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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

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From BPS Director Susan Anderson: From Portland to Paris, cities deliver on climate action

With an international climate agreement now in hand, we find much of the action ultimately is local.

As we welcome this New Year, I am excited and hopeful for Portland’s future. Over the last 12 months, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability worked with many of you or your organizations to build plans, enact new policies, research and develop new technologies, and provide technical assistance to create a more prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city. 

In 2015, Council adopted an award-winning Climate Action Plan that will take our local leadership to new heights. You’ve also helped us take significant steps towards the completion of the state-mandated Comprehensive Plan. Much more than simply a map and new City Code, the 2035 Comprehensive Plan provides a framework to create financing, zoning and regulatory tools to achieve our most critical goals: a low carbon economy, more jobs, affordable housing, a clean environment, increased mobility and greater equity among Portlanders.

As the world shifts to investing in clean energy and healthier communities, cities around the world are delivering results. Portland is a leader in this effort, and we stand ready to do more. That was the message Mayor Charlie Hales and BPS sustainability manager, Michael Armstrong, took to Paris last month when they joined leaders from more than 500 cities to urge strong international action on climate change.

The global agreement that emerged from the Paris talks -- to pursue efforts to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) -- demonstrates an unprecedented level of international cooperation. But by necessity, it leaves much of the hard work for subsequent action to nations, states, cities the private sector and local residents. For the first time, world leaders, who signed the climate agreement, also recognized the central role of local initiatives, if we are to be successful. The agreement is international, but much of the action will be local.

With just a handful of other U.S. cities, Portland has a very encouraging record of accomplishment reducing carbon emissions. Since 1990, local emissions have declined 35 percent per person, even while  adding more than 75,000 jobs. Also since 1990, the population of Multnomah County has increased by more than 182,000 residents, yet total emissions are down 14 percent. Clearly we are doing more with less energy.  We are more efficient, we are saving money, and we are using more renewable energy sources. This is good news and Portland is making progress, but we have a long way to go: Portland’s goal, along with other leading cities, is to reduce 1990 level carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

That will require much more from all of us — from the city, the private sector, non-profits, academic institutions, faith organizations and individuals. It is important than we understand that these reductions are not necessarily hardships.  A new low-carbon economy, which relies on less energy and fewer fossil fuels, presents us with an enormous opportunity to be more efficient, create jobs, and build a healthier and more vibrant community for all Portlanders, addressing equity each step of the way. As French President Hollande said in speaking to the group of mayors in Paris, “You can't separate climate action from the struggle against inequality.”

The role and value of cities had unprecedented visibility in Paris. Alongside mayors from Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, London, Los Angeles, Vancouver (BC), and Copenhagen, Mayor Hales was a featured speaker and shared Portland’s experience in creating employment and a livable community, while reducing carbon emissions.

“When you listen to most national leaders talk about this issue, you hear a language that’s really about the allocation of burden,” Hales said. “But Mayors and cities are not looking at it that way, because of our experience. Portland is prospering because we are green, because we’ve reduced our carbon footprint even while our economy has grown. We see climate action as an economic strategy for success, not a burden that we have to shoulder.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was also compelling, declaring early in the negotiations, “I have this to say to the negotiators: We cities will be with you, but we need you to be with us, too.” Cities are leading and will continue to do so, but success requires a strong partnership with state and national governments.

Days after returning to Portland, Mayor Hales hosted the mayors of San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Eugene for two days of discussions focused on climate change, housing affordability, and homelessness. On the surface, these topics seem mostly unrelated.  However, the mayors together recognized their interconnections, and they emphasized the words of Pope Francis earlier this year: “Environmental issues are social issues.”

Together with other West Coast cities, Portland is committed to meeting the linked challenges of environmental quality, housing affordability, climate change, and building a city where families and businesses can thrive today and in the future.

This commitment, however, will not see results without the involvement of a determined community of advocates and organizations. I am profoundly grateful for your involvement, the individual and business actions you have taken, and the many hours you have spent at public hearings, testifying, writing letters or volunteering on committees.  Thank you – your efforts make a difference.

All the best for an abundant and resilient 2016.

Susan Anderson
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Home deconstruction grants are still available

When a house must come down, deconstruction is a preferred alternative. Now, there’s help to save valuable building materials for reuse.

Grants are available now from the City of Portland to help promote home deconstruction, to build capacity within the industry and to encourage efficiencies and innovation.

Grant program features easy-to-use online application

  • Funds are available for a limited time.
  • Maximum grant awards: $2,500 for full deconstruction; $500 for partial projects.
  • Applications will be reviewed and selected weekly.
  • Applications are restricted to projects involving the full removal of a house or duplex within the Portland city limits.
  • Find the online application at

Why deconstruction?

Deconstruction helps achieve the policies and actions related to the current efforts of the Climate Action Plan Update and the Comprehensive Plan Update.

  • Salvaging reusable material supports the local economy by supporting six to eight jobs for every one job associated with traditional mechanized demolition and creates viable local enterprises.
  • Deconstruction offers an affordable option for residents and businesses to acquire quality used building materials.
  • Deconstruction offers greater carbon benefits by preserving the embodied energy of existing building materials and avoiding the creation of greenhouse gasses associated with adding waste materials to the landfill.

For more information on deconstruction or to apply for a grant, please visit or contact Shawn Wood at or 503-823-5468

BPS Silent Auction raises biggest gift ever for Oregon Food Bank

Over 470 families will receive meals this winter thanks to the generosity of City employees and local businesses who donated auction items.

The annual BPS silent auction surpassed previous successful auctions by raising nearly $4,700 to benefit the Oregon Food Bank for the purpose of reducing hunger in Oregon. According to the Oregon Food Bank, $10 feeds a family of four for three to five days. This means that 470 families will receive meals this winter.

The silent auction has been a tradition at BPS for at least ten years, thanks to the dedication of the coordinating committee. For auction items, there was widespread support from BPS employees and local businesses. Some of the most popular auction items were restaurant gift certificates and gifts of experience, like overnight getaways or entertainment and sports activities.

BPS employees generously donated and bid on most of the items auctioned. Many of the auction items were handmade or re-gifted. With every dollar donated equaling $4 worth of food, the total contribution in food is valued at $18,800!

Public invited to testify at February 9 hearing on Portland Plant List update

Updated document identifies native and nuisance plant species found in Portland and the metropolitan region

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), in partnership with the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), will hold a public hearing on a proposed Portland Plant List (PPL) update. The list identifies native plants and nuisance plant species found in Portland and the metropolitan region. The document describes the ecological and social benefits provided by plants on the Native Plants List, as well as the impacts and risks associated with the spread of invasive plants on the Nuisance Plants List.

The PPL is a technical and educational document, which is used widely by City staff, developers, local natural resource and watershed agencies and organizations, and residents throughout the metropolitan region. The list is used in administering certain zoning regulations, including those that apply in environmentally sensitive areas of Portland. The document also includes a list of plants that are required to be removed if found in the city. The city first published the PPL in 1991 and has updated it several times over the years, most recently in 2011. 

Proposed amendments to the Portland Plant List updates include:

  1. Removal of 16 species from the Native Plants List (Attachment A)
  2. Addition of eight species, and reassessment and update of three species ranks in the Nuisance Plants List (Attachment B)
  3. Technical amendments — corrections to plant taxonomy (Attachment C)
  4. Updates to the Portland Plant List Appendix A, History (Attachment D)

Read the Portland Plant List Update Staff Report

Public Hearing on the Proposed Portland Plant List Update

Attend the public hearing to testify to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability director or her delegate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Brief staff presentation at 6:00 p.m.; discussion and public testimony to follow
1900 SW 4th Ave., Room 2500B

How to submit testimony in writing
Can’t make the hearing? You can also submit testimony to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in writing.

U.S. Mail
Send a letter with your comments to:

Jeff Caudill
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Ave., Suite 7100  
Portland, OR, 97201
Attn: Portland Plant List Update Comment 

Email: Send to with Portland Plant List Update Comments in the subject line.

Written testimony must be received by the 4:00 p.m. the day of the hearing or at the hearing and must include your name and address.

Motivate change in your community — become a Master Recycler

Apply now for the upcoming spring course, taking place in Clackamas County

Inspire and make a difference while connecting with others who care about our natural resources just like you. Join over 1450 Master Recyclers from Canby to East Portland, Gresham to Sandy and everywhere in between.

master recyclersMaster Recyclers are a volunteer corps who motivate neighbors and coworkers to take action on sustainable consumption, toxics reduction, composting and recycling..

Learn from the Experts
Join 30 fellow recycling enthusiasts in an eight-week course, learning from innovative leaders about topics such as:

  • Sustainable consumption
  • Fixing and reusing items
  • The sharing community
  • Toxics reduction
  • Green building
  • Recycling and compost processing
  • The global markets in which recyclables are bought and sold

During the course you will also tour recycling centers, compost facilities and hazardous and municipal waste sites, to see firsthand how these systems work.

  • WHAT: Clackamas County 8-week spring course and 30-hour volunteer program.
  • WHEN: Eight consecutive Wednesdays 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. starting on March 30, and two Saturdays 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. on April 9 and May 7.
  • WHERE: Hosted by Clackamas County, 150 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City.
  • COST: $50.00 - Partial and full scholarships are available.
  • Application deadline is March 1st at noon.

Learn more or apply by visiting

This program is brought to you by Metro, the City of PortlandClackamas CountyWashington County, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Recycling Advocates.