Archive for February, 2008

Better Living Show

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

 PORTLAND’S LARGEST SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE SHOW – PORTLAND EXPO CENTER

MARCH 28-29, 2008

GREEN NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD

In case you haven’t noticed, green is hip. That means new products, new ideas and evolving attitudes. Now there’s an event in Portland where it all comes together in one place. It’s simply too good to miss.

We’ll introduce you to businesses and groups in our region that will help you make choices you feel good about. All presented in an entertaining way like you’ve never seen before. Floor Plan

6 Festival Pavilions for Shopping & Inspiration!

LIFESTYLEHOME & GARDENCONSERVATION

CLEAN TECHTRANSPORTATIONFOOD & BEVERAGE

Rounded Rectangle: Bring Your Recycling to the ShowRounded Rectangle: Book Your Hotel for the Show

OPENING DAY ONLY!

You’ve seen him in movies and on TV for years. Now see the star of Living with Ed on Friday, March 28 at 7:00 pm on the Sustainable Life Stage. Ed Begley, Jr has dedicated his life to helping the planet. Hear his insights on the path to a more efficient existence that can be achieved without feeling burdened, compromised or overwhelmed.

Book Signing on Friday!

Buy your very own copy of Living Like ED and get it signed signed by the author from 2 – 3 pm at The Corner Bookstore.

SE Art Walk

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

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The SE Area ARTWalk will allow you the opportunity

to go on the EcoShuttle for a FREE, self-guided tour by visiting the studios,

home workspaces, galleries, host homes and businesses

within the “walkable/bikeable/busable” boundaries of

SE 9th – SE 41st & SE Hawthorne to SE Powell Blvd.

Shuttle runs from 10am-5pm to all the hot gallery spots every 25 minutes. Walking maps provided.

Car sharing program may ease commute

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

DPS hopes to upgrade and launch a new website that would allow students to easily share rides

By: Trevor Davis

Issue date: 2/20/08 Section: News

University research associate Sandra Greive and her husband, Jason Kidwell, wanted to move to Salem so Kidwell could be closer to Chemeketa Community College, where his class schedule is spread over irregular hours. The couple, however, decided against the move because of few commuting options for Greive.

“We really couldn’t find anything definite, so we just decided to leave things how they are,” Greive said.

University students have few options if they commute to campus from outside of Eugene or out of reach of Lane Transit District buses. A little-known online car sharing posting service on the Department of Public Safety’s Web site hasn’t been updated for three years. Six users are registered with the service. Students utilize Web sites such as Craigslist and LTD’s Commuter Solutions carpool Web site, or use Valley Vanpools, which operates van service between Eugene and Corvallis, to find a ride.

Students say car sharing programs could help alleviate problems, especially for those who don’t own a vehicle. Other schools across the country, including Willamette University in Salem, have put such programs in place.

The University operates a carpool matching Web site through AlterNetRides.com. Students can create online posts to share car rides.

Mark Evanoff, president of the AlterNetWays Company, launched the Web site in 2000, and companies and schools across the country use the Web site. He said more organizations are using the service now because of the rising cost of gas.

The University launched AlterNetWays on the DPS Web site three years ago, Evanoff said. The University hasn’t updated the site since.

“Quite honestly, it’s sort of sat there on the wayside and hasn’t been given much attention there,” Evanoff said. “We’ve changed things dramatically, and there’s actually a new link we have. We’d love for the UO to install it.”

The Web site has a new look and added features that the University has yet to update. Users can now map their rides, log their carbon emission savings and sign up for van pool programs.

AlterNetRides leaves it up to each organization to market the Web site.

“The whole premise is that each organization has to pick up the ball and run with it,” Evanoff said. He added that he understands DPS is overwhelmed with other duties, and he said the University has expressed interest in upgrading the site.

“In fairness, they aren’t alone,” Evanoff said. “We have a number of organizations who think it’s a good idea, put the link on their Web site, then just forget about it.”

Ken Boegli, parking and transportation manager for DPS, said in an e-mail that he hopes to upgrade and launch the new AlterNetRides Web site soon. He said he also wants to add a link for Commuter Solutions.

The University was in talks with the car sharing service Flexcar, which recently merged with Zipcar. Members pay a fee that covers gas, insurance and maintenance, and they can use the cars any time before returning them to a designated spot.

The talks fell through after Flexcar and Zipcar merged, Boegli said, and DPS hasn’t been involved in any conversations with Zipcar since.

“Their initial proposals would have been cost prohibitive for us,” Boegli said. “By the end of the year, we had a tentative, mutually beneficial agreement, but we never got to see this executed prior to the merger.”

Willamette University has taken advantage of Zipcar. The school introduced the car sharing program because the school wanted to adapt more sustainable practices, said Joe Bowersox, the school’s director of the Center for Sustainable Communities. Much like UO, the school also faces parking problems.

“We had a lot of students who came and brought their cars,” Bowersox said. “The cars just sit there in the parking lot for two weeks at a time and are never used. Parents can now say, ‘You know what? You can just leave the car at home.'”

The cars are primarily used to get from Point A to Point B either around Salem or to another city, Bowersox said. Faculty members often drive to the Eugene Airport or the Portland International Airport to pick up guest lecturers, for example. Users can check out the cars overnight and reserve the cars through Zipcar’s Web site.

“You really just reserve it, unlock it, drive, and that’s it,” Bowersox said.

The program does have some drawbacks, though.

The school had to guarantee Zipcar income because the company was entering a new market, which meant the school had to help subsidize the service, Bowersox said. The entire planning process took about 2 1/2 years.

Boegli said DPS may partner with the car rental company Enterprise, which is releasing a car sharing program later this year.

“It is, as of yet, unknown what the parameters of this program would be, but we will pursue with vigilance any program we feel will bring value to the UO,” Boegli said.

University graduate student Ezra Markowitz of Corvallis commutes to Eugene four or five days each week with another commuter.

“Carpooling has been great and has really helped me cut down both on gas use and the driving that I have to do personally,” he said.

He added that the University should let people know about AlterNetRides.

“It might be nice for the University to send out some sort of all-campus e-mail, maybe at the start of each term or school year letting people know about AlterNetRides,” he said.

Greive, the University research associate, said a car sharing program such as Zipcar could help her and Kidwell because the couple owns one car.

“Then we wouldn’t have to worry about wear and tear on the car,” she said.

tdavis@dailyemerald.com

New Salem bridge is only part of solution

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

February 21, 2008

There have been letters recently that support stopping the bridge project across the Willamette.

Can anyone other than me remember when the Salem population was less than 50,000? Growth will not stop simply by killing a bridge project.

In fact, what is needed now is a fourth bridge across the Willamette.

It’s funny that Portland is planning for new bridges, including a massive project across the Columbia at Interstate 5, but the Willamette crossing has 18 more months of study and hasn’t even begun to purchase right of way.

West Salem has experienced incredible growth in the last 10 years, as anyone who has sat in gridlock traffic on Wallace, Orchard Heights, Edgewater or Glen Creek NW can attest to. The morning commute can take 30 minutes to go three miles, longer if there is an accident or an icy bridge.

Traffic is not only on the main arterials, but people hoping to avoid the mess are dodging through the surface streets and neighborhoods looking to gain a few minutes. Streets that weren’t designed to handle volume are choked with speeding traffic. Some West Salem neighborhoods are petitioning for speed bumps as a result.

If the solution to the east-west traffic problems is in fact only going to be one bridge, there are other ways to help move traffic.

The city of Salem has bought the railroad bridge for a bargain price and is converting it to a pedestrian bridge. Consideration should be given to making it a one-lane bridge, inbound or outbound, to meet the needs of the commute or possibly exclusively used for mass transit.

The park-and-ride lot at Wallace and Brush College NW is but a parking lot for the apartment complex next door because buses move no faster in traffic than cars. In time, it could still be the pedestrian bridge they covet.

Another solution might be modeled after a 10-mile stretch of I-5 in Seattle. Traffic engineers could redesign the existing Center Street and Marion Street bridges so that two of the lanes on one of the bridges could be converted to inbound or outbound to meet the needs of the commute: six lanes inbound a.m. and six lanes outbound p.m.

Building and retro-fitting need to take place, but traffic is already at critical mass.

Another idea that might help is greater governmental support for flex-shifting. As a casual observer, I have noticed that on federal and state holidays, traffic is light to nonexistent, therefore a lot of the commuters must have government jobs. This may be an oversimplification, but just reporting the facts.

Additionally, traffic lights in downtown and West Salem can and should be optimized to favor the commute.

Information about the proposed changes can be obtained at www.salemriver crossing.org or at www.cityofsalem.net.

Finally, I would like to say: Support your local bridge builder and tell your elected representatives Salem needs a bridge now.

The future of automotive transportation is certainly electric, hybrid or hydrogen, with cars that are smaller and more efficient, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more of them.

Michael Devine of Salem is a registered nurse at Salem Hospital. He can be reached at mikedevine57@hotmail.com.

Science mag says Portland is tops when it comes to being green

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Posted by The Oregonian February 15, 2008 06:45AM

Categories: Breaking News

Portland is getting a big shout out from Popular Science for being green.

The mag crunched numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide and came up with scores for 50 American cities. The PopSci folks looked at electricity use, transportation habits, “green” living, and recycling habits.

The result: Portland is tops when it comes to being green. Here’s what PopSci says about P-Town:

“America’s top green city has it all: Half its power comes from renewable sources, a quarter of the workforce commutes by bike, carpool or public transportation, and it has 35 buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.”

Check out the full article here.

And you can also stop by The Oregonian’s PDXGreen, where blogger extraordinaire Shelby Wood writes about the sloppy wet kiss Outside Magazine recently planted on Portland’s cheek, this time for being home to companies that make “green gear.”

Oh go on, national media, you’re making us blush.

Commuting can affect growth

Monday, February 18th, 2008

STEVE EMERSON

February 15, 2008

Caught downtown at rush hour and cursing the traffic backing up behind the bridges, people see that the bottleneck to West Salem seems a problem that should be fixed.

I’ve examined and discussed all of the proposals at task force meetings, debated the pros and cons with my neighbors, thought about the trade-off between neighborhoods and traffic, wondered about funding and seldom questioned the need for a third bridge.

I’d had plenty of preconceptions about the causes of the problem, most of which were dismissed in conversations with the engineers who’ve modeled the current and projected traffic patterns. I learned that the vast majority of the traffic does not comprise trucks running between Interstate 5 and greater Polk County or the coast, but rather automobiles commuting from the West Salem suburbs to the downtown core. This is much more a local problem than a regional problem.

As a result, their traffic modeling shows that the further away from the downtown core the prospective bridge is located, the less effective it becomes. My previous thoughts of a Lockhaven/I-5 connection would be largely ineffective in relieving congestion downtown.

Portland’s tight urban growth boundaries have fostered redevelopment near the urban core, as one formerly blighted neighborhood after another is rejuvenated. Mississippi, the Pearl, etc., are very different places than they would be without that tight boundary, and these very neighborhoods are no small part of Portland’s attractiveness to employers.

Salem’s inner neighborhoods, on the other hand, are neglected while the city instead chooses to emphasize growth around its outer fringes. Is this really a sustainable model for our city, as transportation costs soar for those in increasingly outlying areas while inner neighborhoods, with their shorter commutes, decay? What will that model look like if gas is $6 or $10 per gallon? Can we even predict what transportation costs might be in 30 years?

Choosing to live in an outlying area always has brought increased commute times and related expenses — it’s a package deal. People choose to commute downtown from West Salem, Silverton, Stayton, etc., balancing those downsides with the benefits they find in those areas.

If we could, by spending between $500 million and $900 million, shorten the commute for residents of, say, Hayesville or Battle Creek, would it be in the best interest of the city as a whole to do so? Living in West Salem is a choice, and the commute is a factor in that choice.

Eventually, congestion on the bridges will act as a natural brake to the rapid rate of development we’re seeing in West Salem, if that has not already occurred. How we choose to spend our community’s resources will determine where that development occurs.

Salem, for various reasons, is in no position to impose the sort of tight urban growth boundaries that have altered the face of Portland, but should we consider the possibility that the absence of a third bridge provides a de-facto equivalent, an equivalent that saves the community well over $500 million?

Steve Emerson has lived in Salem for more than 30 years. He can be reached at arguestoomuch@yahoo.com.

Costlier Roads Ahead

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

by The Oregonian

Saturday February 16, 2008, 2:00 AM

The broken stretch of pavement between Southwest 170th and 209th avenues on Farmington Road west of Beaverton is well known for rattling passing vehicles.

Drivers, beware: Prepare for rocky roads this year across Washington County and a possible bump to your wallet.The soaring cost of petroleum is not just a pocketbook issue at the gas pump, but one coating the roads you drive and the potholes you rattle through. Oil is a key ingredient in asphalt.

As oil prices rise to $90 a barrel and beyond, the price of asphalt tracks in near tandem.

Those soaring oil costs are creating heartburn for public officials faced with shrinking budgets and crumbling roads from Sherwood to Hillsboro. Mix that with higher prices for fuel, steel and concrete, and you can all but break some local budgets.

“We never have enough funds to keep up with deteriorating conditions of our road system,” says Cal Bowersox, public works superintendent in Forest Grove.

Asphalt costs increased by about 50 percent from 2004 to 2006, while the street maintenance budget remained the same, Bowersox says. Other governments are facing the same problem in Washington County.

Municipal governments that are able to stay on top of maintenance needs are saving more than their paving budgets, says Jim Huddleston, executive director of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Oregon. As roads fail, repairing them grows more costly. As potholes develop, damage to cars increases, a cost not measured in the city budget.

“There is a direct link between the quality of the roads and cost of operating a car,” Huddleston says.

Asphalt is made from sand and gravel mixed with a syrupy binder called liquid asphalt. Liquid asphalt is low-grade oil that remains after the higher grades are refined into fuels. That binder is the primary cost for asphalt paving companies such as Lakeside Industries, which paves from Portland up to Canada.

“It doubled in 2006, or it almost doubled, then it slackened a little bit,” says Mike Lee, president of Issaquah, Wash.-based Lakeside. “Now it’s getting ready to jump again; 2008 is going to be another big year.”

The price per ton of finished asphalt –which is about 6 percent liquid asphalt –has risen from about $33 five years ago to as much as $50 or more today. It could go substantially higher by the summer paving season, just as the driving season shifts into full gear.

Cities turn to fees

Some cities –such as Tigard and Tualatin –are prepared with already-in-place surcharges that are keeping paving budgets flush.

Other municipalities are not quite as certain they can meet mounting costs. Beaverton and Hillsboro both are considering possible add-on fees to utility bills to help deal with the mix of deteriorating roads and shrinking funds.

In Sherwood, fees already have climbed. Asphalt prices have increased about 50 percent in the past five years for local roads there, forcing a new surcharge last year to help pay the bills.

“I’m concerned,” said public works director Craig Sheldon. “Sherwood has got a lot of new subdivisions over the last 10 years, and those are 20-year streets. As the price of materials goes up, those streets are going to have to be maintained.”

Until last July, the city was counting pennies to pay for the most basic upkeep of slurry seal and crack sealant –types of thinned-down asphalt used for temporary upkeep between overlays of asphalt. Then, the City Council approved a street utility fee. A charge of $5 a month was added to residential water bills, while businesses paid $10 monthly.

Washington County sees the same problems, on a much bigger scale.

While cities use a variety of funding mechanisms to pave their streets, Washington County relies almost completely on its share of state and county gasoline taxes for road and bridge maintenance, and that includes repaving projects.

For the 2007-08 fiscal year, the county maintenance budget is about $3.1 million. That money already paid for about 27 miles of repaving –out of 1,033 miles of paved county roads. Just six years ago, the county paved nearly 29 miles with only $2.2 million.

“It’s a zero-sum game,” said Dave Schamp, county road operations and maintenance manager. “I have so much money that I can allocate toward pavement, and those dollars don’t go as far as they used to.”

Tough choices

Without new sources of revenues, cities face tough choices on which roads get paved and which roads get pushed onto future lists. Or, as in the case of Cornelius, where a city gas tax was rejected by voters, the city must choose between the longer-lasting asphalt paving or the short-term fix of slurry sealing.

Mark Crowell, operations manager of Cornelius, said paving costs have increased 5 percent to 10 percent above what the city paid last year, while the city’s street repair budget remains unchanged.

In Hillsboro, asphalt costs have worsened a shortfall the city has long suffered, said Tina Bailey, a city engineer. In 2006, Hillsboro needed $6.7 million worth of street work, but the city spent only $1.6 million.

Hillsboro pays for street work with about $1.2 million a year from gasoline taxes and about $600,000 to $700,000 a year from state licensing fees. New streets are funded mostly by Washington County’s traffic impact fee –paid for by developers, whose work is slowing drastically as the real estate market stalls.

The rising cost of asphalt hasn’t helped, Bailey said.

“It certainly affects how many projects we can do a year,” she said.

Much of the city’s street repair in 2008 will be relatively minor compared with the many repavings needed throughout the city. The situation will become more dire in the next 10 years, during which about half of the city’s asphalt will need to be replaced, Bailey said.

To address the shortfall, a city task force has been studying a transportation utility fee for residents and businesses. Although the amounts are still under discussion, the residential fee could be between $2.85 and $3.50 a month, Bailey said.

Beaverton feels pinch

In Beaverton, the story is similar. The spiraling cost of asphalt will add as much as $200,000 to the city’s annual repaving budget of about $800,000, said Gary Brentano, Beaverton’s operations director.

Even before the recent spike in oil costs, city leaders knew they were getting behind. They began thinking about two new sources of money for roads: a systems development charge against new construction and a street utility fee charged to property owners based on how much traffic they generate. Single-family houses could be charged $3 to $4 a month, for example.

The City Council will consider those new fees at its Feb. 25 meeting.

The city has some big projects coming up, including plans to repave 1.5 miles of Southwest Allen Boulevard from Main Avenue to Scholls Ferry Road. That will cost nearly $1 million, eating up the city’s entire repaving budget for the year.

Residential streets, some of which haven’t been repaved in 30 years, will have to wait. And they’ll have to compete with a nearly two-mile section of Southwest Hall Boulevard from Allen Boulevard south to Ridgecrest Drive, that will need to be repaved soon, Brentano said. That $1 million project might have to be split over two years, he said.

Fees to the rescue

In both Tualatin and Tigard, street repair fees added years ago have proved a boon in hard times.

Tualatin’s operations director, Dan Bosssaid the price increases probably will not endanger Tualatin’s pavement quality. The city was the among the first in Oregon to institute a pavement management fee, in 1990. The fee collects about $600,000 a year for street maintenance and is assessed on the estimated traffic a house or business creates.

Several other Oregon cities, including Tigard, have instituted similar fees.

Tigard city engineer Gus Duenas said the rising cost of asphalt remains a concern, but it is not crunch time yet, thanks in part to the street maintenance fee.

Enacted by the City Council in 2003, the fee each month assesses $2.18 per unit for single- and multifamily units, 78 cents per parking space for nonresidential customers, and 78 cents per gas pump for gas stations. That rate has remained stable since the fee’s inception, but Duenas said it could increase after his office formulates the next five-year pavement management plan.

That plan will take escalating asphalt costs into account and will include a safety margin.

“Before we had it, there was one year when our road maintenance balance was about $130,000, and that’s not enough to do anything,” he says.
–Kathleen Gorman; kathleengorman@news.oregonian.com

Reporters David Anderson, John Foyston, Abby Haight, Jill Smith and Elizabeth Suh contributed to this story.

Renewable energy called marathon, not gold rush

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

While big projects move ahead, caution is given that while some fortunes will be made, there will also be crashes

By ELAINE SHEIN
East Oregonian Publishing Co.

PORTLAND – From sandals to cowboy boots, colorful shirts to business suits, a crowd of more than 600 people late last month at the eighth annual Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Portland all had a common purpose.

Barry Bushue, Oregon Farm Bureau president, noted he saw among the attendees “everything from Birkenstocks to cowboy boots” but added “maybe that’s a very, very good thing to be able to be collaborative, to be working on these issues we face regarding energy and trying to find new sources … so we can all benefit from them.”

Bushue pointed to different things that have happened in technology in Oregon, and said, “we’re on the cutting edge of things we never thought possible.” He added that “whether to refer to it as renewable, clean or green, energy and energy policy is taking on things that weren’t even conceived of 50 years ago.”

USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr, in his keynote speech, said renewable energy is a terrific opportunity.

“Renewable energy is, in fact, going mainstream. This is not some sidebar opportunity that people are looking at with some gleam in their eye. This is, without doubt in my mind, the greatest new opportunity for wealth creation in rural America in our lifetimes, and I would even suspect in the lifetime of my father. We are in the early stages of a very large transition,” Dorr said Jan. 29.

On the same day, big announcements were being made for renewable energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced it had included Pacific Ethanol in a matching award totaling $24.32 million to build the first cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in the Northwest. The plant will produce ethanol from wheat straw, wood chips and corn stover and will be co-located at the site of Pacific Ethanol’s existing corn-based ethanol facility in Boardman.

On the solar side, Sandra Walden, a developer with Commercial Solar Ventures in Portland, said her company just closed financing for an 870-kilowatt roof-mounted solar system in Portland. It will be the largest such project north of Los Angeles, and construction will be completed in October.

David Chen, chair of the Oregon Innovation Council and founder of Equilibrium Capital Group, said it’s an incredibly exciting time for renewable energies such as solar, wind, biofuel, geothermal and others, and there is a lot of money going toward building clean energy infrastructure. He said now is the time for farmers to get involved in sessions at conferences, talk to universities and experts, and influence politicians.

“There’s a sense out there it’s a gold rush,” he said. “The caution I would have is this is a marathon, don’t get caught up in a gold rush.”

Chen said farmland is being seen as oil fields, as people rush to invest in renewable energy.

“We’re going to see crashes, we’re going to see and fortunes made” in the next, 10, 20 or 20 years, he said. He added people should talk about land use, and get more money to smaller projects being done by individual farmers and rural communities.

People also need to look at how society depends on transportation for moving commodities and products, and whether that’s cost effective; whether feedstocks should be used as fuel stocks, and the role of incentives.

Chen said it is essential to have the tax credits to help renewable energy projects; without them, he said it will be a hard time to keep the renewable energy industry afloat.

Morris emotional, comprehensive in final address

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008
BY MICHAEL ANDERSEN, Columbian staff writer

An Indian reservation and a light-rail line to Clark College are inevitable, but a flat $2.50 toll on the new Interstate 5 bridge shouldn’t be, Commissioner Betty Sue Morris said in her final “state of the county” address Friday afternoon.

Rich people should pay more to cross the bridge than poor people, said the three-term commissioner, who plans to retire in December.

Morris called light rail “outdated” and expensive but said she now accepts that it’ll one day plug Vancouver into Portland’s regional MAX system.

And Morris called it “wishful thinking” to assume that local residents can keep an Indian reservation out of the county.

The annual event sold out the Red Lion Inn at the Quay near downtown Vancouver.

It was a policy-heavy lesson from the county’s wonk-in-chief, a onetime teacher who sprinkled her 42-minute talk with slide projections showing possible tax rates and population maps.

“This county has plenty of commuting low-wage earners, already squeezing every penny, who would be paying up to $5 a day to commute round-trip to Portland,” Morris said of the bridge tolls. “That’s $25 a week; $100 a month; $1,200 a year.”

Her solution: Charge poorer people less per trip. She said that’d be possible using the prepaid windshield cards that she expects the bridge to use for toll collection.

Call for buses, streetcars

As for mass transit on the bridge, Morris said local taxpayers will save money if a rail line goes no further than Clark College, just east of Interstate 5 near Fort Vancouver.

A different proposal, to run rail lines as far north as 39th Street, would require voters to approve a sales tax hike of 0.2 percent in the county’s urban areas, she said.

“If transit terminates at 39th, the proposed Clark County local match for construction is $115 million,” Morris said. “If it terminates at Clark College, the projected local match for construction is zero. It can be built entirely with state and federal resources.”

“Zero is a very good price,” Morris said.

Once tracks are built across the bridge, Morris said, the county could build a network of road lanes devoted to high-speed bus travel.

“Bus rapid transit is a lot less expensive to build, a little more expensive to operate, more nimble and flexible,” she said. “Combined with well-placed streetcar, bus rapid transit holds great promise.”

Tribes have ‘law on their side’

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is just the latest tribe to seek a tribal casino in Clark County, Morris said, and it may not be the last.

Seven other unrecognized tribes are also active in the state, she said, some of them seeking federal recognition.

“If not the Cowlitz, one of them will find their way here,” said Morris.

Morris said the county has no choice but to strike tax-compensation deals with the Cowlitz and other tribes.

“There is substantial risk in not trying to protect the local treasury when working with a tribe,” Morris said. “They just seem to have the law on their side.”

The county commissioners would still rather see a tribal reservation developed as a business park than a casino, Morris said.

Advice from Kipling

Friday’s lunch was emotional for Morris, who delivered the speech a few feet from her 96-year-old mother, Muriel Fowler.

Morris, 66, choked up at the end of her address, offering advice to her possible successors by quoting Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.”

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you but make allowance for their doubting too, if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch,” she said, her voice shaking, “You’ll be a great county commissioner.”

Clark-Vancouver Television will broadcast the full address on its Web site, cvtv.org , and on Comcast Channel 23 at 9 p.m. Sunday.

‘Green’ generation attends ecology summit

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

More than 3,000 poeple came to UP for a conversation about global warming.More than 3,000 poeple came to UP for a conversation about global warming.
Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois

Oregon can play a key role in the world’s fight against global warming — hatching the prototype green economy in the process.

That was a key message last week as more than 3,000 people attended a question-and-answer session with lawmakers at the University of Portland sports dome. The event was part of Focus the Nation, which included more than 1,700 similar gatherings nationwide. The broadcast discussion concluded a day of lectures and displays at the Catholic campus in North Portland.

“I went to college in the 1960s. Civil rights and women’s rights were our causes,” Oregon winery owner Susan Sokol Blosser told hundreds of students in an afternoon lecture. “We were in the streets fighting. For you, it is global warming. Go for it.”

Sokol Blosser, who received an honorary degree from the university in 2004, is held up as an exceptionally green entrepreneur in a particularly green state. Her vineyard, close to Oregon’s Trappist monastery, has gone organic and is seeking to nix its carbon emissions.

The Sokol Blosser vintner gets a mountain bike instead of an all-terrain vehicle. Tractors run on biodiesel. Plastic use is being phased out. In lieu of chemicals, a squad of feral cats and helpful bugs have been imported to control vermin and pests.

Woody and leafy material gets re-used as compost. Barrels of aging pinot noir are kept in the constant clime of a new underground cellar, negating the need to run a heater or air conditioner. The winery’s new toilets have a dual flush mode to save water.

But Sokol Blosser has much more to do before she feels comfortable calling the winery sustainable, she says. “We are here today to talk about changing the way we live. And that’s tough, because we live well,” she told the audience. “We need the public sector to act, but it was important for me to act as an individual. I cannot control the government, but I can control what I do.”

Sokol Blosser has become a leader in urging other wineries and businesses to follow her example. She has found that, far from being a business liability, going green has been a boon.

“People came to us and said, ‘We love what you are doing. We want to buy your wine,’” she explains. “We have found that loving the earth is good business.”

Students also heard from Erik Sten, the Portland city commissioner recognized for trying to create a green economy in the city. He was behind removal of dams on the Sandy River to help fish populations and pushed a law that holds back city money for construction unless buildings are conservation-minded. Sten is now backing green requirements even for projects funded completely by private money.

Enacting the first greenhouse gas policy in the nation in 1990, Portland has seen a 15 percent per-capita reduction in emissions. The city has more green certified buildings and hybrid cars per capita than anywhere else in the nation. At the same time, the population and economy here have boomed.

It’s no coincidence, said Sten, explaining that the things a city does to reduce emissions increase livability. That includes better public transportation, housing close to downtown, bike paths and vigorous recycling.

“Design a good city and then people have to drive less,” Sten said. “If you do it right, it builds business, it saves you money and it is good for the community.”

He urged students to oppose a proposed 11-lane bridge over the Columbia River and push for trains instead. He also asked them to fight for increased federal fuel and emission standards for automobiles. Sten said that the public may be able to push more serious ideas than the government could initiate.

Students also heard from Hot Lips Pizza owner David Yudkin, New Seasons Market CEO Brian Rohter, Bon Appetit Marketing Director Maisie Greenwalt and Sequential Fuels founder Tomas Endicott. There was even a one-act play on global warming.

In the sports dome in the evening, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and other politicians fielded questions from curious and sharp-witted students from nine local colleges.

“Don’t let the automobile industry and oil industry control our future,” Kulongoski said to a roar of cheers. He is pushing electric car use and fighting to have auto emission standards stricter than federal regulations. He and several other western governors are involved in a court battle with the Bush administration.

Kulongoski says he wants Oregon to be an example of environmental policy for other states and a hub of industries like wind and wave power.

“It’s time to bring green industries into the main stream and create jobs,” said state Rep. Jackie Dingfelder, a Portland Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., appeared via web cam, saying emissions caps and a pollution trading system being discussed on Capitol Hill have a good chance of helping global warming, since the U.S far and away is the leading producer of carbon. Each American isresponsible for 13 times the emissions of a typical resident of India, for example. Prompted by a question from a student, Blumenauer called the global-warming-related plight of the poor in developing nations “the great moral and ethical issue of our age.” As Blumenauer described federal bills that are pending, one student yelled from the stands, “Where’s the sacrifice?”

State Sen. Ben Westlund, an independent from central Oregon, agreed with a student who said that eating local is a prime way to fight global warming. It reduces shipping emissions and boosts the economy. Oregon’s progressive land use policy — which survived a challenge last year — helps make local eating possible, Westlund said to fiery applause.

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