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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Portland business and government leaders speak up about bold climate leadership

Produced by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, a new video features Portland’s climate action leaders whose vision has contributed to a notable achievement, according to BPS Director, Susan Anderson.

“Total carbon emissions in the U.S. are up 7 percent since 1990. Here, in Portland and Multnomah County, we’ve cut total emissions by 14 percent, with 30 percent more people and over 75,000 more jobs. Clearly we are headed in a different direction," said Anderson. “The investments that have helped us cut energy use and reduce carbon emissions are the same things that make people want to live here: Creating walkable neighborhoods with shopping, restaurants and parks; investing in transit and bike facilities; and making our homes and buildings more efficient and comfortable.”

The draft 2015 Climate Action Plan --now out for public comment before consideration by Portland City Council in June -- builds on Portland’s 20+ year legacy of climate action and provides a roadmap for the community to achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

In 1993, Portland was the first U.S. city to create a local action plan for cutting carbon. The 2015 draft plan builds on the accomplishments to date with ambitious new policies, fresh research on consumption choices and engagement with community leaders serving low-income households and communities of color to advance equity through the City and County’s climate action efforts. Following community input and revisions, the draft plan will be considered for adoption by the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission, Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and the Portland City Council in June 2015.

As global leaders grapple with the concerns and opportunities the changing climate presents, Portland has become an international destination for planners and decision-makers seeking proven strategies for climate action. Since 2010, more than 160 delegations from around the world have come to Portland to speak with business and government leaders to understand how Portland has lowered emissions while welcoming growth and creating a more livable community. Portland and Multnomah County now have 12,000 clean tech jobs, an increase of 25 percent in the last 15 years.

Watch Portland’s climate action leaders talk about bold policy, benefits and the road ahead.

Download a copy or individual chapters of the draft 2015 Climate Action Plan at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/climate


Planning and Sustainability Commission Approves Terminal 6 Environmental Zoning Code and Map Amendments

Pembina’s proposal to transport propane through Portland moves on to City Council; carbon fund established to offset effects of greenhouse gas emissions

On Tuesday, April 7, after a six-hour meeting (including four hours of testimony), Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission voted 6 to 4 in favor of recommending zoning code and map amendments to City Council that would accommodate Pembina’s proposal for a propane export facility at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6.

The Zoning Code and Map amendments included:

  1. Amend the Environmental Overlay Zone to allow for the transport of propane through a pipe across an environmental overlay zone on sites zoned Heavy Industrial and only when the transporting is part of a river-dependent industrial use.
  2. Amend the zoning map to extend the existing environmental conservation overlay zone boundary to some of the currently unprotected significant natural resources identified in the adopted 2012 Citywide Natural Resources Inventory.
  3. Adopt a City-Port intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to address other issues not covered by the Zoning Code.

Intergovernmental Agreement
The IGA Framework covers a wide range of issues. It formally documents many of the commitments made by Calgary-based Pembina and the Port of Portland during the PSC hearings process. Some of the proposed terms address policy issues related to Portland’s Climate Action Plan; others address safety and community relations.

The key terms of the IGA include:

Community Advisory Committee (CAC): Provide a public forum to address operational issues that may affect the surrounding community, i.e. noise, lighting and other nuisance issues.

Safety: Ensure the Port and Pembina implement all of the safety measures, including providing the Portland Bureau of Fire and Rescue with the specialized equipment or training necessary to respond to an incident at the facility.

Onsite Energy Use: Require the facility meets 100 percent of its energy needs for onsite operations from Oregon renewable energy sources.

Grassland Habitat Mitigation: Ensure that the features and functions of the grassland special habitat area affected by the facility are fully replaced.

Environmental Impact Mitigation: Pembina to contribute $6.2 million annually to the Portland Carbon Fund to offset the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the propane itself. The fund will be used for projects that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy and sequester carbon.

Liability: Provide insurance and other financial assurances to cover damages from a catastrophic event.

Much of the public testimony and discussion was about safety. Prior to the hearing, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability provided extensive information to the PSC about safety, including detailed reports from technical experts. The City hired an independent consultant (Arkana) to evaluate Pembina's Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) performed by DNV GL, a Norwegian company that specializes in safety reviews for the world gas and oil industry. The final analysis put the odds of an injury to the nearest residents at about one every 10 million years. These and other documents from the April 7 meeting are posted on the PSC website.

Portland Carbon Fund
To account for carbon emissions from the propane, the PSC recommended an annual carbon mitigation contribution of $6.2 million/year to the City. This amount is estimated based on the life cycle of GHG emissions from the exported propane, including the processing, transport and end use of the fuel. These emissions have been discounted to account for some use of the propane in plastics manufacturing and as a transition fuel that will displace dirtier sources of fuel, such as coal and fuel oil.

Pembina’s contribution will be based on the market price for GHG emissions (roughly $6.77/metric ton CO2-equivalent or roughly a penny per gallon) in Europe, which has one of the most well-established trading programs in the world. If propane exports become subject to a carbon fee or pricing mechanism, the contribution will be re-evaluated.

The Portland Carbon Fund will be a separate fund administered by the City of Portland with oversight from an advisory board, much in the same way the City’s Children’s Levy is administered. This fund is different from the Community Investment Fund announced by Pembina and will fund projects across the city that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy, and sequester carbon.

Next Steps
With the PSC vote, the amendments and IGA move onto to City Council for another public hearing and a vote, tentatively scheduled for April 30 (time TBD). Check the Council agenda page about a week before to confirm the date and time.

For a recap of the April 7 public hearing and vote, please visit the PSC news feed

Portland City Council approves new goals for Sustainable City Government operations

City bureaus model sustainable principles and practices and save long-term operating costs

Portland City Council approved a new set of Sustainable City Government Principles and an update to the Green Building Policy for City Facilities. Together, these resolutions will guide city bureaus to implement long-term operational efficiencies with a focus on sustainable approaches.

“City bureaus have a long track record of sustainability, but it’s important that we periodically revisit our policies and goals, and push ourselves to continue to look for innovative solutions,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Council passed a resolution to update the City’s green building requirements for facilities that the City owns and manages. Building green reflects the City’s commitment to saving natural resources, while creating healthy spaces for workers and visitors. It also helps the City save money on energy, water, waste and stormwater management.

“From solar installations to recycling to energy efficiency lighting — all City of Portland bureaus are making government operations more cost and resource efficient,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Cities from around the world look to Portland as a leader. Local residents and businesses have invested in resource efficiency, and it's essential that City bureaus walk the talk, too."

The City owns and operates hundreds of buildings, tens of thousands of streetlights and traffic signals and several large-scale industrial plants. Like businesses and other organizations, it must examine every facet of operations for possible energy, resource and cost saving opportunities. Portland adopted the first set of sustainability principles in 1994, a year after Portland released the first-in-the-nation local Climate Action Plan. Through implementation of the first set of principles, the City has saved more than $50 million over 20 years.

"Incorporating sustainability into our operations and our culture helps us improve our operations and service to the public," said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. "We are making differences large and small, in everyday projects and all our operations. By converting street lights to energy-saving LEDs, we are saving dollars and energy in virtually all neighborhoods in the city. We also have turned the leaves collected last fall as part of Leaf Day service into compost that is now available for sale to the public. These principles will help us achieve even more. We support these principles because they're the right thing to do and because they make sense operationally."

In recent years, bureaus have partnered to achieve impressive savings projects, including:

  • Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) sustainability-related projects are saving dollars through lower electricity bills and reduced maintenance costs. PBOT is currently converting 45,000 street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. This conversion will result in a savings of 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity – cutting energy use in half and saving $1.5 million annually. The new LEDs are expected to last up to 20 years without changing bulbs or major maintenance. 
  • Portland’s fire bureau has been making stations more efficient and healthier for over a decade, including two LEED buildings.
  • Portland Parks and Recreation is the first and only park system in the country certified for salmon-friendly parks management. The bureau makes energy efficiency improvements a priority as a routine part of the ongoing work for the Parks Replacement Bond.
  • The Office of Management and Finance’s sustainable procurement program is 13 years old and has received national and international attention. OMF also manages the City Fleet, which will be 20 percent electric by 2030.
  • Today, approximately 44 percent of City-controlled impervious surfaces are managed via sustainable stormwater strategies like green street projects. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services has overseen the construction of over 2,000 green street facilities since 2006. BES staff at Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant have reduced electricity consumption by 40 percent. In 1991, power use was at 30 million kilowatt-hours; in 2015, the number was roughly 18 million kWh. One of the more exciting future initiatives at the plant is to use surplus biogas and make it suitable for use as a transportation fuel. This kind of innovation brings cost savings and significant carbon and emission reductions for the community.
  • “We talk about ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland,’ which means building, maintaining, and operating our parks and recreation system in order to promote ecological health,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “Portland Parks & Recreation enthusiastically supports the new Sustainable City Government Principles, and looks forward to participating in the City’s national green leadership.”

These resolutions renew and refresh Portland’s longstanding commitment to walk its talk when it comes to sustainability.

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/scg

Project contact

Pam Neild, Sustainable City Government Partnership Program Coordinator
pam.neild@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-0231
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Portland City Council approves energy performance reporting for commercial buildings

Commercial buildings are responsible for nearly a quarter of Portland's carbon emissions and spend more than $335 million on energy every year.

On Earth Day, Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve a new policy that will require owners of commercial buildings over 20,000 square feet to track energy use and report it on an annual basis. The policy will cover nearly 80 percent of the commercial square footage and affect approximately 1,000 buildings.

“Portland has set a goal to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. To reach that goal, we all have a role to play — public and private, at work and at home,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Reducing energy use in buildings is a critical part of that picture. Tracking energy use and investing in energy efficiency saves money for the building owners. And for the city as a whole. Last year alone, the city saved $6 million on its own energy bills.”

The policy will cover offices, retail spaces, grocery stores, hotels, health care and higher education buildings. It does not include residential properties, nursing homes, and places of worship, parking structures, K-12 schools, industrial facilities or warehouses.

“Today, my clients, tenant customers and staff expect energy efficiency,” said David Genrich, general manager, JLL, a professional services and investment management company specializing in real estate. “Tracking energy use has become a core responsibility of good building managers, and this policy ensures consistency across the board.”

The new Energy Performance Reporting Policy will require commercial buildings to track performance with a free online tool called ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and report energy use information to the City of Portland on an annual basis. There are approximately 5,000 commercial buildings in Portland. Currently fewer than 100 buildings claim ENERGY STAR certification.

“The fact that the policy requires the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager in reporting makes a lot of sense. It’s widely used, it is well recognized, it has a lot of credibility, and the EPA makes a lot of training available for people to get familiar with the program,” said Renee Loveland, sustainability manager at Gerding Edlen, one of the nation’s leading real estate investment and development firms. “We’ve been using it over the past several years. All of the other markets we’re currently doing business in have mandatory reporting in place, and Portfolio Manager has been working well for our properties.”

Why are cities like Portland adopting energy performance reporting for commercial buildings?

  • The energy used to power buildings is the largest source of carbon pollution in Portland.
  • Similar to a MPG rating for a car, the energy performance policy allows potential tenants and owners to have access to important information about building energy performance.
  • Commercial energy reporting policies in 12 other U.S. cities have proven to motivate investment in efficiency improvements that save money and reduce carbon emissions.


“This has been a great collaboration among City bureaus and community members, including dozens of building owners and managers,” said Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson. “This isn't new. It's tried and true — and already has been adopted in 12 other U.S. cities."

Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/energyreporting to learn more and track program updates.


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