6/12/2013 4:19 PM
It takes a special kind of person to be willing to dig through the garbage on a regular basis. Thanks to a partnership with Portland State University, this week marks the tenth year that those special people have been making a difference at Portland International Airport. Through PSU’s Community Environmental Services program, student consultants work for the Port of Portland in one- or two-year terms and work alongside Port staff to gain experience solving real-life waste management problems. Although they serve all Port facilities, they focus on the Port’s primary waste generator - PDX. The airport is like a small city with 10,000 employees and 35,000 people passing through every day. It's a unique setting for developing innovative and creative waste solutions on a large-scale.
Through the students' long-standing support, the Port has made incredible strides in reducing waste. They have played a large role in designing and implementing PDX’s waste collection systems and composting program. They have been involved in researching recycling options for coffee cups, conducting waste assessments for airlines and airport terminal tenants and holding annual clean up events for tenants to find ways to recycle and repurpose large and bulky items. Most recently, the students helped launch a highly successful food donation program through St. Vincent dePaul of Portland and helped redesign liquid collection stations at security checkpoints, dramatically increasing their use by travelers.
The partnership truly provides benefits for both the Port and PSU students. “I attribute the longevity and success of this program to two things: the Port’s impressive commitment to keep pushing the needle forward on these issues, and the great students that CES continues to attract. I can’t think of a better embodiment of PSU’s motto, 'Let Knowledge Serve the City,'" says Eric T. Crum, director of the CES program.
Although the program has been in place for many years, there is no typical day for a CES student working at the Port. They do everything from collecting and managing data, to running outreach and education campaigns, to rolling their sleeves up and conducting waste sorts that determine where there are opportunities for program improvements. Their versatility is invaluable and we look forward to another ten years of success and collaboration.
For more information on the partnership between PSU and the Port and a full list of the students’ accomplishments, visit: www.pdx.edu
For additional news on the partnership's anniversary, visit:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/4/2013 1:10 PM
According to a Natural Resources Defense Council report released last year, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. The statistic is particularly alarming considering the amount of people that go hungry every day. Port of Portland staff recognized an opportunity in our own backyard and recently launched a food donation program, facilitating partnership between St. Vincent de Paul and concessionaires at Portland International Airport. The program encourages food and beverage vendors in the airport terminal to divert unsold, ready-to-eat food products to the local charitable organization. Products include sandwiches, salads, parfaits, baked goods and uncut produce.
The program launched in February and PDX concessionaires donated so much food that by the end of the first pickup day on February 5th, the Port and St. Vincent's staff needed to round up a second donation storage refrigerator. In the first two months of collection, donations weighed in at 2,760 pounds of food - equivalent to more than 1,830 meals. The food ends up with social service providers City Team Ministries, Northwest Family Services and St. Vincent's mobile full-service kitchen.
"This is a win-win for local communities in need and for the airport, too," said Walt Marchbanks, Port concessions operations manager.
Not only is the program matching high quality food with agencies that can distribute it, it's removing food items that serve a higher and better purpose from the waste stream at PDX. In 2012, PDX collected a record 201 tons of food waste for composting. By continuing to donate at least 50 to 100 pounds of high quality food to St. Vincent’s three times a week, the program could divert 5 to 10 percent of what would have ultimately ended up in the compost stream.
3/7/2013 2:32 PM
Once again, we have a few great volunteer events coming up in March through our community partners. Want an excuse to get out and get your hands dirty and support Portland's urban tree canopy?
Saturday, March 9, The Forest Park Conservancy will hold its Spring Day of Stewardship from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Forest Park Conservancy is a dedicated non-profit charged with protecting and fostering the ecological health of Forest Park, maintaining and enhancing the park's extensive trail network, and inspiring community appreciation and future stewardship of the park. The Port is sponsorsing the event this year. Join 200 other volunteers in Forest Park helping to restore native habitat in and around the park. The volunteer work party will be followed by a volunteer appreciation party at the Mission Theater with food, drinks and raffle prizes. The event is open to anyone, but pre-registration is required.
Saturday, March 30, Friends of Trees will hold a neighborhood tree planting in the Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully and Roseway neighborhoods. The Port provides Friends of Trees with funding support annually for tree canopy enhancements in neighborhoods around PDX and within the Columbia Slough watershed. This is a large-scale planting, so the more, the merrier. Volunteers should arrive at the Morningstar Missionary Church by 8:45 a.m. to enjoy some hot coffee and breakfast treats. The planting starts promptly at 9 a.m. FOT will provide gloves and tools, so all you need to do is show up dressed for the weather and wearing sturdy shoes. A potluck lunch will also be provided for all volunteers after the planting is complete. You do not need to RSVP for the event.
Port staff and their families participate in a Friends of Trees tree planting
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
1/31/2013 2:36 PM
We are quite proud of our bike facilities here at Portland International Airport, but who doesn't like a little validation? PDX was featured in a study completed through the University of California Transportation Center and the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley that looked at obstacles and opportunities for airport operators to improve bike access. The report included case studies of seven airports, and recognized PDX as "exemplary" due to its bike and pedestrian master planning efforts, convenient access, facilities that support bike commuting and connections with transit, bike routes and multi-modal trails.
California bike blog, Cyclist Chic, offers a great overview of the study. See the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center's website for the full study and a poster with highlights from the study. The Port of Portland first developed a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan in 2003 and an update to the plan will be completed this year.
1/22/2013 9:26 AM
The Port of Portland LEED Platinum headquarters building has another metal to add to its list of honors - gold. The Port's headquarters building recently received a gold certification through the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Sustainability at Work program. The gold certification is the highest level that can be achieved through the program which recognizes local businesses and organizations for their leadership in helping make Portland one of the cleanest, most sustainable cities in the country. The certification criteria include numerous actions related to energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, transportation, procurement and employee education. The actions were verified during an onsite visit with a Sustainability at Work advisor.
“The Port’s achievements are impressive both in the design and construction of an incredibly energy and water efficient headquarters building and ongoing waste minimization efforts that have diverted 84 percent of the building’s waste stream from the landfill,” said Sustainability at Work advisor, Paul deBlock.
The Port received the BEST Award for projects in 2004, 2006 and 2011, under a similar City program and the headquarters building has received numerous honors including the Oregon Sustainability Award. However, this certification recognizes both the thoughtful considerations the Port incorporated into the building itself and the ongoing, day-to-day operations within the building.
12/26/2012 3:54 PM
If you flew into PDX this holiday season, it's possible you may have been on a flight starting to use new technology in their final approach to the runway. The Federal Aviation Administration published flight approach procedures for its Next Generation Air Transportation System, also known as NextGen, in September. The satellite-based aircraft navigation system is gradually replacing the nation's legacy ground-based equipment network and is designed to help pilots fly existing routes more precisely.
The new system brings multiple benefits. NextGen technology gives pilots the ability to fly an optimized profile descent, also known as a continuous descent approach. The approach enables the aircraft to maintain a continuous descent from the point of initial descent to the runway using a lower power setting and higher altitude for less noise and less fuel, thus reducing air emissions.
“From helping us minimize aircraft noise, to reducing aircraft carbon emissions, NextGen has numerous benefits for PDX and our community,” said Jason Schwartz, Port of Portland noise management manager. “We have many to thank for helping bring NextGen to PDX, including the FAA, the PDX Citizen Noise Advisory Committee, Alaska Air Group, Southwest Airlines and SkyWest Airlines.”
Procedures at PDX for using satellite-based technology for departures have been in place since 2008 and have proven successful in helping aircraft follow noise abatement routes. Most commercial aircraft using PDX are equipped with the advance avionics in the cockpit needed for NextGen navigation. Early estimates show that 10-20 percent of flights will use new NextGen arrivals procedures initially, and others will phase in over time. Next spring, the FAA plans to release arrival procedures, which will guide aircraft that are further out from the airport.
For more information about how innovation and technology are yielding environmental and community benefits in the aviation industry, check out FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt's discussion on the topic.
12/12/2012 4:56 PM
This week, the Port of Portland bid a fond farewell to our interns from Inha University in South Korea. The three students recently completed their five-month internships at the Port. Before departing, they each gave a final presentation about what they learned while working at the Port and reflected on being immersed in a different culture.
The trio is studying logistics and rotated through many different departments at the Port during their term. A few of their noteworthy accomplishments include conducting cargo market research, identifying new efficiencies for moving passengers through the ticket lobby at Portland International Airport and learning more about how other airports handle wireless internet and parking fees. One of the interns also shared his knowledge of South Korea’s “pay as you throw” waste collection system that uses RFID technology.
You may have seen their smiling faces if you attended the Hillsboro Airport Open House, a Hillsboro Airport Roundtable Exchange meeting or Seaport Celebration this year. They also got to make their American television debut by appearing on the KATU live television show AM Northwest to promote Seaport Celebration.
The Port has hosted interns from Inha University every year since 2009. In addition to providing them with a well-rounded educational experience, Port staff benefits from the daily cultural exchange with individuals from one of Oregon’s major trade partners. We wish them luck in their upcoming travels, completion of their studies and future careers.
Read intern Ellyn Lee's previous guest post on this blog for an additional story about her early impressions after arriving in Oregon and working at the Port.
Inha University students (from left) Kyle Koh, Daniel Kim and Ellyn Lee
11/9/2012 1:08 PM
Our community partners are doing some wonderful work and there are a couple of ways you can get involved. We may be nearing the peak rainy season, but there are still plenty of reasons to get outdoors and make a difference in your neighborhood. Friends of Baltimore Woods has already hosted a number of successful volunteer events and continues to team up with SOLVE to hold volunteer work parties in St. Johns to remove invasive species and plant native trees and shrubs. Baltimore Woods is a remnant of a native white oak forest and the all-volunteer group Friends of Baltimore Woods is seeking to create a linear park that connects Cathedral Park with Pier Park and would provide access for recreation and education purposes. The next two work parties will take place on this Saturday, November 10 and Saturday, December 1. Use SOLVE's online volunteer registration page to sign up.
Also this month, the Oregon Environmental Council kicked off their most recent Love Your River challenge, focusing on how you can help prevent pollution in storm drains. The challenge encourages the public to engage in at least one of three actions including clearing your street's storm drain, refraining from dumping into storm drains and volunteering to assist in labeling storm drains. If you're willing to take on the challenge, you could be the lucky recipient of a Patagonia backpack or this year's grand prize: a four-person tent, two sleeping pads, and two camp chairs from REI.