Year in Review: 2013 Port Community and Environmental Highlights

by Lisa Timmerman 12/27/2013 4:14 PM

It wouldn’t be the end of another year without taking some time for reflection. It’s been a busy twelve months and here are just a few highlights from the Port of Portland in the field of community and the environment in 2013:

Though the Port's headquarters received a Gold certification through the City of Portland's Sustainability at Work program, the beginning of 2013 also saw the kick-off of Port's Sustainability Integration Team, charged with internally promoting the triple bottom line concept of sustainability throughout the organization.

In February, the Port’s existing sustainability efforts drew international attention from the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, charged with planning infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Their main question during their stop in Portland on a U.S. West Coast trade mission: “What is it about Portland that makes people care so much about sustainability and the environment?”  

In the spirit of sustainability, the Port launched a Stormwater Master Plan effort to gain a comprehensive understanding of existing stormwater infrastructure at Portland International Airport and other Port facilities. The work will allow the Port to more efficiently and effectively manage stormwater infrastructure, keeping our facilities operational while protecting water quality.

After 10 years with a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in place at PDX, Port staff completed an update to the document. The 2003 Plan was the first bike and pedestrian plan in the nation developed specifically for a commercial airport. The plan update will be released in the new year and contains recommendations based on outreach to local transportation agencies, airport employees, and the public 

This year also marked the 10-year anniversary of a partnership between the Port and Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services program. Throughout the last decade, CES student consultants have contributed to incredible innovations in waste minimization at PDX and other Port facilities.

CES contributed to the launch of a food donation program at PDX in February. In its first eight months, the program has already contributed 32,600 pounds of food - equivalent to almost 22,000 meals – to local meals service providers. Though a few other airports have food donation programs, PDX’s program was so well executed that it received this year’s Green Concessions Award from Airports Council International-North America. The program was also featured as one of a handful of stops for United Nations Environment Programme delegates during their visit to Portland for World Environment Day in June. 

In 2013, the Port continued to participate in the Healthy Purchasing Coalition, coordinated by the Oregon Environmental Council, which allows local governments to share information about best practices in avoiding hazardous or toxic materials. The Port adopted its own Sustainable Procurement Policy this year to help guide purchasing decisions.  

In February, the Port contributed to a highly collaborative restoration project in Elrod Slough. The effort leveraged funds and resources from the Port, the Multnomah County Drainage District, the City of Portland’s Revegetation Program, and nonprofits Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Friends of Trees and Verde. Port staff got their hands dirty volunteering at Elrod Slough and at a neighboorhood tree planting with Friends of Trees in March. In October, Port staff volunteered with SOLVE and Friends of Baltimore Woods at the Baltimore Woods Connectivity Corridor, just up the hill from our marine Terminal 4. We look forward to seeing all the many trees and saplings that were planted take root and thrive in the coming years.  

Out in east Multnomah County, the Port continued to work with the City of Gresham on the 221-acre Gresham Vista Business Park. With some grant funding from Metro, the team continues to work on a framework for eco-industrial development. If successful, the framework could result in a roadmap for other developers in the region to create projects resulting in economic, social and ecological benefits.

Though the Port consistently earns high marks for its purchase of 100 percent renewable power, efficiency and conservation remained a high priority in 2013. The Dredge Oregon, which maintains the Columbia River navigation channel, was brought in for the second and final phase of engine repowering. PDX maintenance staff replaced close to 1,000 older, incandescent light bulbs with more efficient LED versions in Concourse C and in some of the hundreds of signs around the airport. The Port added a parking guidance system to the long-term parking garage. A similar system is already in place in the short-term garage and aside from being a popular customer service feature, it helps cut emissions from vehicles searching for a parking spot. Electric vehicle charging stations were also added to the short-term garage.  

And finally, the Port’s carpet replacement project has garnered a substantial amount of attention over the last several weeks. The project will replace the existing carpet which is over 20 years old. The Port is currently considering recycling, reuse and repurposing options for the carpet once it is removed. If you’d like to stay up to date on the fate of the carpet, sign up on the Port’s carpet email notification list.

Happy New Year from the Port of Portland!

Celebrate World Environment Day with the PDX Sustainability Tour

by Lisa Timmerman 5/13/2013 12:49 PM

World Environment Day is Wednesday, June 5 and Portland has been selected as the 2013 North American host city. To celebrate this great honor bestowed by the United Nations, there are many great events happening all over Portland leading up to the big day.

The Port will host a walking tour of Portland International Airport and portions of our LEED Platinum headquarters building on World Environment Day. Join us and learn about the many sustainability solutions in place at PDX. Whether it's reducing waste or our carbon footprint, providing alternate transportation options or using natural systems to treat wastewater onsite, there's a lot to be proud of at Portland's gateway to the world. The PDX Sustainability Tour will take place June 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. To RSVP or for more information, email lisa.timmerman@portofportland.com.

Supreme Committee visits Port HQ

by Lisa Timmerman 3/1/2013 9:57 AM

The Port of Portland received a visit last week from the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee during their U.S. trade mission to the West Coast. The committee is responsible for planning infrastructure improvements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and plans to renovate three stadiums and build nine new stadiums, open a new international airport, expand its container port facility and expand its light rail and highway systems ahead of the event.

The delegation was led by U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Susan L. Ziadeh and Qatar Secretary General, Hassan Al-Thawadi. The group also visited Los Angeles and Seattle. Other stops during their stay in Portland included Nike and Jeld-Wen Field.

While at Port headquarters, the group toured our LEED Platinum building to learn more about its energy and water saving features, like our Living Machine®. Executive Director Bill Wyatt described Port operations in general and discussed the Port's sustainability efforts including parking guidance and QuickPay parking payment system that help reduce emissions from idling vehicles. The group, which had many questions even at the end of a long day touring Portland, was particularly interested in what drives the culture around sustainability in Portland. 

 

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee (some sporting their Portland Timbers scarves) with Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt and Jennifer Woods, U.S. Department of Commerce

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Port HQ Goes LEED Platinum

by Rachel Wray 6/14/2011 4:53 PM

It’s official: The Port’s new headquarters building at Portland International Airport has received LEED® Platinum certification. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

 

For Port staff working in the building over the past year, the award reconfirms what we experience everyday: that green buildings are great places to work. Port executive director Bill Wyatt, who occupies an open workspace the same size as the employees he oversees, said, “The LEED platinum certification affirms the goal we set out at the beginning of the project: that the building reflect this region’s commitment to sustainability.”

 

The 205,000-square foot office building incorporates many state-of-the-art green technologies, but the one we are asked about the most is the Living Machine® system, an on-site ecological wastewater treatment alternative that treats 100 percent of the building’s wastewater for reuse in the building’s toilets and cooling tower. If you’ve ever visited the Port building, you’ve walked right by it: it’s the innocuous-looking planter in the first-floor lobby.

 

Underneath the building, more than 200 pipes provide ground source heating and cooling in a closed loop system, serving the passive radiant ceiling panel heating and cooling inside. This is the first coupling of these heating and cooling systems in the United States, and the result is a comfortable temperature year-round.

 

Other green features—daylighting, window glazing, exterior shading, water-efficient fixtures, and two green roofs—are detailed on the Port’s HQ website, where you can take a virtual tour!

 

 

Port HQ Receives BEST Award

by Rachel Wray 4/19/2011 11:43 AM

The Port of Portland was thrilled to receive the Green Building Award at the City of Portland’s 19th annual Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards Breakfast. The awards were presented by the BEST Business Center and City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The BEST Awards recognize organizations demonstrating a commitment to excellence in sustainable business practices. The Port was in fine company: other winners included the Portland Trail Blazers/Rose Quarter, Coffee Bean International, DeSantis Landscapes, Barbur Storage, Doubletree Hotel, and B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery.

The Port’s award recognized the green building techniques that went into our new headquarters building. Mayor Sam Adams cited the building’s water and energy conservation measures, including the Living Machine Wastewater Treatment System. Greg Sparks, engineering project development manager with the Port, thanked the crowd for the recognition and noted that the building couldn’t have been built without the support and vision of countless people, from Port leadership to talented firms to the hundreds of employees who show up for work each day at the building.

Port Wins State of Oregon Sustainability Award

by Rachel Wray 4/14/2011 1:49 PM

The fourth annual Oregon Sustainability Awards were announced yesterday at the Future Energy conference, held in Portland. Governor John Kitzhaber gave the conference’s keynote address before he and Secretary of State Kate Brown presented awards to organizations that have taken dramatic and comprehensive steps to incorporate sustainability into their operations.

The Port was thrilled to win in the government category, and Steve Schreiber, aviation director for the Port, was there to accept the award. In her introduction, Kate Brown, who also chairs the Oregon Sustainability Board, talked about the Port’s new headquarters building and programs we’ve implemented to conserve energy throughout our aviation and marine operating areas. When she mentioned the Port’s purchase of 100 percent certified renewable power, the audience, made up of people working in the renewable energy field, erupted in spontaneous applause.

Congratulations to our co-recipients Burgerville, Northwoods Nursery/One Green World, and a joint award for Corvallis School District, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, and First Alternative Co-op.