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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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River Plan update

BPS E-News Issue 10

For several years, the City has been working on an update to the Willamette Greenway Plan: the River Plan. This comprehensive plan addresses a broad set of issues for the land along the Willamette River, including supporting harbor Industries, revitalizing neighborhoods, enhancing recreation and ensuring the health of the river’s natural resources.

The River Plan / North Reach was adopted unanimously by the Portland City Council in April 2010. It was subsequently appealed by Gunderson, LLC; Schnitzer Steel Industries; and the Working Waterfront Coalition.

On Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) remanded the plan back to the City. While LUBA did not agree with many arguments put forth by the appellants, it did rule that the environmental zones, the vegetation enhancement standard and the trail area might reduce the City’s supply of industrial land.

LUBA said that the City must quantify the net number of acres, if any, the new regulations may remove from industrial development, and evaluate the impact of any net reduction on the City’s inventory of industrial lands.

The City had an opportunity to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals but decided it was in the best interest of the City to keep the plan moving forward. Before bringing a revised River Plan back to council, BPS will finalize an opportunities analysis. That analysis will go before the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council, likely in the Fall.

In more recent developments, Gunderson, et al, appealed the LUBA decision and filed petitions for judicial review with the Court of Appeals. The City has until March 25 to respond to industry’s arguments.

There have been several stories in the local press about the River Plan, the LUBA decision and appeals, including an op-ed by former Planning Commission Chair Don Hanson. To read it in the Oregonian, visit:
The overall purpose of the River Plan is to balance economic development and protection with enhancement of natural resources. Until it is re-adopted, the Willamette Greenway Plan will continue to be in effect for river development.

Take action: Sign up for Urban Growth Bounty classes

BPS E-News Issue 10

Now in its third year, the Food Program’s Urban Growth Bounty educational series offers educational opportunities to add to your urban homesteading skills. Workshops focus on growing food-producing plants, cooking healthy meals or making food products as well as raising animals that are complementary to a food garden, like bees, goats and chickens.

There are still plenty of classes scheduled that will appeal to food gardeners. Here’s a sampling of some unique workshops that still have space available:

Learn all about food gardening in just two sessions

Intensive Vegetable Production is a two-part workshop that connects all of the aspects of producing vegetables in the backyard or on small acreage into a cohesive system. It is designed for experienced and new gardeners, backyard growers, and back-40 farmers alike who want more details on tools and techniques for producing a consistent harvest of vegetables any time of year. You'll start inside, looking at fundamental concepts and then move outside to demo tools and techniques appropriate for gardeners growing on just a small patch, but also used by production farms of all sizes. Specific topics include:


  • Planning what to grow and ordering seeds

  • Fertility and Tillage

  • Starting Seeds and Planting

  • Cultivating, weeding, pests and diseases

  • Irrigating

  • Harvesting

  • Crop by crop specifics

Demonstrations in the Garden

  • Tillage tools and techniques

  • Cultivation tools and techniques

  • Seed starting and growing seedlings

  • Direct seeding

  • Setting up irrigation systems

  • Building compost piles

Thursday, April 14
Registration required, $95 fee
6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School
4043 NE Fremont

Saturday, April 16 (included, no extra fee)
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Site TBA


Get dirty with your tools and create healthy soil

Appropriate tools and healthy soil are the foundation for a successful garden. Instructor Will Newman co-founded the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust and is a certified Permaculture instructor. Will is an expert on soils from his experience at Soil Foodweb Inc., a world-leading soil biology testing laboratory, where he studied soil biology, nutrient transfer, and the soil food web's role in supporting healthy, productive plants.

Register for Will's classes here.

All About Tools

This class will provide the basic knowledge needed to know which tools are needed in growing plants, how they should be used, and the advantage of keeping tools in good repair. You’ll also learn what is necessary for proper maintenance of your tool collection.

Thursday, April 28
Registration required, $25 fee
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School
4043 NE Fremont


Soils 101: Building Healthy Soil

This class will open your eyes to the wonder of healthy, balanced soils and their role in supporting healthy, vibrant, productive plants, while suppressing weeds, insects and diseases. Whether you are new to growing or have years of experience, you will learn what good soil is, and how to bring your soil into balance for growing abundant plants.

Thursday, May 5
Registration required, $25 fee
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School
4043 NE Fremont


Soils 201: Maintaining Healthy Soil

For the new or experienced grower, this class will give you the tools you can use in maintaining balanced, healthy soils in order to consistently grow healthy, productive, bountiful plants and avoid disease and insect damage. This class will cover making and using good compost in the Portland metro area, and the roles of mulches and compost tea.

Thursday, May 19
Registration required, $25 fee
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Beaumont Middle School
4043 NE Fremont


Have even more time for garden education?

Take a series of classes to learn how to grow food in your corner of the city, taught by the gardening experts from Oregon Tilth. Register for the Urban Gardener Series here.

Urban Gardener Series

If you’re an urban dweller looking for new ways to increase your garden yields and grow more food in a limited space, this 3-class series is for you! Learn space saving strategies for urban gardens, including intensive techniques, container gardening and year round growing methods. For beginning and intermediate gardeners.

Register for all three classes: $95

Class 1: Intensive Vegetable Gardening
The goal of intensive gardening is to harvest the most produce possible from a given space.
Wednesday, April 20
Registration required, $35 fee

Class 2: Container and Vertical Vegetable Gardening
Attend this class to learn how to grow bountiful vegetables in containers and utilize vertical gardening methods to save space in your garden.
Wednesday, May 18
Registration required, $35 fee

Class 3: Year-Round Vegetable Gardening
Early summer is the best time to prepare your soil and begin planting for a year-round food garden.
Wednesday, June 8
Registration required, $35 fee

Find even more fun opportunities at

North, Northwest Portland neighbors offer free Solarize Workshops

BPS E-News Issue 10

North and Northwest Portland area homeowners can join hundreds of Portland households controlling their energy costs by investing in solar electricity. And, they now have a helping hand to guide them through the steps of a home installation. Solarize Northwest and Solarize North Portland are two new grassroots, community-based projects coordinated by Neighbors West-Northwest and North Portland Neighborhood Services.

Free workshops makes going solar easy and affordable

Solarize Portland neighborhood projects are designed to simplify the process of going solar and bring cost reductions through volume purchasing. Free workshops make the process easy to understand by covering topics such as the size of system to purchase, budgeting and financing, and how to get started.

Solarize Northwest

Introductory Workshop
Saturday, March 5

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Legacy Good Samaritan, Building 2
1015 NW 22nd Ave

Solarize North Portland

Introductory Workshop
Tuesday, March 29

6:30 - 8 p.m.
Kenton Firehouse
8105 N Brandon Ave

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the nonprofit organization Energy Trust of Oregon are working together to support the launch of Solarize Northwest and North Portland, and can help any Portland neighborhood associations or groups interested in operating Solarize projects. For these two projects, the City of Portland is providing strategic assistance and coordination, and Energy Trust is providing technical assistance and cash incentives to help lower the upfront cost of the solar electric systems. Also, Solar Oregon is offering educational workshops and providing database services.

In addition, any Portland homeowner or business can call our Solar Energy team at 503.823.7581, for free technical assistance when considering a solar installation.

Central City 2035 continues symposium series

BPS E-News Issue 10

After six successful symposiums, Central City 2035 (CC2035) continues its series of issue-specific discussions (symposiums) in March 2011. With these symposiums, you have a chance to learn about and contribute to the future of Portland's Central City.

The two next opportunities to learn more about Portland's Central City are:

Mobility Symposium #2
Friday, March 11, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Portland, OR 97201

Economic Vitality Symposium #2
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
PDC – 222 NW 5th Avenue, Commission Room

Portland, OR 97209

The symposiums will feature discussion among stakeholders and experts on critical questions regarding mobility and economic vitality in the Central City. The CC2035 Advisory Group will integrate the results of the symposiums into a draft concept plan.

These topics are just two of the integrated themes under discussion about the Central City, including:

  • Housing and Community Development

  • Mobility

  • Economic Vitality

  • Civic and Cultural Life

  • Historic Preservation

  • Urban Ecosystems

  • The Willamette River

  • Urban Design

  • Public Safety

Take a look at the CC2035 calendar of events for more opportunities to learn about and contribute to CC2035, including the dates for each specific theme. Continue to check the CC2035 website for updates to the symposium series.

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.

About CC2035

Central City 2035 (CC2035) is an update to the 1988 Central City Plan, which is the existing plan and policy for downtown and central areas of Portland, Oregon. In coordination with the Portland Plan, CC2035 will address challenges and opportunities in the Central City to ensure that this unique economic, transportation, cultural and educational hub will be a vibrant resource for all Portlanders over the next 25 years.

From your Regional Green Building Hotline: Old buildings work very well, thank you

BPS E-News Issue 10

Old buildings are rich, working reminders of the past that shaped us and also provide unique opportunities for innovative preservation and retrofit.  We can preserve our region’s architectural heritage by adapting and rehabilitating for today’s needs and future uses. Looking through lenses of sustainability, reuse, conservation and historic preservation we find ways of conserving precious resources, preserving our buildings and job creation and retention.

Living wage construction preservation jobs require training and skills and cannot be outsourced.  These job types include deconstruction, restoration, salvage, period reproduction, manufacturing and adaptive reuse as well as the trades like carpentry, plumbing and weatherization.  

Historic homes and commercial structures were often built with materials and detailing that is not economically feasible today, or the construction skills have now been lost.  Building materials include old growth fir, cast iron storefronts, terracotta façade detailing, massive solid wood beams, and wavy window glass.  Respecting and celebrating these materials and craftsmanship ensures diverse streetscapes, creates living architectural laboratories and community livability.

What is Embodied energy?  Why should you care?

Embodied energy is the total of all the energy required to grow, harvest, extract, manufacture, refine, process, package, transport, install and dispose of a product or building material. When a building is demolished with no plans for reclamation, this energy that was paid for by past generations is lost. Reusing an existing building or its components, having a recycling plan in place and educating sub-contractors on the jobsite to recycle and minimize waste all contribute to a high waste reduction and reuse goal.  

Portland is home to several commercial buildings that have been adapted and restored and now garnering high office and event space rents:  Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center, Mercy Corps Global Headquarters, The LeftBank Project, Gerding Theater at the Armory, Morgan Building and White Stag Block.  

Healthy, connected neighborhoods, also known as “twenty-minute neighborhoods,” aim for compact communities where amenities like schools, places of worship and retail are located within a walking, biking or wheelchair distance of twenty minutes.  It is a component of smart growth.  Older neighborhoods developed before the popularity of automobiles have diversity and density from varied small local business and community uses.  Retail storefronts in low-scale buildings are interwoven alongside homes, apartments, schools and libraries.  Some old Portland neighborhoods featuring compact development include Hawthorne-Belmont, Alberta Arts, St. Johns, Kenton, Multnomah Village and North Mississippi Avenue.

Want to know more?

Visit the Regional Green Building Hotline’s new Sustainable Preservation page at

The Regional Green Building Hotline provides comprehensive green building resources and technical info for Metro region and is sponsored by the following partners: Metro, Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Washington County and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Call 503-823-5431 or visit for free assistance with your questions about green building.