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Recap: Stephan Brenneisen Visit and SOWA/OHSA tour


Stephan Brenneisen Visit

Last week we welcomed Swiss green roof expert Dr. Stephan Brenneisen to Portland, along with his colleague Rafael Schneider and Lisa Benjamin, an ecologist from San Francisco. Stephan and the team focus on green roof design for biodiversity and habitat in Basel Switzerland. We learned a great deal from them while they were here - the following is a recap of their visit:

On Tuesday March 1st , the group joined BES staff to survey reference sites. In particular, they met with Dave Helzer, BES Environmental Specialist, and Mike Houck of Urban Greenspaces Institute, to examine Streaked Horned Lark habitat near the St Johns Landfill. This site allowed Stephan and his team to understand some of the habitat needs of this species and how an ecoroof could be designed to offer a similar function. 


The group then visited a number of Portland ecoroofs, including the Portland Building. Although Stephan had visited Portland in 2004, the ecoroofs have matured and many more exist throughout the city. There's now a greater understanding of how these projects work in Portland's climate, and are therefore more opportunities to consider biodiversity and habitat on rooftops. 

The group then made a visit to the Port of Portland for a brief presentation about ecoroof potential on Port property. They also met with designers to consult on a construction project at the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant, a new facility which will include an ecoroof in its innovative design.

Finally, Stephan gave a presentation on Thursday March 3rd titled Green Roofs from Pilot to Mainstream: Pushing the Market with Wildlife Visions. The presentation included some excellent insights into policy development and project implementation in Basel Switzerland and other European Cities. We saw several examples of green roofs designed for wildlife habitat. One exciting highlight was learning about the Moss Filtration Plant in Zurich, Switzerland. Installed in 1913, the green roof includes 9 species of orchid and 175 species of plants, many of which are rare or endangered in that area. 

As Portland continues to study and improve upon ecoroof design to meet multiple objectives, research like that of Dr. Brenneisen and his team are integral and becoming more and more relevant. We're very thankful for the team for visiting Portland and sharing their good nature and expertise. And many thanks to the Office of Healthy Working Rivers for helping support their trip!

Ecoroof Tour - South Waterfront and OHSU

We had some rare, amazing weather for the March 8th tour of ecoroof projects in South Waterfront and at OHSU. Twenty attendees joined BES staff and members from the Green Above Ground project team to take the tour. 

The tour started at the Ardea Building at South Waterfront. The view out the window allowed the attendees to see a number of vegetated rooftops on surrounding buildings. 

The view from the Ardea Building

The group then took the Portland Aerial Tram to the OHSU campus where they toured newly installed ecoroofs, including a 6,000 ft² project on the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center. 

What a day to tour some ecoroofs - I hope we continue to have this weather over the next few weeks. Thanks to the Green Above Ground team for coordinating the tour and to the Ardea and OHSU for the hospitality! 

And don't forget - Ecoroof Portland is next Friday - spread the word!


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