Another step in the right direction towards a cleaner more sustainable Portland, Solarize North and Solarize Northwest are projects to help homeowners in Portland dive into alternative energy. The goal is to make purchasing solar power more affordable by grouping entire neighborhoods together with volume purchases - and thereby reducing costs. The projects have full support from Neighbors West- Northwest Coalition (NWNW), North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS), City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Energy Trust of Oregon.
North and Northwest Portland area homeowners looking to control their energy costs by using solar electricity have a new helping hand to guide them through the steps of a home installation. Solarize Northwest and Solarize North Portland are two new grassroots, community-based projects coordinated by Neighbors West -Northwest and North Portland Neighborhood Services.
With almost eight megawatts (MW) of solar power installed across the city (enough energy to power almost 700 homes) - Portlanders have helped prevent 4,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. The City of Portland is nearing its goal for installing 10 MW by 2012. There are currently 600 residential solar electric systems (also known as photovoltaics or PV), totaling 1.6 MW, installed in Portland. The growth of the local residential market has experienced a 400 percent increase in installations from 2008 to 2010.
For more information about the history of the Solarize programs, visit www.portlandonline.com/bps/solarize
Free workshops makes going solar easy and affordable
Solarize Portland neighborhood projects are designed to simplify the process of going solar and bring cost reductions through volume purchasing. Free workshops make the process easy to understand by covering topics such as the size of system to purchase, budgeting and financing, and how to get started.
View the schedule of free workshops in North Portland: www.solarizenorth-nw.org/workshops-northView the schedule of free workshops in Northwest Portland:www.solarizenorth-nw.org/workshops
Online enrollment for both group purchase projects is now open at www.solarizenorth-nw.org and closes March 31, 2011.
The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the nonprofit organization Energy Trust of Oregon are working together to support the launch of Solarize Northwest and North Portland, and can help any Portland neighborhood associations or groups interested in operating Solarize projects. For these two projects, the City of Portland is providing strategic assistance and coordination, and Energy Trust is providing technical assistance and cash incentives to help lower the upfront cost of the solar electric systems. Also, Solar Oregon is offering educational workshops and providing database services.
Following a three-year initiative by several neighborhood associations, Portland City Council unanimously adopted an amended ordinance (CLICK HERE to read ordinance) on January 7th to regulate publication boxes on our city sidewalks.
The amended code creates guidelines as to when, where, and how publication boxes can be placed, as well as requiring publishers to affix a sticker to all of their boxes with a working phone number to report condition issues with the boxes. It defines what constitutes an abandoned box, and it creates a mechanism for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to enforce the code. The code revision also creates an option for newspaper co-publication boxes in other parts of the city. This is a huge step forward towards cleaning up the public right-of-way. Along with other quality of life issues such as noise trash and graffiti, this as an important victory in making city streets cleaner, safer and more livable.
In supportive testimony before City Council, PDNA representative to the Joint Subcommittee on Sidewalk Management Stan Penkin said, “Over the years, the proliferation of publication boxes on our streets has become an eyesore, a nuisance and an impediment to pedestrian traffic. The sight of empty boxes, graffiti covered boxes, broken boxes blocking sidewalks and so on speaks to how we do NOT want our city to be.”
Representatives from the Northwest Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Portland Business Alliance and Friendly Streets also provided testimony in support of the ordinance.
The passage of this ordinance is a testament to how the collaborative efforts of neighborhood associations, business associations, other stakeholders (including the publishing industry) and government (PBOT) can help to create more livable communities.