“We talked to a lot of people in the street,” says Warren Karlenzig, author of the study. “Portlanders really identify with having a high quality of life. Everyone you talk to has a definition of what sustainability means. You don’t find that in other cities.”
The city’s slogan, “It’s not easy being green,” demonstrates its commitment to long-term environmental efforts. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who established the Office of Sustainable Development in 2000, has championed some of the most forward-thinking work in the country.
The city has the ambitious goal to get 100% of its own energy from renewable resources by 2010, and according to Commissioner Saltzman, they’re on track for meeting that goal with wind power from eastern Oregon.
His office implemented a program in 2004 called “The Diggable City” in which an inventory of city properties that were not being used could be turned into farmers’ markets, community gardens, and green spaces.
Portland has some of the highest quality water and air in the SustainLane study, and offers easy access to nature with parks and bike lanes. Public transit is excellent – the city is aiming to become a “20-Minute City” – where residents spend no more than 20 minutes on any commute – walking is encouraged, and local organic food markets are plenty.
This livable greening city even has solar-powered parking meters and a green MLS real estate listing.
According to Sustainlane, Portland is a role model for the nation, saved from over-population only by its annual rainfall of 40-plus inches.
It ain’t easy bein’ green, but Portland’s groovin’ hard with the woowoo, making it as easy as possible for sustainability in the city.