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Going Green in Portland

Visit one of America's eco-friendliest cities

For the eco-hearted traveler, there are few cities in America that will satisfy the need for green travel like Portland, Ore. With more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings than any other city in the United States, Portland dons itself in a different shade of green. Eco-geeks rejoice at the various green-friendly options in Portland, including the hybrid cars parked at solar-powered parking meters in front of energy efficient supermarkets. It just doesn’t get much greener.

While your flight to Portland might not earn you any tree-hugging points, there are plenty of ways to offset your carbon footprint once you land. Many Portland restaurants serve organic or locally grown food, which cuts down on packaging materials, shipping costs, and fuel. Portland boutiques, hotels, and recreation areas are catching on with their own sustainable initiatives. For instance, the Hotel Vintage Plaza sets a green standard by using chemical-free cleaning supplies, recycled products, and provides organic food and beverage options. The Camellia Pure Beauty boutique uses products without parabens, phthalates, petroleum, or artificial fragrances. You don’t a need a car to tour the city – just hop on a bike and hit the bike paths, and see all that this gorgeous, green city has to offer.

Thanks to the Green Investment Fund (GIF) Grants, seven Portland building projects will receive $2.5 million to stimulate green building technologies and architecture in Portland. Partnering with the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development, and the Bureau of Environmental Services and Energy Trust, the GIF seeks to capitalize on the eco-push that Portland has started.

Add these GIF-granted super-eco sites to your Portland travel agenda:

Park Avenue West: If you’re planning your green travel to Portland because you’re thinking of relocating, then this building is worthy of your attention. When construction is finished, Park Avenue West will become Portland’s third-tallest building and the state’s first property to mix office, retail, and residences, Park Avenue West also features regional materials that boast durability, recycled content, and future adaptability.

14th and Everett: Nestled in Portland’s old industrial district, this distinctive LEED Platinum historic renovation uses Sage glass – an electronic tinting power that maximizes energy efficiency, and could improve the property’s eco-effectiveness by 62.5 percent.

East Portland Community Center aquatics addition: Not only does this place get points for being green, but it also adds to the growing sense of community that you will notice immediately upon getting off your flight. Portland Parks and Recreation will install the city’s largest solar arrays at the center, which is said to reduce energy by 74 percent and water use by 54 percent over national standards. Reusing 1,700 gallons of water and utilizing an advanced pool filtration system, the center will save more than a million gallons of water a year.

One Waterfront Place: Book a flight to Portland and you’ll see an incredible fusion of nature and wildlife at One Waterfront Place. The renovated property will link the Willamette Greenway to the Pearl District through a new pedestrian bridge. Using a combination of eco roofs, rain gardens, and planters to treat storm water and restore wildlife habitat, the green innovations you’ll see here make a world of difference.

12W: This high rise as something to brag about. Topped with wind turbines on 40-foot masts, 12W could be the first among urban buildings in the country to rely on wind power. Equipped with eco roofs and rainwater storage tanks, the mixed-use tower uses recycled and reclaimed materials and successfully utilizes its high-efficiency systems.

Mercy Corps' Global Headquarters: What used to be the historic Skidmore Fountain Building will soon become the Mercy Corps’ Global Headquarters. Focusing on worldwide environmental, economic, and social goals, the Portland-based, non-profit humanitarian agency will change the building’s structure to reduce energy, water, and material use. Start your green travel to Portland off on the right foot and take a little of Mercy Corps’ inspiration with you.

Simpson Commons: Using 90 percent eco-roofs, and a combination of strategically-placed windows and skylights throughout the entirety of the building, this mixed-use development will eliminate energy use for any heating and cooling needs. Settled on the northeast side of the city, Simpson Commons aims to conserve energy and capture storm water to add to its eco-efficiency. Check it out on one of your green travel adventures in Portland.

These new additions are just part of Portland’s lure for people interested in green travel. Book a flight to Portland today to discover all the ways you can travel green on the West Coast.

Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.