Archive for April, 2008

A defining moment

Friday, April 25th, 2008

By: Guest opinion: Barack Obama

Issue date: 4/25/08

The following was written by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and sent to the Vanguard by the organization Oregon for Obama.

This is a defining moment for America, and for your generation.

I’ve met students across this country who are wondering whether the college education they’re receiving will lead to a good job that can pay off all those loans. I’ve met others who are tired of watching our planet polluted and our climate changed forever, and still others who’ve bravely gone to fight in a war that should never have been authorized and never been waged.

It is because of these failures that all Americans–not just Democrats–are listening to what we say in this election. This is our chance to forge a new majority to tackle problems that grew worse under George Bush, but that have festered long before he took office.

And that’s why we can’t afford the same old politics this year. We can’t tell everyone what we think they want to hear–we have to tell people what they need to hear.

Presidents have made the most difference in people’s lives when they’ve led not by polls, but by principle; not by triangulation and calculation, but by conviction; when they’ve been leaders who could summon the entire nation to a common purpose.

That’s why I’m running for President.

I’m running to make college more affordable for any American who wants to go. I’ve proposed a $4,000 a year refundable tax credit that will cover two-thirds of the tuition at the average public college or university. And I’ll strengthen our community colleges by offering new degrees for emerging fields and rewarding schools that graduate more students.

I’m running to reform health care like I did in Illinois–by reaching across party lines, and taking on the insurance industry. That’s how I’ll sign a universal health care plan by the end of my first term as president. Under my plan, if you graduate and don’t find a job that provides health insurance right away, you can stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 25.

I’m running to save our generation from global catastrophe by putting a cap on carbon emissions and creating a low-carbon fuel standard that will take 50 million cars’ worth of pollution off the road. And I’ll raise the fuel efficiency standards for our cars and trucks because we know we have the technology to do it, and it’s time we did.

I’m running because I’m tired of being told that the only way for Democrats to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush Republicans.

When I’m your nominee, my opponent won’t be able to say that I supported this war in Iraq, or that I support that Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like. I’ll end this war in Iraq, bring our troops home within 16 months, give our troops and military families the support they have earned, and open a new era of diplomacy for America.

I’m running because I don’t want to see us spend the next years re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America–I want to lead the United States of America.

I run for the same reason I fought for the jobless on the streets of Chicago, and stood up for equality as a civil rights lawyer, and fought for Illinois families for over a decade–to give my children and yours the same chances that someone gave me.

It’s time to stop settling for what the cynics say is possible. In this election–at this moment–let’s finally reach for what we know in our hearts is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.

To participate in the Oregon Democratic Primary, you must register to vote as a Democrat by April 29. You will be mailed a ballot to the address at which you register. For your vote to be counted, you must return it in the mail by May 15, or drop it off at a designated local ballot drop location by May 20. To find more information or to register to vote, please visit OR.BarackObama.com or call 866-675-2008.

PCC Green Collar Job Fair

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

PCC Sylvania Campus  map


Goal: To showcase career and/or job opportunities across various fields related to sustainability and other energy and environmental concerns. The event will provide employers an opportunity to inform and/or recruit students about their sustainability efforts.

Format:
No charge for attending
About 15- 20 employers will be represented

There will be refreshments

More info:  Glenna Barrick-Harwood
Cooperative Education/Student Employment – SY CC 221
Ph. (503) 977-4661   FAX (503) 977-8129
E-mail: gbarrick@pcc.edu


Robert Swan-Lecture in Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

• Tues., April 22: World-renowned polar explorer and environmental leader Robert Swan gives the 2008 University of Portland Bauccio Lecture in Entrepreneurship, 2:30-4 p.m. in UP’s Buckley Center Auditorium, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. Free. Details about lecture: 503-943-7769 or visit the UP Web site. More about Swan: www.2041.com

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE…

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

The World Bottle in action.

 

By Jason Foster     Issue date: 04/22/2008


When there was no such thing as Earth Day and recycling had yet to become an urban routine, there existed a rather curious thing called the World Bottle. Introduced in 1963 by Heineken, the World Bottle was “the brick that held beer.”
As the story goes, Alfred Heineken had struck on this novel idea after a trip to the Dutch island of Curaçao revealed homelessness and littered beaches.
He asked architect John Habraken to design a bottle that would lead a productive second life once the contents were consumed. With the neck of one rectangular World Bottle nested in the punt at the bottom of another, layer upon layer interlocked and could be mortared into place to build strong walls.
Rather than becoming waste, the “WOBO” could become shelter. To my knowledge, this is the first bottle of beer that, having fulfilled its duty as a beverage, reached toward a greater benefaction. And this would not be the last time that  brewers and beer drinkers let conscience be their guide.
Laurelwood Brewing Co. brews Oregon’s first beers to be certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Their organic mainstays are aptly named, too. Enjoy a Free Range Red or a Treehugger Porter and know that you’re consuming beer made without pesticides and herbicides. It tastes better that way — go figure — and the grain used to make these beers has much less impact on soil and water quality than conventionally grown barley.
Laurelwood also participates in a program called Portland Composts. Much of their restaurant food waste is composted rather than hauled to a landfill.
Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. recently caused a stir at its Southeast Hawthorne location by becoming the first commercial brewery in Oregon to heat water for their brewing process with a new solar power array installed on the roof.
Whether you prefer Dog Day IPA or Black Lab Stout, your taste buds might be just a bit more “spot on” when the pint you’ve been poured was powered by the sun.
Portland’s Roots Organic Brewing Co. touts an all-organic lineup of great brews and is responsible for the first organic beer festival ever held on this continent. June 27 through June 29 sees the return of the North American Organic Brewers Festival to Overlook Park.
At the fest, you can sample a diverse showcase of beer that has been brewed with organic ingredients, quite possibly at wind- or solar-powered brewhouses or, in the case of British Columbia’s Crannóg Ales, on a farm striving to produce zero waste.
Roots will bring its beguiling but rewarding Chocolate Habanero Stout to the festival, spreading the good vibrations among the crowd alongside other great organic breweries from California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The mantra, as always: When they say beer, we say organic.
You also can try several of the world’s most highly regarded imported organic beers at the festival. Sample from breweries such as Pinkus Mueller of Germany, the first 100 percent certified organic brewery in the world, Samuel Smith from Yorkshire, England, with all of its beers registered as vegan products, and Brasserie Cantillon of Anderlecht in Belgium, ardent in its support of organically grown grains.
To top it all off, this festival runs on biodiesel and uses biodegradable tasting cups.
A new kid on the block, but already a hit with a multitude of enthusiastic Portlanders, Hopworks Urban Brewery has taken things to another level.
Former head brewer for Laurelwood, Christian Ettinger has a vision for HUB that shares the same love for organic beer and adds more top-notch treatment of the environment by incorporating green building designs and materials in a recently opened public house on Southeast Powell Boulevard.
Hopworks not only is built green, but works green by converting its fryer oil to biodiesel, harnessing waste heat, effectively managing rainwater runoff, and supporting bicycle transportation.
So whatever became of the World Bottle? It was an experiment ahead of its time. About 100,000 bottles were produced of the two sizes needed for basic construction, and only two structures were built.
One, a shed, is on the estate of Alfred Heineken. The other structure is a wall at the Heineken museum in Amsterdam. Though the bottle itself is a relic, the message built into its shape lives on.
To celebrate Earth Day we remember what we have in common. We share a single planet upon which, always, we recognize that we are downstream from one another.
With a nod to Earth Day and the clever spirit of the World Bottle, I’m pleased to report that so many of today’s craft breweries continue to dream of ways to do right by people and planet while turning the profit that enables them to meet the demand for barrel upon barrel of delectable, Earth-friendly beer.
To that, I say “cheers!

Quebec joins U.S.-Canada group to cut emissions

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Reuters, Friday April 18 2008

By Timothy Gardner

NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 18 (Reuters) – A coalition of western U.S. states and Canadian provinces eyeing a regional carbon credit trading market picked up an eastern member on Friday when Quebec said it would join.

Premier Jean Charest said Quebec had joined the Western Climate Initiative while he was meeting at Yale University with U.S. governors who have bypassed the Bush administration to set tough emissions limits on greenhouse gases.

Early last year, the WCI set a group-wide greenhouse gas emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Quebec had been an observer of both the WCI and of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a group of 10 states in the U.S. Northeast that agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants.

“We’re all hydro power, not thermal power,” Charest said, regarding why it chose to join the WCI and not RGGI. Quebec derives much of its power from low-carbon hydroelectric sources, so the province joined the WCI, which seeks to cut emissions from economy-wide sources including transportation.

The WCI, spearheaded by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is expected to announce details in August for a regional “cap and trade” market for emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Such markets allow major polluters to comply with caps on their emissions by purchasing offsetting credits from sellers who have not used their total emission allowance.

Quebec’s Montreal Exchange wants to host the carbon trading market, and the bourse plans to launch a futures market for Canadian carbon dioxide emissions on May 30, subject to regulatory approval. Charest said joining the WCI would boost trade on that market.

In addition to California, the WCI’s members include the U.S. states of Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, and Saskatchewan also have observer status in the WCI, as do Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming, and several Mexican states.

Canada’s federal government has said it supports the idea of carbon trading but opposes mandatory caps on emissions. Supporters of carbon trading say the caps are needed for the market to establish proper pricing.

Quebec has said it wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions between 1.5 percent and 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 but has not legislated absolute targets. The province also has a carbon tax on gasoline. (Additional reporting by Allan Dowd in Vancouver, editing by Rob Wilson and Matthew Lewis) (timothy.gardner@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223-6058, timothy.gardner.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Rail system grows as new lines crop up

Monday, April 21st, 2008

The first commuter rail in Oregon and another MAX line open within 11/2 years

Sunday, April 20, 2008DYLAN RIVERA

The Oregonian Staff

With two new lines nearing completion, the Portland-area’s rail system will add 23 miles of track and grow by 50 percent in the next year and a half.

The Westside Express Service commuter rail line will open this fall, connecting Wilsonville and Beaverton. A year later, the MAX Green Line will connect Clackamas Town Center to the Gateway area and a new north-south transit mall in downtown Portland.

“In a year and a half we will have opened the first commuter rail in the state of Oregon and opened our first line into Clackamas County,” said Mary Fetsch, TriMet’s communications manager. “That’s big.”

The new lines mark a turning point in the region’s 22-year relationship with rail transit. Commuter trains and streetcars will become more common — not just the familiar MAX lines used for commuting. Riders will be able to transfer more easily from one train to another, as in big cities where rail has been used for generations.

The lines under construction could transform surrounding neighborhoods. For Portland State University, the transit mall extension will open in the section of downtown where the university plans to focus its growth.

“It’s just a monumental event for Portland State,” said Lindsay Desrochers, PSU’s vice president for finance and administration. “It’s harder and harder to bring cars downtown. We really don’t want that many cars downtown.”

New rec center

The university is building a new recreation center at Southwest Fifth and Harrison, between the new MAX tracks. PSU plans a 600-bed dormitory nearby at the new terminus of the transit mall, Desrochers said.

When the transit mall opens, PSU will have access to two light-rail lines — with the promise of a third by 2015. The Yellow Line that serves North Portland will be rerouted: Instead of running along Yamhill and Morrison, it will join the Green Line down Southwest Fifth and Sixth avenues to PSU’s campus.

By 2015, Portland State’s light-rail terminus will be the launching point for a new MAX line to Milwaukie, via the burgeoning South Waterfront area. That will enable PSU to co-develop some facilities at Oregon Health & Science University’s new campus by the Willamette River, Desrochers said.

The Milwaukie line will entail building the first new Willamette River bridge in downtown Portland since the Fremont Bridge opened in 1973. The span would carry MAX light rail, the Portland Streetcar, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Connecting to the downtown streetcar line, Portland and Lake Oswego have plans to add streetcars in coming years to promote denser development.

Network diversifying

Clearly, the region’s rail network is diversifying.

Take the Westside Express Service, known as WES, for example. Unlike MAX trains, the line will not operate at night or midday. Its 32 trains will haul commuters between Beaverton’s high-tech corridor and industrial Wilsonville, but only during morning and evening rush hours.

Operating hours were limited in part to accommodate a freight line that shares the tracks, Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake said. “WES will be a really nice tool, and I’ll predict that within five to 10 years, WES will need to operate more than when it opens later this year.”

The Westside Express will be among the first commuter lines in the nation to connect two suburbs. It holds the potential to do more than just ease Beaverton and Hillsboro connections.

“If you work in Hillsboro but live in Wilsonville, you can get out to Hillsboro pretty comfortably,” Drake said. “You only have to get off one train and get onto another.”

Wilsonville commuters might use the train to get to work in Portland, Drake predicted. That’s because Beaverton has two MAX lines that go into downtown Portland: the Red Line, which serves Portland International Airport, and the Blue Line to Gresham.

Overlapping lines
Those overlapping lines send trains passing by MAX stations about every eight minutes, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen said. That’s frequent enough that many riders won’t bother to check a schedule before walking to a rail station.

Such high-frequency service helps boost rail ridership, because people worry less about schedules, Hansen said. In coming years it could encourage riders to soften their resistance to transferring from one line to another during a trip.

“I think we will see this system start working the way New York or Washington, D.C., and others do, where it’s natural that people transfer,” he said.

Another MAX extension will get attention this year, as the region decides whether to include light rail in a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River.

Beyond the next few years, the passenger rail conversation probably will turn to potential MAX lines from Portland to Tigard along Oregon 99W and from Portland to Clackamas along Southeast Powell Boulevard, Hansen said.

There’s already talk of extending the Westside Express commuter line to Salem. Others are pushing for spurs off the rail network, rather than major new lines, Hansen said.

For example, Hillsboro is making a case for a spur from the existing MAX to the AmberGlen area, where it wants to create a high-rise district. Some have called for an eastern extension from Gresham to Mt. Hood Community College.

“The choice will be: Do we do some of these spurs as the next part, or will it be a major line?” Hansen said. “That will be among the choices facing us as a community.”

Dylan Rivera: 503-221-8532; dylanrivera@news.oregonian.com

Green transportation is key in Oregon

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Governor to push help for commute, environment

By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PORTLAND — Gov. Ted Kulongoski promised Friday an aggressive push to address problems of transportation, greenhouse gases and climate change, saying that the goals are not exclusive and that Oregon is capable of handling all of them.

In an address to the Oregon Environmental Council’s Business Forum, the governor said the current transportation system is unsustainable.

“We must ramp up our investments in green transportation while making even bigger cuts in greenhouse gases,” he said, promising Oregon’s most aggressive push yet to deal with both issues in the 2009 Legislature.

He said possible steps toward improvement could include such things as tax credits for businesses that encourage telecommuting, bike commuting and use of public transportation.

While the governor has stressed many of these points previously, he aimed some of them straight at the business community.

“Building a transportation system well suited to the needs of the 21st century and addressing the indisputable threat of climate change would both be worth doing, even if neither one affected our economy. But of course, as you know, they do,” he said.

“The fact is, addressing the issues around transportation and climate change are critical to our success in the global marketplace and maintaining our quality of life.”

He noted that California and British Columbia already have low-carbon fuel standards.

“If Oregon and Washington follow suit, the entire West Coast transportation fuel supply will be standardized toward this lower carbon fuel future. We should accept nothing less,” he said, adding that the Bush administration has “thrown up every roadblock at their disposal” to prevent the standards from moving ahead.

“Oregon and many other states are currently litigating because this is too important of an issue to let politics trump good public policy,” he said.

He said Oregon must avoid the danger of higher temperatures, less snowpack, fewer fish and dangerous storms that could cause billions of dollars in damage.

“We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking of transportation and climate change as conflicting policy choices; they’re not. We can do both, and we must do both.”

The challenge, he said, lies in making the public understand the importance of both in maintaining Oregon’s quality of life.

Making Renewable Energy Projects Happen

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Presented by NEBC & Northwest Biofuels Association
Thursday, April 24
8:00 am – 6:30 pm
Doubletree Hotel, Lloyd Center
1000 NE Multnomah
Portland, OR 97232

A conference addressing the specifics of renewable energy project development in the Northwest – both electricity and biofuels.

This regional conference brings together speakers and industry participants to share their perspectives on what it takes to successfully design, finance, and build renewable energy projects in both the electricity and biofuels arenas. Last year’s conference attracted 350 industry professionals, making this the Northwest event for those working to build a new energy economy.

Speakers and agenda

Registration:
NEBC Members – $175.00
Government, Non Profit, Academia – $175.00
Students (full time with current ID) – $50.00
All Others – $195.00

Oregon State works to turn algae into biodiesel

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)–“Pond scum” biodiesel? There are plenty of nicknames for algae, but it is one of the more plentiful natural crops in the world, and now it is being considered as a potential fuel source.

Oregon State University researchers are working to find an efficient method of processing algae to produce biodiesel fuel and ethanol.

Technology to mass-produce algae and extract its oils could be five to 10 years in the future, but the advantages would be worth the wait, says Ganti Murthy, an assistant professor of biological and ecological engineering.

“In a closed growing system,” Murthy said, “algae require 99 percent less water than any other crop.”

Algae can be found nearly everywhere, and it does not require a choice between food and fuel, such as converting corn into ethanol does.

“Algae can be grown using wastewater and in areas that cannot support agriculture,” Murthy said.

Varieties of the organism have been found flourishing in fresh and salt water and all kinds of environments, from the Arctic to tropical areas.

Algae also are highly productive compared with conventional crops. For example, a productivity model estimates that 48 gallons of biodiesel can be produced from an acre of soybeans. Algae could produce 819 gallons in a single acre, and theoretically as much as 5,000 gallons.

One of algae’s most remarkable qualities is that it can thrive on greenhouse gases from industry and coal-fired electrical generating plants. Waste carbon dioxide can be piped to algae ponds, where the gas is a necessary ingredient for growth and can even accelerate it by up to 30 percent.

Murthy has built two small experimental photobioreactors to grow microscopic algae in a closed system at OSU’s Sustainable Technologies Laboratory in Corvallis.

The reactors are simple plastic cylinders that have advantages over an open-pond system in greater productivity, reduced contamination and better control of growth.

It takes about three weeks for the algae, combined with light, water, carbon dioxide and mineral nutrients, to multiply and turn the water green.

4/7/08
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Date: 3/28/08

Obama: I’d Hire Gore

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Obama.Gore Former Vice President Al Gore discusses the First Amendment and the Internet…

By DEVLIN BARRETT, AP
56 minutes ago

WALLINGFORD, Pa. — Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday he would give Al Gore, a Nobel prize winner, a major role in an Obama administration to address the problem of global warming.

At a town-hall meeting, Obama was asked if he would tap the former vice president for his Cabinet, or an even higher level office, to handle global warming.

“I would,” Obama said. “Not only will I, but I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the table and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem. He’s somebody I talk to on a regular basis. I’m already consulting with him in terms of these issues, but climate change is real. It is something we have to deal with now, not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now.”

The only position higher than a Cabinet post is vice president. While Obama seemed to dangle that possibility in his answer Wednesday, he has repeatedly said it is far too early to discuss potential vice presidents because the nomination has not been won.

It is also not clear that Gore, who had the job for eight years under Bill Clinton, would even want to be a vice president again.

Since leaving the White House, Gore has gone on to become one of the world’s leading voices for combating the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. His work earned him a share of the Nobel last year.

Popular among Democrats, Gore is perhaps the single most coveted endorsement up for grabs in the long-running competition between Obama and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The relationship between Gore and the Clintons became strained after Gore limited Bill Clinton’s campaigning on his behalf in the 2000 presidential race which elected George W. Bush.

Obama said he would use Gore to help forge a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions designed to lower pollution.

The Illinois senator cautioned that such a system could mean an increase in electricity bills from power companies that rely on coal-burning, and that some of the money generated from a cap-and-trade system may be used in the beginning to help lower income or fixed income customers with those bills.

He also called on individuals to do their part to lower energy consumption.

“All of us are going to have to change our habits. We are a wasteful culture,” he said.

Using compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy efficient appliances, and unplugging power chargers when they’re not in use are relatively simple solutions, he said.

“Those kinds of simple steps, if everybody takes them, can drastically reduce our energy consumption.”

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