Archive for July, 2009

Free Shuttle from Gateway Transit Center to Pickathon

Friday, July 31st, 2009

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Free Shuttle to Pickathon!

Friday, July 31st, 2009

ecoShuttle is providing a free shuttle service to this year’s Pickathon-an awesome Bluegrass Festival in Happy Valley, OR.  Come join us and ride the Max!  We’ll give you a ride from Gateway TC right to the farm.  Please see the schedule below for more information.

Trash worth cash

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Restaurant owners guard their used oil, now a hot property targeted by thieves

Long the scourge of the restaurant business, old fryer oil is now a valuable commodity, and people will steal it. The oil is used to make biodiesel and many go out of their way to acquire it.

Reports from the New York Times, The Associated Press and National Public Radio have noted the theft rate increases as gas prices rise. The oil is traded as a commodity and the city of San Francisco now has a program in which it collects the oil and uses it to power city buses and fire trucks.

Local businesses have taken precautions to protect their oil, which was once something they paid to have removed.

“I remember those years of paying for removal,” said Elks Club Chef Joshua Parliament. “Southern Oregon Tallow was the first to start paying for the oil, even though it was just nickels.”

Parliament said he had issues at other restaurants where the oil would get stolen, but the new company, Rogue Biofuel, has “pretty fool-proof containers.”

“Rogue is a good company, and I’d rather see them take the oil away,” Parliament said. “They do the refining properly.”

Ron Roth of Geppetto’s restaurant has lots of experience dealing with old restaurant oil and its theft. He is doing what many in Ashland are — giving the oil to a local who produces the fuel.

Roth keeps the old oil in the original jugs it came in, and it is removed bi-weekly.

“When we started giving the oil to the biodiesel people we stored it in drums in the alley,” Roth said. “It started disappearing, so we started keeping it inside about a year ago. Since we’ve been keeping it inside, it doesn’t get stolen anymore.”

Rogue Biofuel of Central Point has many Ashland accounts, and Vice President Gabriel Rowland said biodiesel has “a huge global market,” and deals with the theft issue daily.

“We know a lot about that,” Rowland said. “Some of our accounts are a long way away and to show up to an empty bin costs the company money.”

Rowland said that, in eastern Oregon, restaurants still pay to have oil removed, but it is not the case anymore in most of the state. In the past week, the company opened a 3,000-gallon gas station on Highway 99 in Ashland, which sells the biodiesel it produces. He said a major issue is the quality of biodiesel produced by those who are stealing the oil.

“A lot of this fuel is creating a bad name for biodiesel,” Rowland said, “and it is difficult for us to overcome.”

Parliament has seen bad biodiesel in action.

“Good biodiesel is actually a refined product,” Parliament said. “The guy going down the highway with black smoke coming out of his exhaust and a ‘powered by bio-diesel’ sticker is just polluting.”

Another restaurant which has people remove their oil to make diesel is the Standing Stone Brewery on Oak Street. Chef Eric Bell keeps his oil tucked away in an enclosed area, and believes if it didn’t get removed on a regular basis, it too would get stolen.

“It doesn’t happen much here because there are arrangements,” Bell said. “In Salt Lake City, many times some hip people would show up at your door and ask for it, but many times it would just get stolen.”

Bell hopes to eventually use the oil himself to power the equipment needed to run his dream farm, which will produce food for the brewery. Bell has made biodiesel before.

“The exhaust smells like French fries,” he said.

Oregon nurseries turn to sustainable growing techniques

Friday, July 17th, 2009

by Dana Tims, The Oregonian

Thursday July 16, 2009, 5:29 PM

A retention pond at Fisher Farms in Gaston captures excess irrigation water, which then flows through a natural filtration system. The process, an example of sustainable practices promoted by Oregon’s nursery industry, improves water quality and wildlife habitat.

Oregon’s nursery and greenhouse operators are undertaking a major effort to incorporate environmentally sustainable growing practices into their businesses.

A 12-member task force of growers, retailers and wholesalers met for the first time Thursday to begin mapping out a multiyear effort to develop greener business practices and satisfy growing consumer demand in sustainable agriculture.


“Oregon is already widely known as an environmentally sensitive place,” said Paul Bizon, founder of ProGrass in Wilsonville and the task force’s co-chairman. “Making our products just that much more positive for consumers just makes sense.”

With total sales of nearly $1 billion annually, nursery and greenhouse operations already constitute by far the largest segment of Oregon’s agricultural economy.

Announcement of the sustainability initiative comes at a critical time for the industry, which has been hit hard over the past 18 months by a dramatic slowdown in the nation’s housing market and the corollary chilling in demand for landscaping products.

Industry representatives hope that by creating standards leading to a first-ever sustainability certification process, Oregon — which ships 75 percent of its nursery and greenhouse products out of state — can remain competitive as demand once again ticks upward.

“Some people back East are already suggesting that it’s more sustainable to buy locally than from a distant West Coast supplier,” said John Aguirre, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “We know that isn’t necessarily the case, but we really need to be able to quantify our efforts.”

Aguirre, whose organization is overseeing the initiative, said no other state is doing anything similar in terms of developing a set of best-business practices.

“Sustainability is becoming a mainstream business principle and that’s true for our industry, as well,” he said. “By the end of this project, we’ll know what types of things our growers are already doing that constitute sustainable practices and what sorts of things we can do to improve our current practices.”

Some examples of existing sustainability practices range from growers restoring riparian areas to bolster salmon runs in area streams to creating retention ponds that limit rainwater runoff, Aguirre said. One Silverton nursery recently installed solar panels to limit electricity costs, while others are investing in composting operations.

“There are lots of incentives out there to help nursery operations with these projects,” said Laura O’Leary, sustainability director for One Green World nursery in Molalla. “A big benefit of this new project will be its ability to let individual operations know how and where to get those incentives.”

The initiative is being underwritten by a $50,000 specialty-crop award grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The state nursery association is kicking in an additional $17,500 and substantial in-kind contribution of staff time.
Dana Tims: 503-294-5918; danatims@news.oregonian.com

Summer Jam 2009

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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Portland International Beer Festival: July 17-19

Monday, July 13th, 2009

There seems to be a beer related event in Portland every week now. July is Oregon Craft Beer month and there are at least two beer festivals taking place. In less than two weeks from now, the Oregon Brewers Festival kickportland beer festivalss off on the waterfront. Can’t wait that long? No worries–Portland’s International Beer fest is right around the corner.

Related: Large / Important Portland Events

From Website Facts Section:

When is the 2009 PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL BEER FEST held?
July 17 – 19, 2009

Where is the event held?
In the grass of Pearl District North Park Blocks, between NW Davis & Everett. PIB is one block West of NW Broadway and just two blocks North of Burnside, right next to downtown proper.

How much does it cost to get in?
Beer drinkers pay $20 for 10 beer tickets and official PIB glass. Additional tickets are just $1 each. (See “SAVE MONEY” for additional discounts). Each serving is 4oz. Beers cost 1 to 4 tickets depending on “*swank factor” (*how expensive it is to us).

There are a lot of 1 ticket beers, so don’t worry if you’re on a budget.Tickets are non-refundable.

$5 cover for non-drinkers/designated drivers (included free N/A bevs.)

Why do some beers cost more than others?
Part of what makes PIB special is the incredible range of beers we offer, both draft and bottle. The number of tickets a beer costs is based on how much the event paid for that particular beer. Some of them are among the most exspensive beers in the world. Others are medium priced craft beers from breweries in the area. And then there’s everything in between.This system alone makes our event a true rarity and enables the consumer to try $15 per bottle beers for just a couple of bucks

Can I buy advanced tickets?
Not this year… maybe next time around.

Does PIB accept credit cards or checks?
We are still somewhat “olde school” when it comes to methods of payment. Our event is cash only. We have an ATM machine nearby.

What is the appropriate ID to get in?
The OLCC will accept 1) a VALID driver’s license with a photo from any state; 2) a current passport; 3) a DMV Identification card; and 4.) a military card. The state identification card and/or the military card must bear a picture of the person, the person’s name, address, date of birth, a physical description and the signature of the person.

Can I bring my child?
No, but you can bring your dog!

When do taps shut down?
No beer will be served after 9:40 p.m. on Friday & Saturday, 6:40 on Sunday. The event closes at 10pm Fri/Sat, and 7pm on Sun, so there’s still time to hang out after last call and the end of beer service.

Is there any food on site?
PIB will offer several food options.

Can I come back the next day if I have extra beer tokens?
Yes. You must have your glass and wristband from the previous day. No exceptions. Beer tickets are good for all 3 days.

What’s the deal with the GRANDE BEER GARDEN?
For people who appreciate a great value and just want to come hang out in the park while having a delicious frosty cold pint as their beer geek friends try 130 different beers, we created the GBG with that in mind. Full pints are only $3 and you can take them anywhere in the park. Beers featured are Peroni (from Italy) and Pilsner Urquell (from Czech Republic).


2009 Dates and Times


Friday July 17 4pm-10pm
Saturday July 18 12pm-10pm
Sunday July 19 12pm-7pm

Cost

Beer drinkers pay $20 for 10 beer tickets and official PIB glass.
More tickets available for $1 each
All beers are 4oz. servings

Each beer costs 1 to 4 tickets depending on "swank factor".
Usually at least half are just 1 ticket.

**$5 for non-drinkers/designated drivers
**includes free N/A bevs.

Re-Entry Policy

Free re-entry: COME BACK ALL 3 DAYS!
(must have glass & wristband.  NO Exceptions)
Fair Warning

With this many great beers, it’s hard to keep them all in stock
throughout the weekend. Please come early to avoid missing
out on the Best of the Fest.  Selections may be limited on
Sunday. There are no refunds for unused tickets or because
certain beers are out of stock. If we are out of your favorite
beer, it is most likely because Jack Hooley drank it all.
Free darts, chess, checkers and backgammon!

Were can I find parking?
Diamond Parking:
NW 10th & Hoyt
DPS Parking:
NW 9th & Hoyt

Chinatown Parking:
NW 5th & Davis U-Park
NW Glisan & Park
NW 6th & Couch
NW 5th & Glisan
NW 4th & Flanders
NW Hoyt & Broadway
NW 6th & Irving

City Center Parking:
NW 4th & Glisan
NW Couch & Broadway
SW Pine & Broadway

Public Parking:
NW 6th & Everett

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Supercar Going Electric (Without Tesla)

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The Mercedes-Benz AMG division has historically been about ungodly power and torque, space shuttle-like acceleration and street legal race car performance. Each AMG engine is hand built by one engineer from start to finish. With so much emphasis on making cars fast and exclusive, fuel economy has often been an afterthought. Not anymore.

AutoWeek has reported that the AMG engineers are developing a plug-in electric version of their upcoming SLS supercar. The German automaker hopes to be at the forefront of zero-emissions performance vehicles.

The “eDrive” SLS will pull much of its design from the gas-powered version, which is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 15. The eco-friendly vehicle will retain the lightweight aluminum structure, the gullwing doors, and much of the gas vehicle’s interior.

Riding on a modified rear-wheel-drive SLS platform, the eDrive supercar will employ a 98-kilowatt electric motor for each wheel. Torque will be regulated based on which wheel has the most grip, effectively giving the electric SLS all-wheel-drive.

In place of the standard SLS torque tube, a lithium-ion battery pack designed by the German energy company, Evonic, will store the power required to move the vehicle. That’s right, folks. Despite Daimler AG’s recent purchase of a 10% stake in Tesla, the California based EV company’s technology will not be used here.

AMG expects the eDrive SLS to make 526 horsepower and 649 lb-ft of torque. While this represents an 8% reduction in power from the fossil fuel burner, torque increases 35% in the electric car. Top speed will exceed 120 miles per hour and 0-60 should fly by in four seconds. A full charge on a standard outlet will take eight hours and provide about 100 miles of range.

“We didn’t want to do another concept car without any real relevance to what we’re doing today,” says AMG boss, Volker Mornhinweg. “Instead, we decided to bring the future to us by applying advanced technology we’d already been looking at to a car we’re just about to launch.”

Look for the eDrive SLS in 2015. In the meantime, wipe the drool off your chin.

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