Archive for April, 2010

City recommends Nashville firm run garages

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Portland Business Journal

The Portland Transportation Bureau has recommended that a Nashville, Tenn., firm receive a contract to oversee the city’s six SmartPark garages.

Central Parking System won the recommendation to receive the garage management contract over four other companies, including Star Park, which had won the contract seven years ago over a group overseen by the Portland Business Alliance. City Center Parking, with garages, lots and buildings in Portland, also failed to win the bid.

The Portland City Council must still approve the contract. The city continues to negotiate the contract’s value with the Nashville company. Cheryl Kuck, a transportation spokeswoman, said the company earned the recommendation after scoring highest on a series of factors.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” said Roy Jay, who formed an alliance of two minority chambers of commerce to manage the garages for Star Park. “We had a very strong proposal, and at this point, it’s just a recommendation. We’re not at all discouraged because a final decision hasn’t been made.”

Jay also said his group hasn’t decided whether it will appeal the recommendation if the city council approves it.

Central Parking System operates garages for nearly 60 cities nationwide, including structures in Seattle and New York.

Roy Kaufmann, a spokesman for Mayor Sam Adams, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the proposal.

“Smart, efficient, and customer-focused parking is essential to the economic vitality of downtown Portland,” Adams said in a statement. “Central Parking System brings to the City of Portland innovations that will lead to reduced operating costs, enhanced customer service, and improved marketing of the garages to promote visitors to downtown Portland.”

The city’s six garages offer nearly 4,000 parking spaces.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

From everyone here at ecoShuttle, Happy Earth Day!  I know we’re a couple days early, but we’re just so excited for this warmer weather and our favorite type of transport:  Weddings and Wine Tours.  We are offering Memorial Day Weekend wine tours for groups and we will put individuals on waiting lists to see if we can get at least five people for a 9-passenger ride starting at $60 per person.  Weekends are filling up fast, so your wedding guests will need a reliable transportation option for getting from their hotel to your venue!  Your guests are our guests on the ecoShuttle, as we can provide on time, safe service and give you the peace of mind you need on your wedding day!


Portland Employers Find It’s Easy Being Green

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Companies in the Oregon city don’t just talk about sustainability and renewable resources—they follow through. Employees wouldn’t have it any other way.
By Michelle V. Rafter

n Portland, Oregon, your company isn’t really green unless you’ve got a bike cage in the parking structure, a compost bin in the lunchroom, fume-free paint on the walls, recycled glass on the lobby front desk, and nary a plastic water bottle, paper cup or soda machine in sight.    Portland’s strict land-use laws, burgeoning renewable energy industry, mass transit system, bike culture, parks and clean water are only some of the reasons it has been voted “Greenest City in America” by Popular Science and “one of America’s top 10 cleanest cities” by Forbes.

    The everyday practices of local businesses have helped the Rose City earn its green bragging rights.

    But companies have ulterior motives. Despite the recession, Portland employers have to tout their green know-how if they want to attract the best possible job candidates, according to Lois Brooks, HR committee chairwoman of American Electronics Association’s Oregon chapter and HR director at WebTrends, a Web analytics and online marketing company.

    “It helps your brand in the marketplace,” Brooks told several dozen chapter members attending a November 2008 seminar on going green. When it comes to green initiatives, employees need an advocate, and HR can fill the bill, Brooks says.

    Tripwire Inc. is a good example of green practices some Portland companies are putting in place and of the input that workers have in the process.

    In November, the 12-year-old online security company moved 170 employees into new headquarters in 33,000 square feet on two rebuilt floors of a downtown Portland high-rise. At the same time the company was pondering moving, employees had begun requesting that managers step up their commitment to sustainability.

    It eventually fell to HR generalist Barbara Salegio to coordinate the move and spearhead a newly created employee sustainability committee. One of the committee’s functions: help decide which green upgrades to buy with $1.2 million the company received from its new landlord for tenant improvements.

    With the committee’s input and management’s blessing, Salegio opted to use the money for such things as an open layout that lets natural light into 90 percent of the area; low-volatile organic compound paints to cut back on fumes released during application; upholstered furniture made from skins and frames that can be taken apart and recycled; and a cafeteria with reusable dishes and utensils, dishwasher, composting bins, a minimum of disposable paper products and no garbage disposal.

The vending machines there don’t offer plastic water bottles or canned drinks. The espresso machine has a paperless filter. A cage in the building’s parking lot holds up to 18 bikes.

    Going green hasn’t been 100 percent easy.

    Tripwire chose not to apply for certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System because the additional expense wasn’t in the budget.

    Despite Salegio’s best efforts, paper cups keep appearing in the lunchroom. And there’s a lot more on her wish list, including dual-flush toilets, light sensors throughout and using more renewable resources for the company’s energy-hogging 3,000-square-foot data center.

    But it would have been difficult to have gotten even this far anywhere else, Salegio says. Originally from Chicago, she has shared some of her green lessons with HR colleagues there.

    “They all think it’s nice and dandy, but they’d never adopt something like that. It wouldn’t look as right,” she says.

Portland’s green reputation has become a magnet for companies looking to improve their green practices, such as Vidoop. Every one of Vidoop’s 37 employees moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Portland in September after CEO Joel Novell decided the 2-year-old security software company needed to be closer to its primarily West Coast customers.

    After a search, Novell and his employees decided Portland matched their lifestyles better than Seattle or San Francisco.

    Today, the majority of the company’s employees commute by public transportation, bike or foot, including Novell, who lives within walking distance of the firm’s headquarters in downtown Portland’s Old Town district.

    “I had three cars in Oklahoma and I have none now,” he says.

    Maybe the biggest testament to Portland’s green scene: Shortly after Vidoop moved, the economy tanked, requiring the company to let nine people go.

    To date, none has returned to Oklahoma.

Press Release: Fans Ready to Roll to the Rose Garden for Annual Bike to Blazers Game

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Here’s the official press release from the Trail Blazers about the big event tomorrow!:

  • A free prize raffle for an autographed Bill Walton helmet
  • A “dress like Bill Walton” contest
  • Community bike awareness events on the Rose Quarter Commons
  • A designated bike section for the first 100 ticket buyers, with JumboTron recognition.
  • Post game free-throw shooting for participants
  • Trail Blazers bike bells for cyclists


Another U.S. Federal Agency on Board with Sustainable Transport

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Submitted by Megan McConville on April 2, 2010No Comment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is joining the  growing list of federal agencies recognizing the benefits of active  transportation. Photo: shoothead.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is joining the growing list of federal agencies recognizing the benefits of active and sustainable transportation. Photo: shoothead.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation…and now Health and Human Services, all lining up behind sustainable transportation goals? Could this be true?

It could, and it is. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just announced a round of grants that will help 44 communities around the country prevent chronic disease and promote wellness. The program is part of the Community Putting Prevention to Work effort, a stimulus-funded initiative. Grantees will use the money for projects ranging from increasing physical activity to reducing youth tobacco use. But the most interesting part to us was the number of projects making the connection between public health and issues like sustainable development, walking and biking, and more integrated land use and transportation planning. Here are some examples (see the full list of grantees on the HHS website, and watch the press conference announcing the winners):

  • The Boston Public Health Commission plans to implement a new bike sharing program and Complete Streets policies, as well as land use policy changes that encourage community/backyard gardening.
  • The Jefferson County (AL) Department of Health will support mixed-use development to improve options for safe physical activity, develop greenways to increase everyday movement and access to physical activity hot spots, and establish neighborhood walking groups in low-income communities.
  • The Philadelphia Department of Public Health was funded to expand the number of farmers’ markets in low-income neighborhoods, create 1,000 “healthy corner stores” that sell fresh produce and water, and complete a citywide pedestrian and bike plan.
  • Seattle and King County Department of Public Health will increase access to safe places for activity in schools and parks, support the development of healthy corner stores, and King County and its cities will include elements in master plans that promote walking and biking.
  • The County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency will integrate public health considerations with transportation and land use planning policies.
  • The Miami-Dade County Health Department plans to enhance signage for bike lanes, boulevards, and walkable neighborhoods.
  • Pima County, Arizona will improve residents’ access to safe, high-quality parks and recreation facilities, and foster private and community gardens, farmers markets, and food cooperatives.
  • The Tri-County Health Department (Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, CO) plans to support Safe Routes to School activities; advise municipalities on city planning, zoning, and transportation efforts to promote physical activity and access to healthy foods; and establish community gardens.
  • The City of Portland Health and Human Services Department will increase the number of safe, attractive, and accessible places for activity; enhance physical activity opportunities and signage in walkable/mixed-use neighborhoods and through transportation options (e.g., bike lanes/boulevards); and facilitate increased physical activity through Safe Routes to School programs.

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