Port and Portland State University celebrate 10 years of success and innovation

by Lisa Timmerman 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:
PDX.edu
Oregon Live

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.

Powerful praise from EPA

by Lisa Timmerman 4/18/2013 2:13 PM

 

The Port of Portland has been ranked tenth in the nation in the Local Governments category under the EPA's Green Power Partnership program. The Port began purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) in 2009 and now purchases 100 percent renewable energy through RECs. The Port also ranked 21st in the nation for power purchases amongst other organizations that purchase 100 percent renewable energy. This last year, that equated to over 75 million kilowatt hours of energy from renewable sources.

In addition to purchasing RECs for organization-wide operations, Portland International Airport also features on-site power generation from two solar panel arrays and cogeneration from methane produced at its deicing stormwater treatment facility. The Port's headquarters building and the long-term parking garage it sits atop use a variety of energy efficiency measures that respectively use 36 percent and 75 percent less energy than their similarly sized counterparts.

According to the Sustainable Business Oregon article about the rankings, the Port shared honors with other leading Oregon-based organizations including Intel, City of Portland, Lewis & Clark College, Oregon State University and Southern Oregon University.

Less Waste, More Food

by Lisa Timmerman 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.

 

Support your local tree with two great volunteer events

by Lisa Timmerman 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

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

Related Links

Deicing program gets warm reception

by Lisa Timmerman 2/22/2013 3:09 PM

The Port of Portland was honored with an Environmental Achievement Award at the annual Slough Celebration, put on by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. The award recognizes Portland International Airport's deicing program for its efforts to provide greater protection to the Columbia Slough water quality.

The Port installed PDX's original deicing collection system in 2003, which used a combination of monitoring, collection, treatment and controlled release of deicing stormwater runoff to the slough and City of Portland sanitary system. Though deicing material does not contain toxic substances, when it is released in large volumes and begins to biodegrade, it can cause increases in biological oxygen demand, which can be harmful to fish. When low flows in the slough contributed to permit exceedances, the Port sought out more aggressive options for treating deicing stormwater runoff. The Port constructed an on-site deicing treatment facility, one of only three of its kind in the nation, that uses microorganisms to break down deicing solution. The newly constructed facility completed a successful commissioning period in April 2012 and is now fully operational for the 2012-2013 winter season.

The Port's deicing program was nominated by Nancy Hendrickson, Columbia Slough watershed manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. The Port has been involved with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for many years.

Bruce McClelland, Port of Portland deicing operations manager describes the significant benefits of the deicing program enhancements.

Receiving the Environmental Achievement Award; From left: Nancy Hendrickson, Columbia Slough watershed manager for the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Jane Van Dyke, Columbia Slough Watershed Council executive director and the Port deicing program team - George Seaman, engineering project manager, Susan Aha, deicing program manager, Larry McClure, deicing system specialist and Bruce McClelland, deicing operations manager.

(Photos courtesy of Kenny MacDonald and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council)

Port waste travels with a lighter footprint

by Lisa Timmerman 2/5/2013 12:52 PM

Gresham Sanitary Services provides waste hauling services for the Port of Portland, and it became the state’s first trash hauler to use compressed natural gas in its vehicles in 2011. At that time, GSS had introduced a front load CNG truck to its fleet, which it used to haul Port composting, recycling and garbage. GSS recently added a CNG roll-off truck to its fleet. Roll-off trucks are used to pick up large drop box containers, such as those located in our rental car quick turnaround facility (pictured below). The addition of the new CNG truck means that all of the Port's waste gets hauled to transfer stations using cleaner burning alternative fuel. 

 

“We are proud to continue raising our commitment to sustainability by increasing our CNG fleet and pleased to be able to provide 100 percent CNG sanitary service to Port facilities,” says GSS General Manager, Matt Miller.

At the Port, we continuously look for ways to reduce air emissions from our operations and commend GSS for making this commitment to reducing emissions from their fleet vehicles.

 

PDX leads the pack in bike access

by Lisa Timmerman 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.

 

Port headquarters building goes for gold

by Lisa Timmerman 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.