Portland: A World Leader in Green Living
Have you ever wondered how Portland came to be such a world leader as a green city? Firstly, we were the first city in the U.S. to adopt a Climate Action Plan (CAP). Secondly, we’re the first city to be hot on the trail of transitioning from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. Much credit must be given to the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS).
The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS)
Undeniably, we have some incredible people here in town making it happen. And together many of them run the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). So what sort of things has the BPS help accomplish and what sort of resources do they provide? We could consider them the best big brother who partners with the community and gets things done. Generally they take care of things like land use, urban planning, all things green building, and climate change policy throughout the city.
The BPS spurs on the Portland Plan
The BPS has been instrumental in meeting (and exceeding) all the checkpoints in the Portland Plan, and have had amazing results. In all, there are 142 actions in this plan. And with the help of other agencies and organizations, we’re ahead of schedule on changes. What changes? Particularly, things like working smarter, healthier, and more intentionally when it comes to taking care of this city. As a result, City Council calls their efforts a way to “forge a healthy, strategic path towards a prosperous, educated, healthy, and equitable city.” It’s our roadmap to safely arrive at 2035.
Think about these accomplishments:
- Carbon emissions are down 40% per person from 1990 levels
- Energy scores for commercial and residential buildings
- Skyrocketing job growth
- 20% rise in high school graduation rates
- Citywide tree canopy of 32% (exceeded target by 4%. Go Portland!)
- $3 billion growth in exports (Exports account for 16% of local economy, and are mostly computer and electronics)
- Portlanders are getting healthier, kids and adults alike
Historic Resources Preservation
If you’ve got yourself a historic place in Portland (or want one!), the BPS can lend a hand. To demonstrate, did you know there’s a tiered system of historic resources to navigate? And believe it or not, each tier has their own protection legislation. Additionally, there are different ways to deconstruct, restore, and renovate properties. Not to mention, there are over 5,000 properties included on the Historic Resources Inventory list! The BPS can help you navigate it all, give ideas for reusing resources, and serve as a liaison with state and federal agencies.
Their website has a long list of guides for sustainable preservation. These guides includes resources for old homes like weatherization, window repair, energy efficiency tips, etc. They list resources for technical assistance like construction waste, recyclers, connections at the Architectural Heritage Center. If you’re looking for financial incentives for preservations, they have you covered. And they host green preservation workshops and degree programs. The BPS compiles articles from various national organizations as well. They even walk you through how to incorporate solar energy into your historic property!
Portland definitely wants as many green buildings as possible, so the BPS strives to make as many resources as available as possible. To be sure, if you have a question, they’ll have an answer. Their website includes a green home remodeling guide, and tenant improvement guides. There are case studies to spur creativity and showcase innovation. And articles to walk you through all the grants available for anything from commercial to multifamily to residential projects. The BPS encourages fix-it fairs, lists energy assessors, and highlights green building publications.
In light of this treasure trove of resources, I can’t help but appreciate all the BPS does. To rephrase it so I can say it plain: I’m a big fan of the BPS! There’s no better group that stands for the community and looks far into the future with an eye to practical solutions. From zoning and building code to composting and recycling, they provide the tools to help keep this city lean and green.