City of Portland, Oregon – Why Portland?
APWA is very excited to be taking the 2011 Conference on Sustainability in Public Works to one of the most sustainable cities in the country. With its mild June temps, walkability and wonderful conference facility the Hilton Portland, the 2011 Conference promises to be the best yet.
TriMet, the regional transit authority for Portland metro area, operates efficient bus, light rail and streetcar service. Voted the “Best Transit Agency in America” by the American Public Transit Association, TriMet oversees a network of 600 buses and three light rail lines that provide more than 310,000 trips per day. Visit www.trimet.org or call 503.238.RIDE to easily obtain route maps, fare information, and tips on riding. The Airport MAX light rail station is located adjacent to the south end of baggage claim, and is distinguished by a permanent canopy. The MAX light rail will stops just two blocks from the Hilton Portland with an affordable fare of $2.30 (current 2010 rate) http://trimet.org/
A personable downtown, half-size city blocks and plentiful public art make Portland the ideal city to explore on foot. In fact, in 2006, Prevention magazine ranked Portland “America’s Best Walking Town”. Vibrant neighborhoods, shopping districts and parks keep Portland’s downtown lively, even on evenings and weekends.
Portland was ranked #1 in Safety by Travel & Leisure in November 2009. However, with any big city caution should be used.
Set against the backdrop of majestic Mount Hood, Portland combines a sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere with refreshingly friendly, small town warmth. Whether in groups or individually, visitors can cruise the scenic rivers, stroll through gardens and parks, shop tax-free in a tempting array of stores and boutiques, then wrap up the day with world-calls dining and entertainment. Some of our most popular Downtown attractions include Lan Su Chinese Garden, Oregon Historical Society, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Maritime Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and Washington Park (which includes the Oregon Zoo, Pittock Mansion, Portland Children’s Museum, Portland Japanese Garden and World Forestry Center – Discovery Museum).
Portland has become a magnet for innovative chefs inspired by the variety of produce harvested within a 60-mile radius of the city. With more than 40 different types of cuisines, from Thai, Indian and Ethiopian to Hawaiian, Caribbean and Pan-Asian, there are great picks for any palate.
Arrive a couple days prior or stay after the conference to enjoy all Portland has to offer.
Sustainability and Green Meetings
Portland is a leader in Green Meetings. Travel Portland was the first Convention & Visitors Bureau to join the Green Meeting Industry Council. Travel Portland has an entire website dedicated to ensuring our conference will be as “green” as it possibly can. Please visit: http://greenmeetings.travelportland.com
City Recycling Program
Portland's residential garbage and recycling service is provided by 21 private garbage and recycling companies franchised by the City of Portland. Garbage rates and rules for garbage collection are set by the City. Garbage and recycling companies bill homeowners and landlords directly. Property owners/managers are required to provide garbage and recycling service adequate for the number of households. The centrally located collection area will have a two-sort recycling system for glass and commingled paper, plastic and metal. For all building projects within the City where the total job cost (including both demolition and construction phases) exceeds $50,000, the general contractor shall ensure that 75 percent of the solid waste produced on the job site is recycled.
City Sustainability Plan
The draft 2009 Climate Action Plan was updated to incorporate key findings from the public comment process. Portland City Council adopted the revised Plan on October 28, 2009. This adoption sets in place our community’s ambitious sustainability roadmap to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. You can view the Climate Action Plan online at http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=41460.
More than 315 miles (510 km) of developed bikeways accommodate leisure bicyclists and the nation’s highest percentage of bike commuters, helping Portland earn the designation of Platinum-level Bicycle-Friendly Community from the League of American Cyclists. The Bicycle Master Plan approved by City Council in February 2010 increases the network of planned bikeways to 962 miles.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction & Recycling
- In 1993, Portland became the first U.S. city to adopt a Global Warming Action Plan. By 2005, Portland and surrounding Multnomah County had seen a 12.5% per capita reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, with overall emissions growth of less than 1%—an achievement likely unequalled in any other major U.S. city. Per capita emissions in the United States have increased slightly over the same period, with total greenhouse gas emissions up 13 percent.
- In 2007, the City adopted the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels in the City by 50% by 2030.
- In 2000, the Portland City Council created an Office of Sustainable Development (now Bureau of Planning and Sustainability), one of the first city agencies dedicated to sustainability in the nation.
- Portlanders recycle 63 percent of their waste, one of the highest rates in the nation.
- Oregon introduced the ﬁrst bottle bill in the United States in 1971.
- Portland, through a grant with The Climate Trust, has retimed trafﬁc signals at 150 intersections to reduce fuel consumption by 1.1 million gallons of gas per year and decrease CO2 emissions by 9,500 tons (8,618 metric tons) per year.
- Portland's "smart" parking meters are solar-powered, accept credit cards and stand one per block. A sticker is issued for each vehicle and is transferable to other spaces.
- Portland is the birthplace of car-sharing in the United States. Today, Portland's Zipcar members enjoy access to a ﬂeet of more than 200 vehicles located throughout the metro area. According to Zipcar, each vehicle in its fleet replaces an estimated 15 privately owned cars.
Urban Planning & Sustainable Building Practices
- By law, all Oregon cities must establish an urban growth boundary, beyond which urban development is prohibited. The UGB significantly reduces urban sprawl, encourages the reuse of neighborhoods (as opposed to abandoning and building new elsewhere), and is one of the primary reasons that Portland’s downtown remains vital.
- Thanks to unusually short city blocks (200 feet), and a “Clear Vista” law that requires that at least 50% of street-level all new or remodeled walls shall be devoted to interest-creating features, Portland is known for its walkability.
- Portland boasts 10,000 acres of parkland within its city limits, including the largest forested-area within city limits in the nation (Forest Park.)
- Portland currently boasts the most LEED-certiﬁed buildings per capita in the nation.
- The first convention center in the nation to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Existing Buildings) certification, the Oregon Convention Center features a "Rain Garden" that collects storm water from the facility's roof and ﬁlters it through an attractive system of rock terraces, pools, and soil, helping to prevent environmental pollutants from reaching the adjacent Willamette River. The Convention Center is also certified "Salmon Safe."
- Ecotrust's Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center is the ﬁrst gold-level LEED-certiﬁed building in Oregon and the ﬁrst gold-level LEED-certiﬁed historic restoration in the nation.
- The City of Portland green building program offers a variety of technical and financial green building assistance to both commercial and residential building projects. Portland is the first City in the country to create a Green Investment Fund, a five-year, $2.5 million grant-based fund given to commercial, industrial or residential projects demonstrating innovative green technologies and practices.
- No. 1, “Environmental Friendliness” – Travel + Leisure (September 2009)
- No. 1, “Best Places to Meet Green” – MeetGreen Meeting Consultants (September 2009)
- No. 1, "5 of the Greenest Cities in the World to Visit"–TreeHugger.com (June 2009)
- No. 3, "Least Wasteful Cities in America"–Nalgene Outdoor (June 2009)
- No. 6, “Fittest Cities in America” – Men’s Fitness (February 2009)
- No. 1, “Most eco-friendly big cities in America” – SustainLane.com (September 2008)
- No. 2, "World's Greenest City" – Country Home magazine (March 2008)
- No. 1, "Greenest City in America" – Popular Science (February 2008)
- No. 2, "World's Greenest City" – Grist (July 2007)
- No. 2, "America's Greenest City" – MSN.com (2007)
- Inaugural recipient, Solar America Cities Award – U.S. Department of Energy (2007)
- One of the cleanest U.S. cities for ozone air pollution – American Lung Association (2007)
- No. 1, "Environmental Awareness" – CNN/Travel + Leisure (2007)
- No. 2, "10 Greenest Cities in America" – MSN.com City Guides (2007)
- Cleanest environment of any U.S. city of comparable size, and No. 3 overall in America – Earth Day Network (2007)
- Top 10 Greenest Cities – Yahoo! Real Estate (2007)
- No. 1 in nation for biking to work – U.S. Census Bureau (2007)
- No. 1 most sustainable big city in America – SustainLane.com (2006)
- "Best Walking Town in America" – Prevention magazine (April 2006)
- "America's Cleanest City" – Reader's Digest (2006)
- "North America's No. 1 Cycling City" – Bicycling magazine (2006 and 2001)
- "20 Greenest Cities & Towns" – Vegetarian Times (July/August 2005)
- America's "Best running town" and "Best urban running trail: the Leif Erickson Trail" – Runner's World (May 2003)
- "The City of Portland has a nationally recognized reputation for green building innovation and outreach." – U.S. Green Building Council (2003)
- "Top Recycler Among the Nation's 30 Largest Cities" – Waste News (2001)
- Portland's Forest Park ranked "Best urban park" in the nation – Outside magazine (October 2001)