Port invests in students

by bielem 6/9/2015 10:43 AM


The Port is known for investing time, energy and resources in marine terminals, runways and industrial parks. But it doesn’t stop with new infrastructure —the Port also invests in students.

Started in 1995, the Port’s internship program provides students from area colleges the chance to put their classroom learning into action. Developing human capital — through internships and other learning initiatives, such as the Mentor-Protégé program —  is one important way the Port fulfills its mission of regional economic development.

Many interns go on to become full-time Port employees. Former interns work in the Port’s research, real estate and GIS departments, among many others. The wildlife management department boasts the highest concentration of former interns; five wildlife team members began their careers as interns through the Port’s partnership with Mount Hood Community College.

Port interns have gone on to impressive accomplishments in both the public and private sectors. One prominent example is Michael Kaplan, the current director of the Oregon Department of Energy, who interned in the Port’s public affairs department from 2006 to 2007.

There are currently nine interns at the Port. One of them is Kalena Bone, an advertising and marketing major at PSU who has interned at the Port for just over a year. Kalena works in concessions development and helps establish relationships with the retail businesses that give PDX its unique local feel. Besides the hands-on experience, she’s appreciated the chance to make “some really good friends in the office,” as well as all the “cool, supportive people at the Port.”

Another is Tera Hinckley, a PSU Masters in Geography student who interns with the Port GIS department. Tera has had the chance to be involved in several interesting and resume-building projects at the Port, including working with the storm water system data and helping to develop a temporal web map service to display PDXNext projects that will be occurring in the airport terminal. During her internship, Tera says that her “problem solving, time management and cartography skills have improved greatly.”

Student Opportunities Go Beyond Internship Program

The Port’s commitment to students extends beyond the traditional internship program. Since 2003, the Port has employed student consultants from Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services program (CES). CES consultants help the Port manage its waste stream and have helped implement successful initiatives such as the PDX food donation program and the PDX Liquid Collection Stations.

Current CES consultant and PSU MBA student Doug Beyers had this to say:

“Not only do I get help paying for school, I also get to help solve important environmental problems and help the Port of Portland be a leader in its sustainability efforts. I'm working on a very interesting set of problems, and it's giving me the chance to apply the skills I'm learning in the classroom to meaningful, real-world challenges.”

Real Work, Meaningful Experiences

Human Resources Specialist Brenda Patrick helps manage the internship program. She’s proud of the opportunities students have for personal and professional development; “There’s a lot of institutional knowledge in the port, and if you’re willing and have a hunger and desire to learn, you can have a really great experience,” Patrick said. “We pride ourselves on giving meaningful assignments, not just having interns help with catering or getting coffee.”

Patrick believes the learning opportunities go both ways: “there’s a lot to be gained from working with young students — people who have new ideas, especially around sustainability. It keeps the managers fresh and up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry.”

The Port spends both time and money to offer a meaningful internship program. It’s an investment that will continue to pay dividends — for local students, for the organization and for Portland.

About the Program

The Port’s internship program draws undergraduate and graduate students from many of the region’s major schools, including Portland State, Lewis & Clark, Willamette University, Portland Community College, Mount Hood Community College, Seattle University, the University of Oregon, the University of Portland and Marylhurst University.

There are opportunities for students from a wide variety of majors. Port departments that regularly employ interns include engineering, environmental management, GIS, public affairs, IT, digital communications, planning, properties and legal.

Learn more about the Port’s community outreach.

Port launches Jobs @ PDX

by bielem 6/3/2015 3:41 PM



Have a friend or family member interested in joining the PDX team? We’ve just launched Jobs @ PDX, a one-stop website for finding jobs at the airport, from barista to baggage handler and everything in-between.


The new Jobs @ PDX site makes it easy to identify opportunities for both prospective employees and current airport workers looking to advance. The project was identified as a high priority need through PDX Workplace Initiative conversations.


The PDX Workplace initiative — a collaboration between the Port, PDX employees, PDX employers and labor organizations— is exploring new and innovative ways to invest in workers and further enhance the PDX employee experience. General principles were agreed on at the April 8th Port Commission meeting and cover three main categories: worker retention, employer-employee relations and a worker benefit group. Specific details will be determined in the coming months through dialogue between members of the previously mentioned stakeholder groups.


Jobs @ PDX is an early product of these discussions. The goal is to make job searching and recruitment at PDX easier, and to give current employees a better way to learn about new career opportunities.


Simple to use, Jobs @ PDX lets applicants filter postings by company, job title or employer type. The site is accessible on all mobile devices, and users are encouraged to share jobs with friends via email, text, Facebook or Twitter. Employers can prepopulate the site with job postings and make them live when ready; job descriptions can be posted as a PDF or linked to the company’s website.

Interested in exploring a different career path or sharing an opportunity with a colleague? Visit Jobs @ PDX

Want to learn more about the PDX Workplace Initiative? Click here




In the dark of winter, new trees emerge

by timmel 2/12/2015 5:58 PM

Wintertime is the perfect time to plant trees! Nestled within the industrial core of Northeast Portland is a little known gem of a city park called the Columbia Children's Arboretum. The park was the scene of the third of seven tree plantings the Port of Portland is sponsoring with Friends of Trees during their current planting season. The previous two events included one in Hillsboro near one of the Port's mitigation enhancement projects at Jackson Bottom Wetlands and a large-scale planting at the Sandy River Delta. The remaining plantings will take place in the Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Sumner, Wilkes, Concordia, Vernon, Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully, and Roseway neighborhoods. Check out Friends of Trees' latest edition of Treemail to learn more about the Columbia Children's Arborteum.


This winter also marked the final phase in the PDX Tree Obstruction Removal project. Removing the trees and stumps which were beginning to interfere with federally-regulated airspace around Portland International Airport, cleared the way for replanting this February. Workers planted more than 23,000 native shrub and small tree species such as vine maple, Oregon grape, red-flowering currant and native roses and willow amongst other lower-growing vegetation that was allowed to remain on-site. 


Updated bike and pedestrian plan takes off at PDX

by timmel 12/18/2014 3:37 PM

The Port of Portland recently completed an update to its PDX Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. Planning for pedal and foot-powered transportation might initially seem like an odd fit for a facility that is primarily focused on flying travelers to far flung destinations. In a community that boasts about its bike lanes and neighborhood walk scores, it is all about providing good customer service and reflecting the needs of the large workforce that keeps PDX running on a daily basis.

The PDX Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan is not a regulatory requirement. Providing alternative transportation options to and from PDX helps the Port meet its sustainability and employee wellness goals in addition to meeting the needs of travelers and airport employees. The Port began planning to accomodate cyclists and pedestrians in the 1990s. By 2003, the Port became the first commercial airport in the nation to develop a comprehensive bike and pedestrian master plan.

In the last decade, implementation of that plan led to constructing a multi-use path directly to the PDX terminal building - another first for a commercial airport - and secure bike parking for airport employees and public bike parking for travelers and visitors. Beyond the terminal, an at-grade bike and pedestrian crossing of Airport Way at its intersection with NE 82nd Avenue, which is considered one of the most complex intersections in the state, provides a connection to the multi-use path from points south. It also allows pedestrians to access businesses on Frontage Road after taking TriMet MAX light rail to stops in nearby Cascade Station.  Cyclists originating from points north along the Marine Drive Bike Path or crossing the Glenn Jackson Bridge benefit from a quicker option for accessing PDX by using a designated crossing constructed by the Port that connects directly to the multi-use path. 

Multi-use to PDX terminal building


 Crossing of Marine Drive to connect Marine Drive bike path to PDX

With many of the goals from the 2003 Master Plan achieved, the Port began updating the plan last year. After a thorough analysis and outreach to bike and pedestrian facility users and experts, the new plan includes recommendations to support and improve the airport’s cycling and walking populations as well as identifying challenging connections between PDX’s bike network and bike networks to the south.  One of those challenging connections, the intersection of Columbia Boulevard and NE Alderwood Road, will soon be converted to a signalized crossing, improving safety for cyclists. The Port will contribute to funding a portion of the improvement thanks to a recent State Transportation Improvement Program award.

Currently, many of the public bike parking areas at PDX are frequently near or at capacity, even during cold and rainy winter months. The Port plans to replace the existing serpentine racks with staple racks to add parking capacity within the next year. The Port will explore additional signage and work to incorporate helpful information for pedestrians and cyclists as broader wayfinding technology advances at PDX. In the longer-term, the Port will seek to develop an outbound multi-use path in conjunction with future improvements to the PDX terminal and terminal exit roadway.  

Bike parking near the TriMet MAX station at PDX

The updated Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan can be found on the Port’s public website and cyclists can find information on accessing PDX by bike there as well.

Related Links

 Does your airport have a 50-page bike plan? Bikeportland.org

Airport plots better ways to get to PDX - by bike Portland Tribune

Port explores propane export facility

by timmel 9/2/2014 8:50 AM

The Port of Portland announced today that Pembina Pipeline Corporation has entered into an agreement to develop a rail-served propane export facility that could be up and running by early 2018. Pembina is planning to construct and operate the facility on land adjacent to the east end of the Port’s marine Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Pembina is one of Canada’s leading providers of transportation and logistics for the North American energy sector. Pembina is a time-tested operator with extensive experience in building propane facilities and safely transporting and storing propane in Canada and the U.S. The Portland facility would utilize state-of-the-art storage and safety measures.

The Pacific Northwest has been a highly sought after hub for the transport of fossil fuels due to the rapid increase in domestic production of fuels. The Port has previously considered the suitability of its facilities for coal and crude oil.   

“This is great news,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards. This proposal meets these goals.”

Upon completion, the propane export facility would receive approximately 37,000 barrels of propane per day. It is anticipated that most of the propane would be exported to Asian markets, where the cleaner burning propane will be utilized for various residential and industrial purposes.

“We have been extremely discerning when considering recent energy sector cargo opportunities, and after saying ‘no’ to coal and ‘not now’ to crude by rail, we are confident that we are saying ‘yes’ to the right partner at the right time,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director for the Port of Portland. “Propane has an excellent track record as a clean and safe alternative fuel, and I am impressed by the level of experience, expertise and commitment to safety that Pembina brings to the table.”

It is estimated that the project will generate between 600-800 temporary construction jobs and approximately 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. This employment is valued at approximately $7.2 million in wages and benefits annually. Additionally, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, as well as $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.

Bike to PDX with the Wheels to Wings Ride

by timmel 6/11/2014 9:47 AM

It's June and that means it's time once again for Portland's three-week celebration of all things bike - Pedalpalooza!

Did you know that you can ride your bike to Portland International Airport? As part of Pedalpalooza we will lead a Wheels to Wings ride on Wednesday, June 25, starting at 9:30 a.m. The ride will take the leisurely route along the I-205 Bike Path and eventually connect with the dedicated multi-use path that leads up to the terminal building.

Upon arrival at PDX, participants will get a quick tour of existing bicycle amenities and learn more about future plans included in a recent update to the PDX Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. PDX is one of the few airports in the country that provides direct access to its terminal building by bicycle. It was also the first commercial airport to develop a bike and pedestrian master plan in 2003.

Visit the Wheels to Wings Ride entry on the official Pedalpalooza wiki site for more details about the ride. There is no need to sign-up, just show up with your bike and safety gear.


Joining the ranks and sustaining partnerships

by timmel 6/10/2014 8:52 AM

The Port of Portland participated for the first time this year in the Oregon Business magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon sixth annual survey which ranks workplaces according to anonymous employee responses and an assessment of stated employer benefits. The Port came in at #58 in the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon category. The rankings considered workplace practices such as recycling, energy conservation, buying local, supporting bike commuting and public transport as well as setting overarching sustainability policies and goals.

The next day, the Port received a Sustainability Partnership Award from Portland State University in recognition of our 11-year partnership solving waste minimization challenges at Portland International Airport. Students from PSU's Community Environmental Services program serve one- or two-year terms with the Port, gaining real-world experience tackling waste management issues. The students' involvement in the program provides additional capacity for the Port to run one of the most innovative waste minimizations programs at any airport in the nation.


Celebrating the environment through art

by timmel 5/21/2014 9:53 AM

April may have been host to Earth Day, but May is a great month to celebrate the environment through arts and culture! The Port of Portland is proud to sponsor this year's edition of Honoring Our Rivers. The anthology of essays, poems, photography and artwork includes submissions from students across the state of Oregon and reflects how they feel connected to local waterways. The publication is an annual project of the Willamette Partnership. You can view the 2014 anthology at local schools and libraries or visit http://bit.ly/1jp9GyI.

A new art installation at Portland International Airport is designed to demonstrate the effects of exposure from the physical environment on natural materials. The temporary installation, created by Seattle artist John Grade, is a piece of a larger sculpture commissioned for the City of Portland through the City’s Percent for Art program for a site at the Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wood sculpture has been fragmented into 15 pieces which will be temporarily sited for up to three years at multiple locations throughout the city and state, including the one at PDX. Gradually, the fragmented clusters will be returned and re-installed at the original site. The sculpture can be viewed on the lower roadway as motorists depart from the PDX terminal. 


To fly or to drive? Energy intensity data provides some insight

by timmel 2/3/2014 9:01 AM

Ever wondered whether it's more fuel efficient to fly or drive over long distances? The answer isn't always straightforward and involves a number of factors, as well as personal choices and preferences. A recent article from The Atlantic offers one explanation based on data recently collected by University of Michigan professor, Michael Sivak. To compare travel modes, the data focuses on energy intensity, or the total amount of energy it takes to move one person one mile. Commercial aviation has seen tremendous energy efficiency improvements over the last 40 years, particularly compared to passenger vehicles which have, on the whole, become less fuel efficient. Better fuel efficiency is certainly a part of the equation, but planes also now fit more passengers and rarely depart with empty seats. The trend is reflected here at PDX. In 2013, PDX had a record-breaking travel year with 15 million passengers. The number of travelers increased 4.4 percent over 2012. At the same time, flight operations - the number of planes coming and going from the airport - remained almost flat with only a 0.1 percent increase.

Which travel mode is right for you? Read The Atlantic's article and decide for yourself.



Upcycling pallets for PICA

by timmel 1/9/2014 10:21 AM

In addition to assisting with recycling and composting efforts at Portland International Airport, the Port of Portland’s waste minimization team identifies opportunities for repurposing materials, or upcycling. Upcycling is the reuse of a material in its current or near-current form, using less energy than the reprocessing commonly associated with standard recycling. Wood pallets are one of many materials the Port collects in hopes of upcycling. Pallets arrive with deliveries to PDX and they accumulate in PDX’s central waste collection area. The PDX pallets made an artful appearance at the 2013 Time Based Art Festival, sponsored by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

This year’s TBA festival took place in a 40,000 square foot warehouse at Con-way’s Northwest Portland facility, and the pallets were an ideal option for the industrial chic theme. Because the TBA Festival works with a nominal budget, donated wood pallets were an excellent option for constructing temporary structures such as a bar and stairs. Claire Papas, a member of the 2013 TBA festival design/build team noted that, “the use of pallets was a nod to the history of the building.” Con-way is a freight transportation and logistics company.

With the help of GBD Architects, the design/build team crafted the almost 300 pallets of various sizes and shapes into steps, signage, a 20-foot long greeting table, a 40-foot long bar, and two additional 20-foot long bars. When the dust settled and the festival ended, the team dismantled the structures and listed the pallets for free on craigslist.org, where they could be re-used once again. Thanks, in part, to the donated pallets, the community-based project came in under budget.

Thanks to Mark Kenseth of the Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project for contributing this story.  


(Photo credit: Brian Lee, Brewhouse