Portland Oregon’s Green Initiatives & Leadership
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Oregon blazed the trail for sustainability back in 1971, when it was the first state to legislate refundable deposits on bottles and cans. Since then, Portland, the state’s largest city, has embraced the challenge with a wide array of environmentally focused laws, policies and practices. Want the ultimate eco-souvenir? Take one of these ideas home and enact it in your community.
- With light rail service between the airport and downtown, and the Portland Streetcar connecting Northwest Portland, downtown, the Pearl District, the convention center and the central east side, Portland’s public transportation is accessible and affordable.
- More than 315 miles (510 km) of developed bikeways accommodate leisure bicyclists and the nation’s highest percentage of bike commuters (7%), helping Portland earn the designation of Platinum-level Bicycle-Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists.
- The first U.S. city to implement car-sharing, Portland has also timed traffic signals to reduce annual gas consumption by 1.75 million gallons — equivalent to more than 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
- Portland’s 1980 Urban Growth Boundary — one of the first of its kind — prevents sprawl. The plan created a metro area that is compact, efficient and close to working farms and natural wonders.
- In 1978, a freeway running through downtown Portland was razed and converted into Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which makes up 29 of the city’s 10,000 acres (4,047 hectares) of parkland.
- Portland’s Oregon Convention Center, which was the nation’s first convention facility to receive LEED certification in 2004, became the first to be recertified at a higher level in 2008. The nearby Rose Garden, the city’s largest entertainment and sports arena, is LEED gold certified.
- The Climate Action Plan, adopted by the City of Portland and Multnomah County in 2009, calls on residents, businesses and government entities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
- Portland’s building policy encourages green design features, which has helped put the city in the top ten for most LEED-certified buildings in North America. These include the first LEED platinum building listed on the National Historic Register (Gerding Theater at the Armory) and the nation’s first urban skyscraper to feature wind turbines (Twelve | West).
- There are more than 20 farmers’ markets and 35 community gardens in Portland, providing fresh, locally sourced ingredients to the city’s acclaimed chefs. Portland’s many vegetarian-friendly restaurants make it easy to eat low on the food chain.
- Portland’s households and businesses recycle and compost 67 percent of waste generated — one of the highest rates in the country.
- Portland offers more than a dozen hotels with green certifications, as well as bountiful farm-to-fork dining options, environmentally conscious attractions and a thriving craft culture.
- Travel Portland maintains a database of green-certified hospitality partners to help visitors make sustainable travel plans.
- Travel Portland’s Green Team spearheads internal green initiatives and promotes sustainability efforts in the tourism industry. We also have a full-time public relations manager dedicated to sustainability.
- In 2010, Travel Portland earned the Portland Climate Champion award, which honors businesses that have taken comprehensive, concrete actions to reduce their carbon emissions. Travel Portland’s efforts include improving the energy efficiency of its business operations, providing alternative transportation options for employees and implementing a robust waste reduction and recycling program.
- No. 1, “Top Green Destinations” – Corporate Meetings & Incentives (July 2010)
- No. 2, “Top Sustainable U.S. Metros” – Site Selection magazine (July 2010)
- No. 2, “Best Bike Cities in America” – Bicycling magazine (April 2010)
- No. 1, “Green City” – American City Business Journals (March 2010)
- 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. 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)
With light rail service between the airport and downtown, and the Portland Streetcar connecting Northwest Portland, downtown, the Pearl District, the convention center and the central east side, Portland’s public transportation is accessible and affordable.