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BPS E-News: City of Portland joins Kilowatt Crackdown competition

BPS E-News, November 2012

Portland’s commercial building owners and managers usually compete for tenants — but now they’re competing for energy savings, and the City of Portland is joining in, too. In late October, Portland City Council adopted a resolution that commits the City of Portland to working with commercial building owners and managers in Portland to improve building performance. Resolution 1231 directs the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Office of Management and Finance to enter the Portland Building and City Hall in the Kilowatt Crackdown energy efficiency competition for commercial office buildings.

“Commercial buildings consume considerable amounts of energy, and cities around the country are mandating that large office building owners benchmark their buildings and disclose their energy performance publicly,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “We decided to try a different approach — a more cooperative and market-based approach by showing the rest of the country that there are market reasons for doing this work — and that we can improve performance because it makes financial sense.”

Kilowatt Crackdown competition aims to save over 8 million kilowatt hours

Kilowatt Crackdown is the energy-saving competition where ‘every building wins,’ and the recruitment goal is 150 commercial office buildings. Over 20 buildings have signed up so far. New participants will find helpful tools and resources, including:

  • Free “Energy Coach” to help develop energy saving initiatives.
  • Free ENERGY STAR training, technical support, and data review.
  • Advice on best practices to reduce energy use and operating costs.
  • Metro-wide recognition for participating.


The competition includes a new website, and social media tools so participants can follow colleagues’ progress on Facebook, and Twitter, #kilowattcrackdown.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, buildings in theUnited Statesaccount for more than 40 percent of total energy consumption, and about 72 percent of electricity consumption. If current trends continue, it is estimated that buildings will be the largest global energy consumers by 2025.


Free training in December


8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

BOMAOregon, NEEA¹s BetterBricks and the City of Portland offer this workshop for building owners, property managers and service providers to improve the energy performance of Portland's buildings. This hands-on session will teach participants how to benchmark your building¹s energy performance using the free on-line tool ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Workshop participants will create an account in Portfolio Manager and begin the initial energy performance rating for their building with individual guidance from an experienced benchmarking instructor and technical assistants. Participants are welcome to bring data from their own buildings to the session. A data collection sheet will be emailed to you prior to the workshop. Sample building data will be available for participants who do not bring their own data. Participants will learn about technical and financial resources available from BetterBricks and their local utility to plan and implement energy conservation projects.


Allie Robbins, Bonneville Power Administration, KLJC

About the Building Performance Partnership

NEEA’s BetterBricks, is the commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, which is supported by local electric utilities. Through the BetterBricks initiative, NEEA advocates for changes to energy-related business practices in the Northwest buildings. In this era of heightened appreciation for the impact climate change is having on our environment and our economy, energy efficiency is a crucial component in addressing global warming.

BOMA Oregon, is the industry’s leading commercial real estate organization, representing over 30 million square feet of commercial real estate inOregon. Through a strong membership base, leadership, networking, advocacy and professional development, BOMA Oregon is the voice of the commercial real estate industry.

City of Portland Bureauof Planning and Sustainability (BPS), develops innovative and practical solutions to create and enhance a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable city. The bureau provides: Citywide strategic and comprehensive land use planning; neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental research, planning and urban design; policy and services to advance energy efficiency, green building, waste reduction, composting and recycling, solar and renewable energy use, and local sustainable food production; as well as actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

Clark Public Utilities, is a NEEA funder and customer-owned utility providing electric and water service inClark County,Washington. A public utility district organized under the laws of the state ofWashington, the utility was formed by a vote of the people in 1938. The utility currently provides electric service to more than 184,000 customers and water service to more than 30,000 homes and businesses.

Energy Trust of Oregon, is a NEEA funder and independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable energy. Services, cash incentives and solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save more than $1 billion on their energy bills. The organization’s work helps keep energy costs as low as possible and builds a sustainable energy future.

BPS E-News: 26th annual Fix-It Fair season kicks off

BPS E-News, November 2012

Learn simple and affordable ways to save money and be healthy at home


The Fix-It Fair offers a full lineup of workshops to help you keep your home safe and in good repair (and save you money), but did you know the fairs also offer workshops focused on improving your health? In these classes, learn how to identify and reduce toxins like lead or mold, make your own safe and effective cleaning products, and healthy cooking tips.

In addition, some exciting features for this season include:

  • Guided Tree Tour with Portland Parks and Recreation – this fun tree walk will cover examples of mature tree care, tree hazards, street tree selection and pruning young trees.
  • OMSI’s Local Voices, Clever Choices – at this exhibit, hear real-life stories (Local Voices) or play a game (Clever Choices) to see how everyday decisions add up to make a big difference in sustainable living!

Special workshops taught in Spanish are offered at the Ron Russell Fair in February.

The 2012 – 2013 Fix-It Fair schedule:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

MadisonHigh School

2735 NE 82nd Ave

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Self Enhancement, INC.

3920 N Kerby Ave

Saturday, February 23, 2013 ¡Clases en español!

RonRussellMiddle School

3955 SE 112th Ave

To find out more information about scheduled workshops, visit En español:

Paraespañol, llame 503-823-4000

To receive information and reminders on upcoming fairs, e-mail

About the Fix-It Fairs

Fix-It Fairs are free events where you can learn simple and effective ways to save money at home and stay healthy this winter and beyond. Featuring exhibits from over 30 community partners, these events also include hourly workshops. Experts will be available to talk with you about water and energy savings, home and personal health, food and nutrition, community resources, recycling and yard care, lead testing, bike tune-ups and more! Free professional childcare and lunch are provided at all Fairs.

The Fix-It Fairs are presented by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with support from the following sponsors: Energy Trust of Oregon,LegacyEmmanuelMedicalCenter, Pacific Power, Portland Housing Bureau and Portland General Electric.

To help ensure equal access to City programs, services and activities, the City of Portland will reasonably modify policies/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services to persons with disabilities. Call 503-823-4309 with such requests.

BPS E-News: Good news comes to those who wait: Supreme Court Rules on River Plan

BPS E-News, November 2012

On Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the City of Portland’s River Plan / North Reach, which had been legally challenged by a consortium of riverfront industries. The decision means that the City can lawfully regulate development along the Willamette River.

The River Plan team within the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability worked collaboratively for many years with a variety of stakeholders to develop a plan that fairly balances local economic development goals and natural resource protection. The River Plan / North Reach was adopted unanimously by City Council in April of 2010. It was immediately appealed to the state Land Use Board of Appeals by Gunderson, Schnitzer and other members of the Working Waterfront Coalition. They subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals and finally the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruling affirms the City of Portland's authority — and that of all cities along the Willamette River Greenway — to adopt zoning regulations that balance local economic development and natural resource goals.

For more information about the ruling, please see Mayor Sam Adams’ announcement.


BPS E-News: Vision for Barbur Boulevard is coming into focus

BPS E-News, November 2012

From its inception as a railroad line, then as an early tourism route, and later as a mid-century highway,Barbur Boulevardhas provided a vital transportation link from the Central City toSouthwest Portland. But ever since I-5 replaced the functionality of Barbur as the primary route through the Southwest, the adjacent neighborhoods have pondered how Barbur could be transformed into a place of civic pride.

A new vision for the corridor is coming into view, with the help of the Barbur Concept Plan Community Working Group (CWG). On Thursday, Nov. 29, the CWG and City staff will present the draft concept plan for the Barbur Corridor at a community forum in the Multnomah Art Center. There the project team will give a brief overview of the process and corridor wide concept, and participants will be able to weigh in on possible development concepts for seven focus areas along Barbur, including PCC-Sylvania, Crossroads, 26th Avenue, Capitol Hill, 13th Avenue, Hamilton, and the Kelly Area. Participants will also help identify other critical recommendations that will transform Barbur into a more vibrant, walkable and enjoyable place to work and live.

Input from this community forum will be used to shape and refine the final concept plan, which will then be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, Metro, TriMet, ODOT and ultimately City Council in the winter.

Background and Technical Work

The Barbur Concept Plan project brought together stakeholders from each of the affected neighborhoods, local businesses and other advocates into the CWG, which met over 14 months to discuss various issues that might impede change and to deliberate on a shared vision for the future of the corridor. Their work was shared and vetted with the public in two community forums.

Recognizing that ultimately it’s the property owners and real estate market conditions that determine if and when new projects are built, the project team tested scenarios for seven different focus areas against current and projected market conditions.

The addition of certain amenities can influence market conditions. For example, street trees, full-width sidewalks, retail activity, stormwater improvements and access to trails and parks would all affect when and if the projected level of development could be supported by the market. Likewise, the introduction of reliable high-capacity transit could have a significant effect on the market. These influencing factors were analyzed to understand the interplay between regional investments in transit and infrastructure and redevelopment opportunities.

In addition to summarizing the market analysis and catalyzing focus areas, the concept plan includes a series of recommendations and implementation tools to guide and react to future decisions related to infrastructure and transit investments. This will ensure that Barbur, the adjoining neighborhoods and the City are positioned to take advantage of opportunities when they arise in a manner that forwards the community's shared vision.

For more information about the Barbur Concept Plan and the Community Forum, please visit

Relationship between the Barbur Concept Plan and the Southwest Corridor Plan

The Southwest Corridor Plan is a multi-jurisdictional effort focusing on the corridor betweenSouthwest Portlandand Sherwood. This effort examines land use, transportation improvements and strategies for improving the built environment. Priorities are to increase prosperity, health and mobility within and through the corridor. The Barbur Concept plan is a subset of the Southwest Corridor Plan, providing land use analysis and identifying key transportation and other infrastructure improvements.

Get involved in the Southwest Corridor Plan

Join Metro and project partner agencies from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3 to learn about projected areas of growth in the corridor, discuss potential transit improvements and provide input on how investments will be made in your community.

You can also share your priorities for the SW Corridor using the online tool "shape Southwest" until December 31. "Shape Southwest" gives you the opportunity to share your ideas about how to invest limited resources in transportation improvements, parks and habitat, sidewalks, bikeways and roads. See how these investments affect safety, health, prosperity, access and mobility, while giving commuters better options to get where they need to go.

For more information on the Southwest Corridor Plan project or to participate in the Shape Southwest online tool, please visit the website at

BPS E-News: Public forum on new apartments/parking draws crowd

BPS E-News, November 2012

New apartments with little or no off-street parking are popping up along main street corridors and frequent transit lines in inner neighborhoods, which is raising concerns about the impact this new construction may have on the surrounding streets and neighborhoods. 

In response to community concerns, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability conducted a series of studies to determine the facts about community impacts. The results of these studies were the subject of a public forum with the Planning and Sustainability Commission on November 13. More than 150 people attended and nearly 40 people provided testimony to the commissioners.

Staff are compiling the comments from the forum and will present the study results and a summary of the commentary to the Neighborhood Centers Policy Expert Group for the Comprehensive Plan Update, who will discuss the issue in their December and January meetings.

For more information about the parking studies and the forum, please visit Questions? Please contact Matt Wickstrom at 503-823-2834.