By Bryan Brumley
Inner Southeast Portland businesses have gotten even greener over the past two years, as illustrated in a colorful map issued by the activist group Sustainable Southeast.
The map documents a “57 percent growth in the number of eco-certified businesses” in five SE Portland neighborhoods, said Michele Machado, leader of the group.
It marks the locations of 46 area businesses that have been certified as
“eco-friendly” by such nationally recognized bodies as the Forest Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
“They have organically included more businesses,” said Brian Alfano, president of Venture Portland, which provided seed money for the project two years ago.
“And the business community has taken it on itself to get certified. That’s not easy. I think this is very powerful.”
In addition to another map planned for two years down the road, a future direction for Sustainable Southeast will be “eco-certifying” home businesses, said team member Liz Potter, Community Coordinator for two New Seasons Markets in the Hawthorne-Division area.
The team also plans to prepare welcome kits to let newcomers to know about green businesses in the area, and to reach out to more firms in the fast-changing Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC).
“This is a synthesis of neighborhood and business groups coming together like nothing else in Portland,” said Machado, Sustainability Coordinator & Operations Manager at Hostelling International USA.
The groups taking part in the effort include the CEIC, the Hawthorne Boulevard, Division-Clinton and Belmont Area business associations, and neighborhood associations in Hosford-Abernethy, Mount Tabor, Richmond, Buckman and Sunnyside. The neighborhoods have a combined population of 44,989.
Among the changes that the group found since its first map two years ago was an increase in the number of electric car charge stations from six to 10. They also found 1.5 acres of eco-roofs on area businesses and homes. And three of the five neighborhoods have conducted tree inventories over the past two years, cataloguing 14,651 trees in their parking strips.
Copies of the map can be found in area businesses and at Travel Portland’s Visitors Bureau Downtown at Pioneer Square.
“We want to direct more eco-tourists to SE Portland to help stimulate the local economy,” said Machado.