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BPS News: New Solarize Guidebook: A tool for local governments and communities to pursue energy independence

Community solar program “how-to” resource now available with help from the City of Portland and Energy Trust of Oregon

For immediate release
9 February 2011

Christine Llobregat
City of Portland
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


New Solarize Guidebook: A tool for local governments and communities to pursue energy independence

Community solar program “how-to” resource now available with help from the City of Portland and Energy Trust of Oregon

Portland, ORE. -- A new guidebook that shares best practices from recent volunteer-driven Solarize projects about volume purchasing of solar energy systems aims to help other communities grow clean energy programs and create family-wage jobs. The Solarize Guidebook, developed for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Portland, is now available at:

Four Solarize Portland projects, plus efforts in Pendleton, Salem and other cities, have been completed since 2009. During each project, neighbors learn together the ins and outs of going solar - from how the technology works and finding a contractor to learning about available financing options such as Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives and state and federal tax credits.

The guidebook features key elements of the Solarize campaigns in Portland, and offers several program variations from projects beyond Portland. The guidebook provides lessons, considerations, and step-by-step plans for project organizers who are looking to replicate a collective purchasing model.  

"From green building to urban farming, Portland is proving to be a living laboratory for urban sustainability in America," said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. "With the new first-of-its-kind Solarize guidebook, Portlanders are showing once again their enthusiasm for making sustainability easier, more convenient and more affordable. I hope and am confident that the lessons learned here in Portland will benefit neighborhoods and cities around the nation."

The City of Portland launched its first solar program in 2006 with the help of an award from the DOE Solar America Cities program. This grant provided funding for the creation of The Solarize Guidebook as part of the larger DOE effort to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner and more secure energy future.

"We are delighted to share the practical tools from the Solarize campaigns with local governments and community organizers," said Susan Anderson, director of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "The City of Portland, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America Cities program, is intent on continuing to develop creative approaches to increase market demand for solar. In addition, our bureau continues to help connect Portland's businesses and homeowners to resources and local solar contractors outside of the Solarize effort." 

About Solar America Cities 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. Best practices and lessons learned from the Solar America Cities are shared across the United States to help other communities replicate successes.  Visit Solar America Cities online at 

About National Renewable Energy Lab

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL's mission and strategy are focused on advancing the U.S. Department of Energy's and our nation's energy goals. The laboratory's scientists and researchers support critical market objectives to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. Learn more about NREL at

About Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $600 million on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at or call 1-866-368-7878.

About the 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.


CC2035 Events - Willamette River Sympsosium #2

The Central City 2035 Symposium Series continues with the second event focused on the Willamette River.

Central City 2035 continues its Symposium Series with the second Willamette River Symposium on Friday, February 25. Full event details can be found on the Central City calendar.

The February 25 Symposium will continue the discussion from the first Willamette River Symposium on February 4. Documents, handouts, and a summary of the event can be found online at the Central Reach Website.

Willamette River Symposium #2 Agenda - February 25, 2011

  1. Welcome/introductions
  2. Review the results of the February 4th symposium
  3. The policy concepts that we've discussed so far have been focused primarily on a single element. Within the context of the issues that we've discussed and others that face the river today, how can we achieve development, access, and vibrancy, and at the same time protect and restore natural resources and watershed health?
    • Is it important or beneficial to integrate development, access, vibrancy and watershed health on every site? If not, at what scale should integration happen?
    • Using several key waterfront sites that are likely to change significantly in the next 25 year, how can we integrate the following elements: a Clean and Healthy River; Prosperous Working Harbor; Portland's Front Yard; Vibrant Waterfront Districts and Neighborhoods; and Partnership, Leadership, and Education?
    • Are there sites that are likely to change significantly in the next 25 years where it will be challenging to integrate the elements?
  4. How can we capture the thinking that emerged in a-c above in policy statements or concepts?
  5. Public comment
  6. Final comments
  7. Next Steps
  8. Adjourn

The CC2035 team will make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Please notify us no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the event by phone 503-823-7700, by the TTY line at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.

Portland Plan Fairs start Wednesday, March 2

Phase III of the Portland Plan kicks off with the roll out of three integrated strategies and an Equity Initiative for Portland's future

Starting March 2, Portlanders have an opportunity to shape the City's strategies for the future at four upcoming Portland Plan Fairs. These fairs will offer residents a range of experiences and opportunities to learn about and comment on three integrated strategies and an Equity Initiative to ensure that Portland is a thriving and sustainable city, with health and opportunity for all. 

Portlanders say that equity, living wage jobs, student success and a healthy environment are their top concerns. In response to this community input, the Portland Plan combines these priorities with extensive research and national best practices to develop an overarching Equity Initiative and three draft strategies for Portland's future:

1. Education
2. Economic Prosperity and Affordability
3. Healthy Connected Neighborhoods

In addition to breakout discussions for each one, the fairs will feature local food, music, booths, presentations, exotic animals (at the Zoo) and community exhibitors. Mayor Sam Adams will be talking with community members and free childcare will be provided at all locations.

At the first fair on Wednesday evening in Southeast Portland, artists from Colored Pencils Art and Culture will be performing throughout the evening, including local favorites Parfait Bassale, a well-known singer and songwriter from Benin (West Africa); singer/songwriter Randa Benaziz from Morocco; Vietnamese Group Singers Vu Tran, Khanh Nguyen and Thai Bui; story tellers from Nepal Anouksha Garner and Kunga Lama; and poet Ronault "Polo" Catalani. We hope you'll bring your family and friends to one or more of the fairs below.

It's your future. It's our city. Let's make this plan together.


The Portland Plan Fairs


Wednesday, March 2, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Hosford Middle School, 2303 SE 28th Place

TriMet #4, #10


Sunday, March 6, 12:30 - 3 p.m.

Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road

TriMet #63, MAX Red + Blue


Thursday, March 10, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

De La Salle North Catholic High School

7528 N Fenwick Avenue

TriMet #4, #6, #75; MAX Yellow

En Espanol, tambien!


Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

10301 NE Glisan Street

TriMet #15, #19; MAX Green + Blue

Community public engagement is especially critical at this point in the Portland Plan process. After the fairs and follow-up outreach efforts, the draft strategies will be revised based on input from the community, Portland Plan partners and national experts. These revised strategies will be the core of the City's strategic plan, which will be available for comment and review this summer and will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission this fall.

For more information, please call 503-823-2041.

The Portland Plan team will make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Please notify us no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the event by phone 503-823-7700, by the TTY line at 503-823-6868 or by the Oregon Relay Service at 1-800-735-2900.