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From turkey bones to trees, toss your holiday trimmings in your green roll cart

BPS E-News Issue 14

The holidays often bring more food, fun and festivities — and all of the waste that can go along with those things. This year, you have a new place to scrape your holiday plates. Now you can add food scraps — from meat to bones to dairy — along with yard debris to your green roll cart for weekly pickup.

Not only will putting leftovers in your green roll cart keep your Thanksgiving turkey and holiday ham scraps out of the landfill, it will turn them into nutrient-rich compost to nourish yards and gardens. Compost helps plants grow, prevents erosion, helps soil retain water and blocks disease and weeds. Locally, food scraps account for almost 30,000 tons of unnecessary garbage every year, which can now be put to better use as compost to improve the health of our soils and gardens.

Did you know that even your holiday tree can be composted? You can put a whole tree on the curb on your collection day for a fee, or you can cut the trunk and branches into pieces less than 36 inches long and four inches in diameter and include them in your green cart for no additional charge.

"Our family was surprised to learn how much of our holiday waste is actually compostable," said Meg Matsushima, resident of the Roseway neighborhood and participant in the pilot program. "Leftover cookies, fruitcake and even the gingerbread house can go right into the green roll cart along with napkins and paper towels used while cooking."  

As you plan your holiday meals and family gatherings, consider these easy ways to reduce waste and make composting food scraps easy for your guests:

  • Put recycling and food scrap containers in plain sight to help guests easily see and use them.

  • Invite your friends and family to bring along food containers so they can take home leftovers.

  • Buy inexpensive, durable dishes that you can load into the dishwasher and box up until your next party instead of using throwaway plastic or paper platters, plates and cups.

  • Reduce garbage by preparing a dish with fresh, local ingredients that you can buy without packaging, like apples, pears or hazelnuts.

If you still find that you have more garbage than usual this holiday season, you have the option to set out an extra bag or can of garbage on your pickup day for a one-time fee of $5.

Some bulky packaging materials — like Styrofoam or packing peanuts — can't be recycled in your blue cart, but they can be recycled through Metro. Call 503-234-3000 or visit to find out where you can take these items to keep them out of your garbage container and out of the landfill.

No changes to collection schedule during winter holidays

Finally, there will be no changes to your collection schedule due to holidays this season. If you have questions about your schedule, you can find it online anytime at

Still have questions? Here are three easy ways to get help:

  1. Online:

  2. Hotline: 503-823-7202

  3. E-mail:


From BPS Director Susan Anderson: It's time for a new kind of plan — and time for you to have your say!

I am pleased to announce the release of the draft Portland Plan.

It's been more than 25 years since the City unveiled a new plan. Our last plan led the city to bring together transportation, land use, green space and people in ways that created a vibrant downtown and robust neighborhoods, instead of sprawl. We've shown the world that we can grow our economy, protect the environment and provide vibrant places for people to live. The new Portland Plan takes a bold step further.

Based on the priorities expressed at hundreds of community conversations and events over the past couple years, thousands of Portlanders told us that living wage jobs, successful students, social equity, a healthy environment and connected neighborhoods are top priorities.

The draft Portland Plan is a different kind of plan — more strategic, inclusive and integrated than anything this city has done before. Unlike most city plans, it goes beyond design and infrastructure and the way the city looks, and also focuses on how the City of Portland delivers on the things we care about most.

The plan is designed to:

  • Increase Portland's prosperity and affordability.

  • Improve educational outcomes and ensure training for all youth.

  • Advance social equity for all Portland residents.

  • Support healthy people, living in a healthy connected city.

The plan is based on:

  • Solid community wisdom: Garnered from more than 20,000 comments indicating top priorities and creative solutions to our most difficult challenges.

  • Partnerships: Among government, business, non-profits and neighborhoods and insists that government break down silos to align missions and resources to be more creative and efficient.

  • Facts: Including a four-foot high stack of background documents filled with knowledge pertaining to our residents, economy, environment and social institutions.  

  • Measures of success: So we can track our progress and hold ourselves accountable.

So what is in the draft Portland Plan? The plan includes specific policies and action items to help Portland:

  • Grow the economy and add more and better jobs.

  • Create housing and neighborhoods that are affordable for more Portlanders.

  • Reduce disparities, among incomes and communities of color.

  • Improve graduation rates and get people ready for jobs.

  • Improve the health of kids, adults and families.

  • Increase our sense of safety and overall well being.

  • Create a cleaner and greener built and natural environment — more trees, better air and water quality, and lower carbon emissions.

  • Promote greater access to complete, walkable neighborhoods — with healthy food, parks, shops, transportation options and other amenities.

The draft Portland Plan is more than just a big, bold, beautiful document. It provides a strategic path for us to work smarter, be both visionary and practical, bring government and business together, and provide for distinct and culturally vibrant neighborhoods.

The Portland Plan takes the big picture and brings it down to the neighborhood level. What we need now is for you to take a look and tell us if we got it right.  

So, please review the document and present your comments to the Planning and Sustainability Commission during the month of November. (Go to for dates, times and locations of public hearings.)

The Commission will consider written and oral public testimony in their deliberations and make a recommendation to the Portland City Council in early 2012.

Thank you for your participation.  

All the best,

 Susan Anderson sig

Susan Anderson
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


We Build Green Cities

Check out this video highlighting Portland's national leadership in sustainability.

Check out this video highlighting Portland's national leadership in sustainability. Chronicling our city’s journey from being nicknamed “Stumptown” to becoming “Green City” — and the steps taken by the community to increase livability, bring nature back to the city, create ecodistricts, improve transportation and grow our industries. It’s inspiring stuff!

The goal of We Build Green Cities is to better connect Portland's green innovations, intellectual capital and products with the rest of the world. In fact, Mayor Sam Adams and a consortium of eight clean tech companies recently showed the video during meetings in Hong Kong to recruit new investment for Portland, and support the growth of Portland business overseas. We Build Green Cities is a project of the Portland Sustainability Institute in partnership with Business Oregon, the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission. 

BPS News: EPA Recognizes Portland, Oregon with a Green Power Leadership Award

National awards honor leading green power purchasers


Christine Llobregat
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Mollie Lemon


EPA Recognizes Portland, Oregon with a Green Power Leadership Award

National awards honor leading green power purchasers

Michael Armstrong, BPS senior sustainability manager
Beth Craig, EPA, presents the Green Power Leadership Award to Michael Armstrong, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Photo by Trish Tunney Photography.

Portland, Ore. — The City of Portland announced today that it has received a 2011 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market. EPA presented Portland with the Green Power Community of the Year award at an event held in conjunction with the 2011 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in San Francisco, California, on November 16, 2011.

“We are proud to receive this award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and we value our long-standing partnerships with Portland General Electric and Pacific Power,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “The purchase of green power by our citizens and businesses helps our community become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others communities across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk.”

In partnership with Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, Portland was one of only two communities nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for using green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA purchase requirements for residents’ and businesses’ collective green power purchase. Portland residents and businesses currently voluntarily purchase nearly 709 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet nine percent of the community’s electricity use. Green Power Communities (GPCs) distinguish themselves through their green power usage, leadership, citizen engagement, renewable energy strategy, and impact on the green power market.

Portland is the second-largest GPC in terms of annual green power usage in Oregon, which leads the nation with 11 GPCs. In addition, Portland is the third-largest GPC in the country

“It was said a long time ago about Portland that the wealth of this city is found in its citizens,” said Pat Egan, Pacific Power’s vice president of customer and community affairs.  “Portland has proved that again by this tremendous example of our commitment to renewable energy.”

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

“Congratulations to the City of Portland for exemplifying sustainable leadership,” said Carol Dillin, PGE’s vice president of customer strategies and business development. “Together Portlanders have built one of the strongest renewable power communities in the nation and truly have earned the honor of a Green Power Leadership Award.”

According to the U.S. EPA, the Portland community's green power purchase of nearly 709 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 96,000 passenger vehicles per year or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 61,000 average American homes annually.

“EPA’s Green Power Leadership Award winners are driving the development of new renewable energy sources and demonstrating that green power makes good environmental and business sense,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “We applaud Portland, Oregon's efforts and hope that other communities follow their lead.”

Green power is part of Portland’s long-term strategy to reduce carbon emissions

Portland has a long history of engaging its residents, businesses, and stakeholders in developing and implementing strategies to reduce carbon emissions. In 1993, the city released its Carbon Dioxide Reduction Strategy, which was followed eight years later by the joint Multnomah County-City of Portland Local Action Plan on Global Warming. As of 2009, local emissions had declined 22 percent per capita since 1990 and had fallen to 2 percent below 1990 levels on an absolute basis. Today, the City’s Climate Action Plan has a community-wide goal of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

In 2010, as part of Portland’s effort to reduce the region’s carbon footprint, the City of Portland joined forces with Pacific Power and Portland General Electric and challenged residents and businesses to support green power through their utility’s voluntary program. The challenge was a great success, with Portland more than tripling its goal of 1,000 new signups with a total of 3,130 new residential and business customers.

In October 2010, Portland became an EPA Green Power Community — the largest in the nation at the time. Currently, Portland has the highest participation rate among Green Power Communities of its population size with more than 15 percent of its utilities’ customers buying renewable energy equal to nearly over 9 percent of its total electricity load.

Portland’s city government is also leading by example. Portland currently produces 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity use from on-site renewable resources, including a 1.7 megawatt  biogas plant; a demonstration wind turbine; biogas-powered microturbines; hydro generation; solar parking meters, solar pool and water heating, and solar electric installations totaling more than 400 kilowatts.

About City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

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.

About Pacific Power

Pacific Power provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. Our goal is to provide our customers with value for their energy dollar, and safe, reliable electricity. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with 1.7 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit

About Portland General Electric

Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 825,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. Visit our website at

About EPA’s Green Power Partnership

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with electricity use. The Partnership currently has nearly 1,300 Partner organizations voluntarily purchasing over 21 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium-sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. For additional information, please visit

About the Green Power Leadership Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) co-sponsors the annual Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions. EPA recognizes winners in the following awards categories: Green Power Partner of the Year, On-site Generation, Green Power Purchasing, and Green Power Community of the Year. EPA’s Purchaser awards recognize the exceptional achievement among EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through green power procurement, market leadership, overall green power strategy, and overall impact on the green power market. The Awards are held in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Markets Conference. For additional information, please visit


New "How To" Videos Make it Easy to Read and Comment on the Portland Plan

Step-by-step instructions help Portlanders have their say

The Portland Plan is a beautiful document, but its length and complexity can be overwhelming. To help Portlanders navigate through the roughly 150 pages of text, charts, tables, maps and graphs, we produced a video to guide people through the different sections of the plan.

This How to Read the Portland Plan video is coupled with a How to Comment on the Portland Plan video, featuring Planning and Sustainability Commission Chair Andre Baugh, who offers helpful tips for shaping meaningful testimony.

The PSC will be holding one more public hearing on the Portland Plan on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. Oral testimony will be closed after this session. Written testimony on the plan will be accepted until December, 28, 2011. After that the commission will hold two work sessions to develop their recommendation to City Council. More information about the hearings and work sessions and how to submit both oral and written testimony can be found here