Environmental efforts earn accolades

by Lisa Timmerman 9/10/2014 11:17 AM

 

A few months ago, this blog featured two research papers describing the latest and greatest in environmental achievements at airports and seaports. One of those documents, Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices, just earned an Environmental Improvement Award from the American Association of Port Authorities.

AAPA issued the award in the Stakeholder Awareness, Education and Involvement category. The Port of Portland worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports to develop, and later update, a white paper that highlights major environmental initiatives at seaports across the globe. Though the paper was originally conceived to gather information to support decisions about future marine terminal development in Portland, the paper was designed so that the information could also assist other ports around the globe as they reached the same critical decision points. The Port will receive the award in November at AAPA's annual conference.

The Port also recently earned a Special Recognition from the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies for serving as a role model in using alternative stormwater management techniques. In 2006, the Port installed over 35 acres of porous pavement at Terminal 6. The success of that installation set the stage for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company to install nine acres of porous pavement on a parcel it recently purchased from the Port. The site is the first facility where BNSF has installed pervious pavement. The installation provides water quality benefits and eliminates the need for detention ponds, allowing BNSF to make the best use of its available space.

Port explores propane export facility

by Lisa Timmerman 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.

Still porous after all these years

by Lisa Timmerman 8/13/2014 4:43 PM

 

The Portland metropolitan region leads the nation in innovative solutions for managing stormwater. It's common to see bioswales installed in curb strips across the city and traditional impervious pavement is more often being replaced with alternatives that allow stormwater to filter through the surface. So, it's not surprising that last week the city of Portland hosted StormCon, an annual conference that draws stormwater management professionals from across the country to learn and share best practices and the latest developments in the field. The conference culminated with a tour of stormwater facilities at the Port of Portland and the Port of Vancouver.  

In 2006, the Port of Portland installed just over 35 acres of porous pavement at Terminal 6 in North Portland when tenant, Auto Warehousing Company wanted to rapidly expand their existing vehicle import and storage operation. Their short timeframe set the stage for a creative solution involving a large-scale installation capable of infiltrating 100 percent of the stormwater from the new development on-site. Porous pavement allows stormwater to filter through the ground instead of conveying it through a system of drains, pipes and outfalls, improving water quality and allowing water to flow more slowly and naturally to a receiving waterbody. It is still a relatively new practice, compared to the traditional impervious paving common to the many ribbons of roadways and acres of parking lots across the country.

The StormCon tour, sponsored by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, consisted of about 80 participants who visited Terminal 6 to witness first-hand that a well-constructed pervious pavement installation can function successfully in an industrial environment when matched with an appropriate site use. Due to its structure, porous pavement is not often used in industrial operations since it cannot as readily handle the impacts of heavy cargo and machinery. AWC's auto storage lot was a great fit due to the primarily light passenger vehicles that move across its surface. The lot is visited by heavier trucks that load and haul the cars away to their destinations, and those loading areas were designed with stronger impervious pavement that drains to the pervious surfaces or to adjacent vegetated swales.  

To function properly over time, a porous pavement installation must be thoughtfully constructed and maintained. I’ve been observing how the facility pavement functions for almost a decade now and it performs as well today as it did when I first visited the site in 2007," said tour sponsor and stormwater practice leader for Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Ross Dunning. "The T-6 installation is a shining example of low impact development done right and the most successful permeable pavement installation I’ve ever seen.”

Tour participants were treated to a demonstration of the installation's effectiveness by Richard Vincent, senior environmental planner for the Port of Portland, which can be viewed in the video below.

 

Related Links

Terminal 6 porous pavement project featured in Land & Water Magazine

The Green Side: Terminal 6 Paves the Way to Infiltration

Green initiatives at airports and seaports

by Lisa Timmerman 7/3/2014 3:45 PM

Interested in learning about the latest and greatest developments in green initiatives at airports and seaports? The information is at your fingertips thanks to two research papers that highlight green initiatives across the United States and the world. The intent of both of these papers is to help provide solutions to common problems for airport and seaport terminal operators. The papers provide the additional benefit of offering the general public a glimpse into the challenges and best environmental practices in place at these facilities.  

Outcomes of Green Initiatives: Large Airport Experience, A Synthesis of Airport Practice was published earlier this year by the Airport Cooperative Research Program, with sponsorship from the Federal Aviation Administration. The paper is based on a literature review as well as surveys of 15 mostly large hub airports across the United States, including Portland International Airport. It discusses overall trends as well as unique case examples from many of the airports surveyed.

Environmental Initiatives at Seaports Worldwide: A Snapshot of Best Practices was first released in 2010 and later updated in August 2013. The Port of Portland and the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports teamed up to develop the white paper describing a broad array of environmental initiatives at seaports across the globe. It describes the geographic, community, financial and regulatory drivers that impact port decision-making related to sustainability and environmental management initiatives. It is based on interviews with port authorities, online research, literature reviews and other publicly available reports.

       

 

Celebrating the environment through art

by Lisa Timmerman 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. 

 

Five years of carbon footprint reporting yields impressive results

by Lisa Timmerman 3/12/2014 4:29 PM

The Port of Portland just marked its fifth year reporting to The Climate Registry. The Port became a founding greenhouse gas emissions reporter of TCR in 2008, primarily in response to an ambitious goal set by the Port’s Commission to reduce the Port’s GHG emissions by 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. 

The Port uses TCR’s robust voluntary GHG reporting program to measure, publicly report and provide third-party verification for the Port’s carbon footprint. TCR is a non-profit organization established to develop a common, accurate and transparent GHG reporting standard in North America. TCR uses internationally recognized GHG measurement standards developed by the World Resources Institute, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the World Business Council on Sustainability.

Based on the initial emissions inventory, the Port adopted a combined approach focusing on energy conservation strategies, replacing and retrofitting older equipment and purchasing renewable power. The Port consistently earns high rankings nationally on the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partner list. The Port now purchases 100 percent renewable power and is currently ranked 25th among 100 percent renewable purchasers and 9th among local government purchasers, with over 75 million kilowatt hours of renewable power certificates.

The inventory has also served as the foundation for the Port’s carbon footprint reduction and energy management strategy which prioritizes projects to increase energy efficiency. Building awareness around the Port’s carbon footprint has delivered real results. Based on data from the 2012 reporting year, the Port had reduced its GHG emissions by an incredible 60 percent below 1990 levels – four times the original goal!

 

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 is working 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!

Digging in at Baltimore Woods

by Lisa Timmerman 11/8/2013 2:56 PM

Port of Portland staff and their friends and families spent a sunny morning in October volunteering alongside SOLVE, Friends of Baltimore Woods and St. Johns residents.  The group of 50 volunteers planted 500 native tree and plant species at the gateway to the Baltimore Woods Connectivity Corridor. The corridor is located in North Portland and stretches between Pier Park and Cathedral Park, in the shadow of the St. Johns Bridge. Friends of Baltimore Woods has been working tirelessly with the help of local government agencies, nonprofits, and a small army of volunteers to restore the rare remnant patch of oak forest and to create a future greenway. In addition to the ecological and recreational benefits the site provides, it also serves as a buffer between industrial land uses along the Willamette River, including the Port’s marine Terminal 4, and nearby St. Johns residential neighborhoods.

We look forward to watching the little saplings as they grow!

 

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

Port carbon and energy accounting featured at annual GoGreen conference

by Lisa Timmerman 10/10/2012 9:04 AM

If you are planning to attend the fifth annual GoGreen Portland conference this Thursday at the Left Bank Annex, come check out Port of Portland Facilities Services Division Manager, Franko Martinec presenting about the Port's carbon footprint reduction and energy management strategy. Franko will be joined by Good Company's Aaron Toneys for a workshop entitled, Feet on the Ground or Head in the Clouds? Guidance from the Front Lines of Carbon and Energy Accounting. The session includes an overview of considerations for compiling a carbon footprint inventory and features the Port of Portland as a case study for analyzing opportunities to reduce carbon at an organizational level. 

In 2009, Port of Portland Commissioners adopted a target for the Port to achieve a 15 percent reduction below 1990 carbon levels by 2020. To begin working towards this ambitious goal, the Port created a carbon footprint reduction and energy management master plan. The process culminated in the development of a software tool that allows the Port to identify opportunities for carbon reduction and build portfolios of actions necessary to meet the target. The Port is a founding member of The Climate Registry and has been reporting carbon emissions since 2008.