Digging in at Baltimore Woods

by timmel 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 timmel 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 timmel 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. 


SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup at West Hayden Island

by timmel 10/4/2012 11:29 AM

Last Saturday, Port employees were joined by Starbucks employees, University of Portland students, the Portland AmeriCorps Alums group and few local residents for a SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup event at West Hayden Island. The cleanup is one of over 100 similar events that occurred in Oregon in September. 

The island provides public access on the beach up to the ordinary high water mark and plenty of litter and debris had accumulated  since the last time we held a cleanup event in 2011. The group of 128 volunteers removed 2,800 pounds of litter and debris. We would like to deliver a big thank you to all who participated in the cleanup. Please visit our Facebook page for a few photos from the event.  

If you saw clean air, would you know it?

by timmel 9/21/2012 2:34 PM

The air we breathe is important to all of us. Some things that affect air quality are easy to see. Take for example, wildfires currently burning in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. These events create smoke plumes that are visible to the naked eye and on a larger scale in satellite imagery. But there are other things that can affect air quality that might not be as apparent in the course of our day-to-day lives. At the Port, making air quality improvements is important to us, which is why we were pleased to see a significant change to global marine fuel standards implemented on August 1. The new standard will result in improved air quality along our nation’s coasts and inland areas.

Marine passenger and cargo vessels are now required to burn fuel containing no more than one percent sulfur once they pass within 200 nautical miles of U.S. coastline.  Currently, bunker fuel is commonly used and contains about three percent sulfur which, upon combustion, emits fine particulate pollution.  The regulatory change is the result of an amendment to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, governed by the International Maritime Organization and enforced here in the U.S. by the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The measure designates an Emissions Control Area (ECA) along the North American coastlines and inland waterways of Canada and the U.S.

The more stringent regulations are certainly a step in the right direction toward improving air quality and decreasing the risk of health conditions like asthma. However, any fuel transition in the marine transport industry does not come easily. Ocean-going vessels are now required to burn a compliant low-sulfur fuel once they enter the ECA. Premiums for compliant fuel run at about 20 percent above current fuel costs. However, failure to comply could also cost as much as $25,000 per day in fines for ships in violation. Some ships have already changed their routes to traverse directly across the ECA and minimize the amount of expensive compliant fuel they must burn.

The new standards have also resulted in disproportionate impacts. For inland ports, like the Port of Portland, ship operators will bear added fuel costs not only within the ocean portion of the ECA, but also for the 100 mile journey upriver to reach their port of call. Many vessels that call on Alaska will travel entirely within an ECA during their voyage. Like any industry, change can often lead to innovation. TOTE, a company whose vessels sail exclusively inside the ECA between Washington and Alaska found another solution. They will switch some ships to run exclusively on liquid natural gas. LNG generates no particulate pollution because it does not contain sulfur. It also generates far less carbon dioxide.  Even better, its biggest advantage is that it is far less expensive than the high sulfur bunker fuel it replaces.         

The sulfur standard that went in to effect in August can be achieved through blending bunker fuels and lighter low sulfur fuels. However, an even more stringent standard will go in to effect in the North American ECA in 2015, when fuel must contain 0.1 percent sulfur or less. To achieve that milestone, the industry will likely need a new oil-based fuel formula that does not yet exist—or it will need to convert ships to burn LNG.


Related Links 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Announcement Fact Sheet

International Maritime Organization

TOTE receives ECA waiver for LNG conversion

Seaport Celebration: a Zero Waste event

by timmel 8/24/2012 2:22 PM

Last weekend, Terminal 4 was host to another successful Seaport Celebration. The annual event is a festive day of family-oriented activities put on by the Port of Portland and many of our community partners and terminal operators. Though the weather was unseasonably mild, people of all ages turned out to enjoy interactive displays, games, jet boat tours and a cruise on the Portland Spirit. This year’s event was a first-rate success in another regard.

We have been steadily improving upon waste minimization efforts at our headquarters building, with a goal of achieving Zero Waste status. This is no small feat when you consider that our main office is home to about 450 employees on any given work day. We also strive to minimize waste whenever possible at Port-sponsored events and this year we are proud to report that Seaport Celebration was a Zero Waste event.

After tallying the numbers, the event achieved an impressive 97 percent waste diversion rate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threshold for Zero Waste status is a 90 percent or greater diversion rate. Much of this success is due to dedicated Port staff and the efforts of the Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project. PTAP staff is part of Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services program and work in partnership with Port staff to reduce landfill-bound waste by implementing recycling, composting and other waste prevention programs.

Related Links

Zero Waste Alliance

PSU - Community Environmental Services - Port of Portland Technical Assistance Project

Port tour will show Toyota's green side

by timmel 7/11/2012 2:51 PM

The final tour in this year's Portland Harbor: Behind the Scenes series will highlight Toyota Logistics Services located at the Port of Portland's Terminal 4. Get an up-close look at the first industrial site in the nation to earn a Salmon-Safe certification and one of the first industrial facilities to earn Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED) Gold certification. TLS imports tens of thousands of vehicles each year through their docks. With approximately 200 local employees and a regional economic impact of $271 per vehicle, not only is TLS an economic driver for Portland, their commitment to the environment is exceptional. Learn how your new Lexus, Scion or Toyota could come through Portland and how their facility-wide commitment to the environment results in a 98.1 percent recycling rate.

The tour will take place Wednesday, July 18 from noon–3 p.m. Tours are 1.5 hours long and will be scheduled in stages within that timeframe. Participants must be at least 15 years of age and minors are required to be accompanied by an adult. Please RSVP to Brooke Berglund by email or by phone at 503.415.6532.

Related Link:

Portland Harbor: Behind the Scenes Tour and Lecture Series

Portland's Working Waterfront

St. Johns Truck Traffic Meeting and New Soccer Field at James John Elementary

by wrayr 11/23/2011 4:47 PM

The Oregonian covers a recent Portland Bureau of Transportation open house on truck traffic through St. Johns, primarily on North Fessenden/St. Louis. The trucks are disruptive to neighbors, who are advocating for pedestrian improvements and for trucks to use North Lombard and Burgard roads, which have had numerous improvements over the past few years.


PBOT will host another public event later this year. Residents can also attend the next Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday, December 15, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at BES Pollution Control Lab, 6543 N. Burlington Ave.


In other St. Johns news, congratulations to James John Elementary on its new playground, which was made possible by funding and assistance from Adidas, the Portland Timbers, and many others.


Port staff members visit James John Elementary in St. Johns regularly. Brooke Berglund, marine outreach manager for the Port, takes the “Where in the World” educational program to all third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms, where she engages kids in fun activities about trade, transportation, and the Port’s environmental programs.


After all that learning, students need some exercise, and the playground includes play equipment and a new soccer field, which was quickly put to test by kids and Portland Timbers players alike at the November 15th ribbon cutting ceremony.

Early Cleanup of Seattle's Duwamish River Moving Ahead

by wrayr 10/3/2011 5:28 PM

With the Port’s participation in the Lower Willamette Group and the Portland Harbor Partnership, news about regional Superfund cleanups is always informative. This article on efforts to clean up a five-mile stretch of Seattle’s Duwamish River is a must-read. The Duwamish Superfund process is a few years ahead of where we are in Portland Harbor, but with similar challenges, including legacy contamination from World War II activities and many parties that are responsible for pollution but are no longer around or in business, leaving the cleanup to those groups still standing. Interesting to watch the progress up north as we move closer to the completion of a Portland Harbor draft feasibility study, which will provide the menu of options the Environmental Protection Agency will use to make cleanup decisions for the Willamette.

Report on Portland Harbor Recreational Use Released

by wrayr 9/21/2011 2:56 PM

The Oregon Health Authority recently released the final version of the Public Health Assessment addressing the recreational use of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, a segment of the Willamette River located between the Broadway Bridge and Sauvie Island. OHA’s updated report reflects input received during a lengthy public comment period that ended in July 2010. The entire report is available online, with an informative summary and project flyers also available. The independent health assessment concluded that the main threats to human health from the Portland Harbor Superfund site come from eating resident fish that live year-round in the Harbor, not from recreational use of the area.