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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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Creating new opportunities: Growing and distributing healthy food

BPS E-News Issue 10

The Food Policy Program has a full plate, as you can see by the articles elsewhere in this issue on our Urban Growth Bounty series and food zoning code review. In addition to city planning for better access and educational outreach, we continue to work with residents and businesses to create new opportunities for growing and distributing food. Good health is a cornerstone of sustainability and expanding our options for good food improves personal, environmental and economic health.
One notable project is a partnership with Mercy Corp Northwest's Agriculture Project. Nepalese refugees from Bhutan are growing a wide range of organic vegetable crops on city-owned land that had not been used for more than five years. The families are growing food for personal use and selling their produce to Reed College and farm shares through their own Growers Alliance CSA (community-supported agriculture). If you’re interested in a share (pickups are in Sellwood/Brooklyn and Old Town), contact them at 503-896-5076.

In addition to helping urban residents grow their own food, BPS builds awareness of the importance of supporting local farmers and provides technical assistance farmers markets and CSA farms. Several new farmers markets will open this year and you will find them (and a complete list of CSA farms) at

If your group is interested in hearing more about food’s role in our lives, we’d be happy to schedule a speaker. Call Steve Cohen, 503-823-4225 for details.

City Council accepting comments on Citywide Tree Project until March 9

BPS E-News Issue 10

A "natural capital asset," Portland's trees provide benefits worth millions of dollars per year, and their replacement value is roughly $5 billion, according to a recent Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau study. Other studies show that neighborhood trees can increase home resale values, lower crime rates and improve physical and mental health.

In response to neighborhood concerns about the state of Portland's tree rules and loss of trees to development, the Portland City Council launched the Citywide Tree Project in 2007.

Working closely with community stakeholders for more than three years, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability led a multi-bureau effort to review and revamp the existing rules for trees.

Last year, the Portland Planning Commission and Urban Forestry Commission held a public hearing on an initial draft proposal. The commissions heard broad community support for stronger tree protection and replacement requirements. And developers expressed concern about the potential impact of the rules on project cost and housing affordability.

The two commissions subsequently worked with City bureaus to further hone and streamline the proposal. As a result, the proposal before the City Council:

  • Consolidates the City's tree rules into a single new code title, which makes them easier to find, understand and administer.

  • Strengthens tree preservation and planting requirements the City applies when new development is proposed.

  • Includes specific exemptions and added flexibility to minimize development costs and make it easier to preserve trees on development sites.

  • Standardizes and streamlines the existing tree permit system to encourage retention of large healthy trees where practical, and to ensure that larger trees are replaced when removed anywhere in the city.

  • Provides for enhanced customer service through a single point of contact for public inquiries and permit processing, a 24-hour tree hotline and a community tree manual.

On Feb. 2, 2011, the Portland City Council launched a public hearing on the Citywide Tree Project Recommended Draft (dated December 2010). At the hearing, Council heard extensive testimony from Portland residents, neighborhood representatives, developer representatives, community organizations and public agencies. Mayor Sam Adams, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and City staff introduced a number of amendments to the proposal as well.

City Council is still accepting public testimony on the draft and proposed amendments until Wednesday, March 9 at 2 p.m., when they will continue the hearing and consider amendments to the proposal.

The draft proposal, proposed amendments, written testimony and instructions for how to testify are posted at

If you have questions about the Citywide Tree Project or proposed amendments please contact Roberta Jortner (503) 823-7855, Morgan Tracy (503) 823-6879, or Stephanie Beckman (503) 823-6042.

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.

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