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Rising energy costs motivate businesses to generate their own electricity with solar

BPS E-news Issue 9

Did you know that Portland businesses are increasingly finding successful ways to go solar? There are currently 131 commercial solar installations in Portland. The BPS Solar program provides free information about technology and incentives to guide businesses that are considering switching to solar for their energy needs.

One recent example of a local business going solar is Cloudburst Recycling. This local Portland hauler has tapped into the sun to generate electricity at their North Portland facility near the Fremont Bridge.  Installed in June 2010, the 23,900-watt solar energy system is anticipated to meet over 60 percent of the total annual electric load at the facility with clean, pollution-free electricity. Over the course of each year, the system will avoid the emission of over 10 tons of carbon emissions.  The system includes 104 photovoltaic modules manufactured by SolarWorld in Hillsboro, OR, and was designed and installed by a local solar contractor. In addition, they installed a water wash-down system, designed to help keep the panels clean for maximum efficiency.

“Through a combination of solar power generation, collecting waste vegetable oil to be used for biodiesel production, and conservation we hope to eventually produce most of the energy we consume in the course of providing our Waste Collection and Recycling services,” said David McMahon, founder of Cloudburst Recycling.

From their beginnings in 1975 as one of the first recycling companies in Portland, Cloudburst continues to be a leader in the environmental field and strives towards becoming energy self-sufficient. The solar installation and Cloudburst’s conservation practices highlight great steps for businesses to incorporate that save costs, support the local green economy, and help meet the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan goals.  

Visit www.solarnoworegon.org/business.html for general information. Contact Jaimes Valdez at 503-823-7109 for technical assistance, information about technology and incentives, as well as on-site guidance visits .

Tree project goes to City Hall

BPS E-news Issue 9

Portlanders are surrounded by stunning natural beauty and many residents enjoy the city’s canopy of trees. But did you know that trees in your neighborhood actually increase property resale value, help reduce crime and improve mental and physical health? These are just some of the reasons why the City — in partnership with neighborhoods leaders, developers, arborists and others — has been working to foster the long-term health of our trees through the Citywide Tree Project, which goes before City Council in early February 2011.  

Inspired by community residents concerned about preserving neighborhood trees and making the Portland’s tree regulations more consistent, City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project in 2007. Council directed city bureaus to work up a proposal to make Portland’s tree rules more understandable, consistent and effective in protecting and enhancing this valuable natural asset. Now, after extensive collaboration with stakeholders and between City bureaus — and unanimous approval by Portland Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission — the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report will soon be published for City Council consideration and adoption.

Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2010, at 6 p.m. (time certain) in City Council chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.

The Citywide Tree Project will establish a cohesive, consistent regulatory framework for trees in Portland — a framework that will protect and enhance the urban forest and support the City’s environmental, social and economic sustainability goals by:

  • Consolidating tree regulations under a new single tree code (Title 11, Trees).
  • Standardizing and streamlining Portland’s tree permit system, and creating a simpler permit process for homeowners.
  • Improving standards for tree preservation and planting when development is proposed, without causing undue increases in permitting timelines or development costs.
  • Improving customer service with a new 24-hour tree hotline, single point of contact for public inquiries, community tree manual and an online tree permit tracking system.
  • Generating more than 100 acres of future tree canopy per year through improved tree preservation and planting requirements.


The Citywide Tree Project proposal includes estimated costs and a budget to fund administration and enforcement of the updated regulations and the customer service improvements. A phased implementation strategy is proposed to provide time for public outreach, development of the tree manual and other informational materials. Project implementation is also tied to City budget stabilization, but the majority of the ongoing implementation costs can be supported through modest development fee increases.

The Citywide Tree Project Recommended Report to City Council will be published in mid-December and posted at www.portlandonline.com/bps/treeproject. The City will also be holding a public meeting to go over the project proposal and answer questions in early-mid January. If you have questions or are interested in being on the project mailing list, please notify project staff at BPSCTP@portlandoregon.gov.

Holiday Reminders from the BPS Solid Waste and Recycling Team

BPS E-news Issue 9

There will be no collection schedule changes for garbage, recycling and yard debris during the 2010 holiday season. Questions? Contact your garbage and recycling company or the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202. Seasonal information is available online at www.portlandonline.com/bps/carts. Below are resources for recycling holiday trees.

Tree recycling options

  • Make sure to remove all your special ornaments, lights, tinsel, wire, nails, stands and other materials that are not part of the tree.
  • Trees will not be accepted with garbage and will only be accepted with yard debris.
  • Whole tree: There will be a charge of $4 for trees under eight feet and $6 for taller trees.
  • Tree pieces: Use your green Portland Composts! roll cart and cut the trunk and branches into pieces less than 36 inches long and four inches in diameter.
  • Extra bundle or can is $3.00.
  • Donate your tree to a nonprofit organization for a small fee.


Contact Metro Recycling Information for:

  • Reuse and recycling resources for non-curbside materials.
  • Drop-off locations or pickup service for holiday trees.

503-234-3000
oregonmetro.gov/findarecycler

New Planning and Sustainability Commission defines work, looks forward

BPS E-news Issue 9

In early October, the new Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held their first retreat. The group discussed how the new Commission will work together and their workplan priorities.  They met with various City bureau directors, as well as with Mayor Sam Adams. One key topic of conversation was defining “sustainability” and how the PSC will integrate the components of equity, environmental and human health, and economic factors into their work.

The Commissioners agreed on a shared definition of sustainability and to adhere to two main concepts to guide their work and recommendations: 1) That everything is connected; and 2) That whatever we do today affects tomorrow.

Commissioners also noted the importance of engaging people who think of sustainability as a barrier, emphasizing the need for urgency and the time dimension of “borrowing from the future” and including cultural sustainability (the ability to remain connected to one’s cultural identity, values and beliefs) and creating space in the city that is inclusive of the range of cultures.

The primary functions of the 11-member Commission include ensuring sustainability principles and practices are incorporated into policy, planning and development decisions. The PSC will serve as an advocate for community concerns and robust public involvement.  It will advise City Council and bureaus on social, economic and environmental topics and act as the stewards of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan.

Looking ahead, the PSC will remain focused on integrating all aspects of sustainability into its recommendations and will advocate for projects from which all Portlanders can benefit.