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BPS News: New rebate opportunity to pay 50 to 75 percent of energy upgrade costs

Portland’s small businesses will benefit from today’s launch of “Bucks for Buildings”

Media Contact:
Christine Llobregat
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Portland City Council is slated to vote on a new energy rebate offering, Bucks for Buildings, that will help Portland’s small businesses save energy and money. Starting today, owners can apply to be considered for this limited-time rebate, pending Council consideration on February 13, that will reduce the cost of making energy-efficiency improvements to their buildings by as much as 75 percent.

“Small businesses make up 92 percent of the businesses in Portland,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Bucks for Buildings will help us build stronger, more resilient neighborhood businesses by lowering their operating costs.”

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability created the new project with funding through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood program.

“Partners in the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program are leading by example, showing firsthand how energy efficiency improvements can save money by saving energy,” said Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy. “The investments they’ve made through this program are helping to cut energy waste while saving American businesses millions in energy costs, creating jobs nationwide and helping to position the United States to lead in the global economy.”

Details of Rebate Opportunity

  • This rebate will cover up to 50 percent of the cost of eligible energy-efficiency improvements made to Portland buildings up to 50,000 square feet in total size.
  • Non-profit organizations will be eligible for a rebate of up to 75 percent of project costs.
  • Eligible improvements include insulation, heating and cooling equipment, lighting and controls, and food service equipment.
  • A fund of $300,000 will be available for these rebates, which will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • For more information call 503-823-3919 or visit:

Rebate Eligibility Criteria

  • Available to owners and tenants of commercial buildings that are located withinPortlandcity limits and are 50,000 square feet or less in total size.
  • Rebates will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last.
  • Rebates available from $1,000 to $30,000 per project.
  • Improvements must meet Energy Star® or Energy Trust of Oregon efficiency standards.
  • Work must be performed by an approved contractor.
  • Additional restrictions apply.

Not Sure What Upgrades are Needed?

There’s even more help on the way to determine the most cost-effective investment: For a limited time, BPS is offering a free energy assessment for buildings 10,000 square feet and under. From this assessment businesses will receive a report that prioritizes energy upgrades, estimates savings and identifies relevant tax credits and financial incentives. For eligibility and enrollment information, visit


Interested business owners or property managers may contact the Bucks for Buildings Project Coordinator, Marlowe Kulley, at 503-823-3919 or

Portland’s businesses of all sizes can continue to save money, use greener products and technologies, cut costs and gain efficiencies through the Sustainability at Work program at BPS. Visit

Recommended Historic Resources Code Amendments Now Available

With the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s recommendation, the Historic Resource Code Improvement Project moves on to City Council.

The recommended code amendments will be considered by City Council at a public hearing on Feb. 27, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall (1221 SW 4th Ave). Your comments are appreciated in person or via:

Fax: (503) 823-4571 (attn Council Clerk)
Mail: 1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 140, Portland, OR 97204.

Read the Recommended Historic Resources Code Amendments

The goal of the Historic Resources Code Improvement Project is to streamline the regulatory process around historic resource review. The project team has been looking at ways to create a quicker, easier-to-understand and more predictable review process for projects with minor impacts on historic resources, as well as clarifying code definitions and other code clean-up measures.

On Jan. 22, 2013, the Planning and Sustainability Commission held a public hearing to consider the Proposed Historic Resources Code Improvement Project Zoning Code Amendments and voted to forward a package of recommended Zoning Code Amendments to City Council.

What happens next?

The code amendments will be effective 37 days after the final City Council hearing. The code amendments may also allow the Bureau of Development Services to reduce historic review fees for smaller projects in the near future.

For more information about the project and how to get involved, please visit the project website at or call (503) 823-5869.

Barbur Concept Plan is ready to roll: Download the February proposed draft here

Public hearing date set for proposed Barbur Concept Plan

On Feb. 26, 2013, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) will hold a public hearing on the proposed Barbur Concept Plan . This plan identifies seven catalytic focus areas — places where there is a community desire for change — and establishes a unifying vision for this historic transportation corridor as a more walkable, vibrant place.

The vision takes advantage of existing strengths in each area, situated in four unique segments  (Lair Hill, The Woods, Historic Highway and Far Southwest) and proposes several big ideas to correct current deficiencies and promote public and private investment.

The vision is supported by an economic analysis of what the market would support and when. The report’s key finding is that future high capacity transit (HCT) is a necessary ingredient to making the vision real. Attracting substantial private investment will likely require a significant change to the look and feel of Barbur that only an investment in HCT can deliver.

Barbur Boulevard’s Past

Barbur was first a railroad route that was converted to an auto boulevard in the 1920s, linking downtown to other parts of the southwest. When Barbur became part of the state highway system (99W), early commercial development was tailored to the automobile and traveler services. When I-5 was built in the 1950s, Barbur continued to serve regional traffic, but without the funding and attention that a standalone highway might receive. Consequently, the southwest neighborhoods continue to advocate for basic pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. With Metro's SW Corridor Plan, the time is right to consider how to complete this roadway’s transformation from a rail line, to a highway, and now to a civic corridor that offers an enjoyable place for people to live, work, play and learn.

What’s Next?

After the hearing, the PSC will make their recommendation to City Council, which will adopt the plan by resolution and direct City staff to craft coordinated amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code and capital improvement plans. These legislative actions will need to correspond to future regional decisions related to high capacity transit and other major infrastructure investment in the southwest corridor over the next 2-5 years. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City can take advantage of opportunities when they arise to move the community's shared vision forward.

A copy of the proposed concept plan is now available!


BPS changes Planning and Sustainability Commission work session calendar for WHI

The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) has completed two work sessions on WHI, discussing environmental impacts, and community health and transportation concerns. The PSC has requested additional time to discuss a number of topics from these initial work sessions. This will occur on Feb. 26, 2013. The topics to be discussed include: the proposed truck cap; open space ownership; the timing of the proposed manufactured home park fund; the Port’s proposed sustainability policy; and floodplain mitigation. 

On March 26, the PSC will have the final work session to discuss economics and finance. Staff will release a new draft plan and IGA in early April, with hearings at the PSC moving to May.

The updates to the WHI schedule look like this:

  • Feb. 26, 6 - 9 p.m.: Continued work session and recommendations for environmental, community health and transportation (topics noted above)
  • March 26, 6 - 9 p.m.: Final work session (economics and finances)
  • April 5: New draft plan released
  • April 9: PSC Briefing on draft plan
  • PSC hearing and recommendations: May – Specific date(s) and time(s) TBD

Please check the PSC calendar for meeting agendas and times for WHI discussions.