with special emphasis placed on those disparities related to race and ability.

“We need plans based less on politics and more on the facts,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “Portland is known for being a well-planned city, but the things we love about our city are not available to all. In a resource-constrained world, the Portland Plan recognizes that single actions must produce multiple benefits. This plan provides a framework for public agencies to maximize fiscal leverage and impact by aligning priorities and the budgets that support them.”

Collectively, the public agencies that operate within the City of Portland spend more than $8 billion annually. The Portland Plan challenges the City and its more than 20 agency partners (including Multnomah County, school districts, Metro, TriMet and others) to break down traditional bureaucratic silos and be innovative with new budget approaches.


The following are some examples from the five-year action plan:

  • Ensure Portland youth achieve educational success and self-sufficiency through the Cradle to Career initiative, and track youth outcomes from early childhood to early adulthood.

  • Create a neighborhood greenways network by completing 75 miles of new facilities, connecting every quadrant of the city to the Willamette River, creating bike connections to and from neighborhood hubs in southwest and East Portland, and developing a North Portland Neighborhood Greenway from Pier Park to Interstate Avenue.

  • Evaluate equity impacts through building regular assessment into the City’s budget, program and project list development for public services and community development programs, focusing on disparities that communities of color and other marginalized populations face.

  • Develop or update joint-use agreements between Portland Parks and Recreation and all local school districts, exploring coordinated operations, grounds management and shared facilities, particularly in areas underserved by community centers.

  • Evaluate and mitigate the cumulative impact of City fees, including Systems Development Charges, on location and growth decisions of businesses, especially for businesses seeking flexible and lower cost Central City space.

  • Support and expand community-based crime prevention efforts and work to improve communication and understanding between police and the community.


The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) led the development of the plan with extensive input from nine Technical Advisory Groups, public and nonprofit agencies, the business community and thousands of Portland residents. With a broader focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability, BPS provides the resources for problem-solving in a more integrated fashion with a broader set of tools beyond the comprehensive plan and zoning code.

“City staff researched plans from around the world — from Sydney, Australia to Copenhagen, Denmark and Denver, Colo. to New York City — to determine best practices and gather inspiration for the Portland Plan,” stated BPS Director Susan Anderson. “There’s no other city that is planning for change in quite the same way, with so many partners in alignment and ready to collaborate to reach our common goals.”

Read the Portland Plan – Recommended Draft

Watch the Portland Plan video

Portlanders' Access to Affordable, Healthful Food Improved by Changes to Regulations

City Council public hearing on Zoning Code amendments scheduled for June 7 at 2 p.m.

A proposal to improve access to affordable, healthful food for all Portlanders -- especially those with limited access -- will be discussed by City Council on June 7 at 2 p.m. The recommended draft of the Urban Food Zoning Code Update project supports neighborhood-scale community gardens, market gardens, farmers markets, food buying clubs and community supported agriculture (CSAs).  

Funding from Multnomah County’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) Initiative supported this unique and valuable partnership between the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI) to make affordable, healthful food accessible to all Portlanders, especially those in underserved communities.  
City Council Public Hearing on the
Urban Food Zoning Code Update – Recommended Draft
June 7 at 2 p.m.
The Portland Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium
1120 SW 5th Ave (across from City Hall)
Recommended Amendments
The new regulations are clear and provide flexibility, while protecting the surrounding neighborhoods from potential negative impacts.

  • Market Gardens (produce is grown for sale). Currently, market gardens are only allowed in a few zones (employment, open space, and very low density residential zones). The recommended amendments allow them in all zones (with size limits in residential zones) and include regulations that address neighborhood livability.
  • Community Gardens (produce is grown for personal consumption or donation). Currently, community gardens are allowed in all zones. The recommended amendments continue to allow them in all zones and add regulations that address neighborhood livability.
  • Food Membership Distribution Sites. Currently, the zoning code is unclear how to regulate the pick-up sites for food buying clubs and community supported agriculture (CSA) organizations. The recommended amendments allow food membership distribution sites in all zones and include regulations that address neighborhood livability. 
  • Farmers Markets. Currently, farmers markets are regulated as temporary uses and these regulations can be confusing and expensive. The recommended amendments add regulations specifically for farmers markets that address location, frequency, number of "non-farmer" vendors and when markets may set up on parking lots.

How can I review this proposal?
Get a copy of the report. The Urban Food Zoning Code Update – Recommended Draft is available on the project website at You can pick up a copy at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 1900 SW 4th Avenue, 7th Floor. To have a copy mailed to you, please call 503-823-7700.

How can I comment on this proposal?
Testify at the City Council hearing. Due to maintenance in Council Chambers, the hearing on Thursday, June 7 at 2:00 p.m. will be held in the Portland Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 1120 SW 5th Avenue, across the street from City Hall.
Write to City Council. Mail written testimony to the Council Clerk at 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 140, Portland, OR 97204, or FAX comments to 503-823-4571. Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.
The City of Portland is committed to providing equal access to information. If you need accommodation, please contact us by phone 503-823-7700, by the city’s TTY at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

Airport Community Advisory Committee Focuses on Port of Portland Strategic Plan

Advisory Committee meets on June 7; public invited to attend and comment

BPS News

June 4, 2012


Kama Simonds


Airport Community Advisory Committee Focuses on Port of Portland Strategic Plan

The Portland International Airport Community Advisory Committee will meet from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7 at the Port of Portland Headquarters, 7200 NE Airport Way, eighth floor Chinook Conference Room. The public is invited and public comment is welcome.

Highlights of the agenda will include an overview of the Port strategic plan, and the PDX business plan, capital program and public involvement program. The agenda will include an update on airport business, construction, long-range planning and sustainability by Port Chief Operating Officer Vince Granato. A full agenda is available at

The 30-member advisory committee is an outgrowth of the Airport Futures planning process – a three-year planning process which created a long-range plan for PDX. The committee is charged with providing meaningful input on airport-related planning and development, and overseeing the implementation of Airport Futures. The committee is sponsored by three entities: City of Portland, Port of Portland and City of Vancouver. The group meets quarterly. 

Pivotal Leaders group honors Susan Anderson

BPS E-News Issue 17-June 2012

The Pivotal Leaders network recently named BPS Director Susan Anderson to their list of 2012's top Northwest cleantech leaders. Every year, Pivotal Leaders honors and connects the Northwest’s most innovative and talented cleantech executives.

This peer-selected list of leaders helps the Northwest region build on its strong ethos of innovation around resources and sustainability, creating more jobs and new companies. The end goal is to make this region an international leader in the rapidly growing cleantech economy. Cleantech includes a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and waste.

Other 2012 leaders include Margi Hoffmann, Office of Governor John Kitzhaber, Sam Pardue, Indow Windows and Rachel Shimshak, Renewable Northwest Project. Please join us in congratulating Susan Anderson for this recognition.  See the complete 2012 list of honorees and read more details about the Pivotal Leaders effort at .