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. 


SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup at West Hayden Island

by Lisa Timmerman 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 Lisa Timmerman 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 Lisa Timmerman 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 Lisa Timmerman 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 Rachel Wray 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 Rachel Wray 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 Rachel Wray 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.

Don’t Miss "Industry & Art" Exhibit at Vigor Industrial!

by Rachel Wray 9/19/2011 2:53 PM

This month, the Port is helping sponsor an exciting event, the Industry&Art: The Rivers Run Through Us exhibit at Vigor Industrial Shipyard. This must-see art show and sale is a unique glimpse into the people and industries of Portland’s working waterfront. The exhibit features both established and emerging artists (many of whom work in Portland Harbor) and includes paintings, sculptures, photography and more.

Industry&Art runs from September 22nd to the 25th, with open gallery and viewing hours this Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM. On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibit is open from 11 AM to 7 PM, and in addition to viewing the exhibit, attendees can take a jet boat tour of the harbor, board the fully restored steamer Portland (the last steam-powered, sternwheeler tugboat to be built in the United States), and get up close to a World War II PT boat.


Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5. Vigor Industrial Shipyard is located on Swan Island at 5555 N. Channel Avenue, Portland, OR 97217.

Willamette River Navigation Maintenance Project to Begin

by Rachel Wray 9/19/2011 2:32 PM

A long-planned Army Corps of Engineers’ project to dredge a segment of the Willamette River gets under way soon. Later this month, the Corps will begin dredging sand and sediment that have accumulated in an area of the river called Post Office Bar. Located about two miles south of the Willamette’s confluence with the Columbia River, Post Office Bar is a tricky navigation point for river pilots, and the accumulated sediment on the river bottom is a navigation hazard.


Dredging is scheduled to last no more than 31 days and will take place while fish are least likely to be migrating through the river. Dredged sand and sediment will be placed at the Port’s West Hayden Island dredge material placement facility. This 105-acre site on the north side of the island was developed to manage dredge material long-term. It’s protected by berms, and material is placed there only after a careful and conservative review by environmental regulators.


Contractors working on behalf of the Corps will transport material from a barge anchored just off-shore of Hayden Island. Over the course of the month, they’ll pipe about 45,000 cubic yards of sand and sediment into the upland area. While the Port-owned property is not open to the public, anyone accessing the island should avoid the active work areas, especially areas inside the berms where material is being deposited. This area is marked by signs warning of the unstable nature of newly-placed wet sand and soil.


The beach on Hayden Island is open to everyone, and contractors are required to have a clearly-marked walkway over the pipe to maintain beach access. Have questions or comments? Email Rachel Wray or call 503.415-6047.



Shown above: the dredge material placement site on West Hayden Island is an open, sandy area on the north side of the island.