One of the ten best in the country, says Natural Home Magazine

Pringle Creek Community is on Natural Home Magazine’s list of the top ten green housing developments. It’s a ten-way tie; the developments are listed alphabetically by city. In addition to recognizing the potential for carbon-neutral living and net-zero energy homes at Pringle Creek (all Pringle Creek homes are expected to achieve LEED-Silver, Gold or Platinum), the magazine takes note of these great features:

  • Geothermal heating in 70 homes, commercial and mixed-use buildings
  • Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber
  • Green restoration of historic buildings and greenhouses
  • Porous asphalt street system for managing rainwater
  • Onsite biodiesel co-op; community flex car (car-sharing)
  • Creek and wetlands restoration; tree preservation plan
  • Community garden and orchards

Three other developments from the Pacific Northwest made the list: Issaquah Highlands and High Point from the Seattle area, and Helensview from the Portland area.

Thank you Statesman Journal for reporting on Pringle Creek making this list.


"Green" asphalt

Pringle Creek and its amazing porous asphalt are the cover story of the Aphalt Pavement Association of Oregon’s magazine. Online the issue is a large (3MB) pdf: Forget Yellow Brick Roads, Think Green Asphalt Streets! Good title.
Pringle Creek developers are not among the skeptics. The community is the first of significant size to use 100% permeable pavement in its streets. And with 9,000 linear feet of streets and alleyways, it is believed to be the largest residential application of porous asphalt in the country.
“Sustainability is the real motivator for us,” said Don Myers, Pringle Creek project manager and president of Sustainable Development, Inc. in Salem. “People are drawn to it, and it supports our company’s philosophy of environmental stewardship,” he added.
The article has a full technical explanation of how the roads were built, how the pavement works. I prefer to think it’s magic. Watch our little 10-second video below and tell me it’s not magical.


Marion County leads state in recycling

Congratulations to our friends at Marion County Public Works – Environmental Services. Marion County is leading the state in recycling and composting. We have a 57.5 percent recovery rate. Well done, folks.

That 57.5 percent is slightly higher than the other counties in the Willamette Valley and the Portland Metro area; it is significantly higher than the counties throughout the rest of the state. In fact, statewide, the material recovery rate is falling and per-capita waste generation is rising. “Oregonians are generating waste at record-high levels,” 3,122 pounds per Oregonian per year. The goal has been to stay at the same level but it has gone up 4.1 percent.

Paragraphs below are from the DEQ press release:

In 2006, the state posted a 47.6 percent recovery rate, down from 2005’s 49.1 percent and short of the 2009 goal of 50 percent. The total amount of waste recovered increased slightly in 2006, but the amount of waste generated increased even more.

What Consumers Can Do

DEQ’s Web site offers consumers a series of tips, fact sheets and other documents they can use to help them make the best choices in dealing with their solid waste and other forms of pollution. Please go to DEQ’s Solid Waste Web page. DEQ’s Sustainability Web page also contains additional consumer tips [including] 10 ways consumers can prevent pollution, conserve resources and save money.


Think and give rice

Here is a website I don't mind promulgating (is that correct usage?). It’s Freerice.com. If you surf over there and test your knowledge by answering multiple choice vocabulary questions, your correct answers, if you have any, will cause a donation of rice to the UN World Food Program. How cool is that? It's as fun and addictive as solitaire, but it helps your vocabulary and helps the hungry.

The website started on 10/7/07. It has grown quickly and hit a high of 299,292,160 grains of rice donated on 12/5. The daily totals are lower on weekends, suggesting that employers may be the true contributers--maybe I should have qualms (good Scrabble word) about promulgating it after all. Freerice.com is connected to poverty.com, which was started in January by “a private individual” John Breen. Nice going, Mr. Breen.


Oregon can be a leader in sustainability

Almost a year ago we wrote about, with some excitement, the Oregon Leadership Summit #5 and how the business leaders in Oregon were committing to branding our state and region as world leaders of sustainable development. Summit #6, held earlier this week in Portland, focused on “taking this commitment to the next stage of action.”

The big topics of the day were “moving forward on transportation” and "proposals to gain green advantage." Dignataries participating in the summit included our governor, both US senators, and several state representatives and senators. Several new initiative proposals were prepared for discussion, such as Oregon as a Center for Sustainability Learning by Mark Edlen of Gerding/Edlen Development and Sue Bragdon of the Oregon University System.

The Oregonian article about the summit is not particularly encouraging. I like this part:

Attendees were asked to vote electronically on the question, "Do you support the Oregon Business Plan's strategy to distinguish Oregon as a global leader in sustainable economic development?"

Of the 600 or so who voted, 96 percent clicked on their remote-control voting machines that they supported or strongly supported the move. Three percent said they were neutral, while 1 percent was strongly opposed.

With that kind of support, we should be moving full steam ahead. But the article goes on to focus on participants who are concerned that promoting sustainability won’t bring in many manufacturing or other middle class jobs. To me, new manufacturing opportunities are part of the solution, but I thought the whole idea was to brand Oregon as sustainable and green in order to attract the new generation of green businesses and manufacturing jobs. Transportation alternatives, innovation, energy-efficiency, local food and a healthy environment are even more critical factors as we move forward into the knowledge and experience economies.

Let’s hope Oregon’s leaders came away from the conference with new energy. With Oregon's green reputation, leveraging a statewide mission and vision is just sitting in front of us. Pringle Creek, with its national green development award, has proven itself a showcase for this vision. I would like to see the rest of Salem doing more to connect to this huge movement. Oregon’s capital should be emblematic of sustainability and connected to this mega-trend.


Cottage Home #1 is award finalist!

Number one in so many ways already.
Pringle Creek Community’s first home, Cottage Home #1, is the first LEED-Platinum home in the Northwest and the highest point-getter in the highest LEED category (see here). Now it has a chance to win a gold award at the 2008 Energy Value Housing Awards.

The awards program, in its 13th year, is put on by the National Association of Home Builders. The program “was created to help educate the home building industry and the public about successful approaches to energy-efficient construction that can be implemented by mainstream builders.”

The 2008 winners will be announced at the EVHA banquet during the 2008 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida. Cottage Home #1 is a finalist in the “Production” category for the “Moderate” climate region. It is also in the running for the Builder of the Year award and the People's Choice award (you might get a chance to vote on the latter--if so, we will certainly let you know).

You may be thinking, “What is so special about this house that makes it a gold award contender?” If you want to read about the great features and benefits of this state-of-the-art home, click here.


Tokyo International University visits Pringle Creek

Last week, a group of students from Tokyo International University (which has a satellite campus at Willamette U) came by to learn about Pringle Creek. They had a great time touring around and were very engaged. The streets in particular amazed them; they videotaped a bucket of water being poured onto the street and vanishing into the porous asphalt (they all cheered and clapped loudly). They also were amazed by the massive wood beams we have in storage. These beams were milled onsite from winter blow-downs and hazard trees that will have a second life in new construction (instead of firewood). A cultural difference: Before the students went into the Cottage Home to look around, everyone removed their shoes and lined them up perfectly together, neatly. Typically students need to be asked to remove their shoes, which they then toss willy nilly on the porch.

These students have spent the last year living and studying in Oregon and are on their way back to Japan in December. They said what they loved most about Oregon was “all the beautiful nature.”



First custom house

A couple weeks ago the permit was pulled on the home of Alan and Sue Wilson [introduced back in May, here]. Soon after that, the footing was poured. It was a beautiful fall day at Pringle Creek--the sunset maples in full glory.

The Wilson's home is the first custom house coming out of the ground. Phil Klaus of Spectra Construction is the builder. It will be a “tall house,” a wonderful, unique three-story design. The garage is tucked underneath, on the ground level, along with a bonus space that can be office, studio, guestroom, whatever. The second floor includes an open floor plan with living room, kitchen and dining room. Upstairs are the master bedroom suite and two additional bedrooms.

The Wilson’s house is slated for LEED gold. We're really going to enjoy watching this new housing style go up. Welcome to the neighborhood Alan and Sue!

Don Myers


Green tips

Pringle Creek Community is a pretty big project and features numerous cutting-edge sustainability features. It also incorporates New Urbanist planning ideas to foster community. We believe these are part of path to a better future. We applaud other developments doing similar things. We hope there will be many who follow our direction. In other words, we hope what we’re doing is part of something bigger.

In the same way, we all have to hope that when we make personal consumption changes--like installing an efficient showerhead--it leads to a greater movement by others who try to make a better future by making many little lifestyle changes.

Here is a website, The Daily Green, that we like. We have added to our list of websites on this page. This web publication regularly offers up new tips on greener living. You can sign up to get an email sent regularly.

Here’s my tip: Why not pack up your roller blades and ride your bike out to Pringle Creek for an hour of fun and fitness on our pervious streets, sidewalks and trails. It's just good to get outside and enjoy the fall colors.


Green + Solar Tour a Great Success

With over 350 participants and broad community support, the first-ever Salem Green + Solar Home Tour was a great success! Participants particularly enjoyed talking with homeowners at each of the 11 sites about the designs and products they’ve installed in their homes, from solar hot water systems to bamboo flooring. There were different types of homes represented on the tour, from single family to mixed-use condo, new construction to a 100-year-old remodel, a 3,000 sqft house to a 400 sqft house. The reception afterwards, at Pringle Creek, had over 150 people and was a lot of fun. I think the participants appreciated Pringle Creek’s involvement as host of the reception, and that we are an active supporter of the larger Salem community.

There was tremendous positive feedback and we will definitely be doing this event again next year. Thanks to the homeowners who opened their doors to the public and facilitated this valuable exchange of ideas. Also a special thanks to our community sponsors--your generous support made it happen.



Reasons for calling it "smart growth"

Most commuters want to drive less. Many homebuyers want to live in walkable neighborhoods. This Natural Resources Defense Council article is a two-page primer on smart growth. It describes the benefits of mixed-use and location-efficient communities.

Residents of communities designed using smart growth strategies drive as little as one-fifth as much as their counterparts in conventional sprawl developments. This reduced dependence on automobiles means less money spent on gas, increased outdoor activity like walking and cycling, improved rates of public transit ridership, and less global warming pollution released into the air. In fact, if all new communities were designed using smart growth strategies we could slash emissions by about 595 million metric tons after 10 years, or 10 percent of total U.S. emissions of global warming pollution.

This Smart Growth America article has research findings along the same lines, that building compact, walkable neighborhoods would prevent a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.

Implementing the policies recommended in the report would reverse a decades-long trend. Since 1980, the number of miles Americans drive has grown three times faster than population, and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations. Spread-out development is the key factor in that rate of growth, the research team found.

The findings show that people who move into compact, “green neighborhoods” are making as big a contribution to fighting global warming as those who buy the most efficient hybrid vehicles, but remain in car-dependent areas.


Straub events

Pringle Creek Community supports the Straub Environmental Learning Center. They have a couple events coming up you might want to consider attending.

On Thursday, October 25, Dr. Dawn Wright will lecture on “Exploring the Deep: Cracks, Creatures, and Creative Maps of the Ocean Floor.” It’s at Salem Public Library's Loucks Auditorium, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

On Thursday November 1, Josh Travers, from Oregon Department of Forestry, will teach an introductory class on use of compasses and topographic maps.
That is also at from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., but it’s at Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center, 1320 A Street NE, Salem. The lecture is followed by a field trip on Saturday November 3, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Minto-Brown Park (a scavenger hunt in the park to reinforce skills learned in class). The cost is $5, registration is required, call 503-391-4145 or email fselc@fselc.org.


Big small article on the cottage

We have this link up on the Pringle Creek home page also: it’s a large pdf file of an annual publication, Green + Solar Building Oregon (subtitled “A Comprehensive Guide to Green and Solar Building”).

The pdf has two articles in it.
The first is about the history of the Green and Solar tours, one of which starts at Pringle Creek on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. (and ends with a reception back at Pringle Creek). The other article is “Pringle Creek Cottage: A Very Big Small House.” It’s written by Christopher Dymond of the Oregon Dept. of Energy. Mr. Dymond takes a close look at the systems, the specifications, the statistics. It's technical in places, but in a good way. Here are a couple of the less-technical paragraphs:

Designed by Opsis Architecture and built by Bilyeu Homes, the Pringle Creek Cottage is on of few houses to date that is built efficient enough to qualify the builder for a $2,000 federal tax credit for energy-efficient new homes. In addition, the home will be the first to qualify the builder for a $3,000 state of Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit for efficiency and up to $9,000 for the renewable energy features.

. . .

Imagine living in a home like this with an energy footprint 35 percent that of a typical, comparably-sized home. Energy costs would have to more than triple before you would pay as much as someone living in an average two bedroom new home. It is worth remembering that when we measure the environmental impact of a home, the single largest impact over the life of the home is its energy use.


SEDCOR's Enterprise Magazine

What used to be the Salem Economic Development Corporation is now the Strategic Economic Development Corporation, or SEDCOR. This creative organization provides a wonderful bi-monthly magazine, Enterprise, which documents what is happening in the mid-Willamette Valley business world. The current issue is dedicated to covering the move of local business and industry to sustainable practices. Click here to see page 16, on Pringle Creek--written by our masterplan coordinator, Tony Nielsen. Below are a couple paragraphs that name some of the other businesses involved.

Pringle Creek Community, and the other local businesses that are working on the project, are connecting Salem to Oregon’s green reputation. North Santiam Paving Company is using biodiesel and porous asphalt and concrete. DeSantis Landscapes is using all-organic methods on the property. O’Neil Pine Company and Withers Lumber Company are providing the sustainably harvested lumber (FSC-certified)—only FSC lumber will be used at the development. Prudential Real Estate has a core sales team that are among Oregon’s first certified Eco-brokers.

Other local businesses and individuals involved with the project include Kris Gorsuch of Saalfeld Griggs, Rick Yurk of BAM Agency, Scott Erickson of Evolution Paving Resources, Elaine Gesik of 1st Premier Properties, and Ron Summers of Summer Solar Systems. Four mid-valley builders--Bilyeu Homes, Spectra Construction, The Glen Rea Company, and Shipman Quality Construction--are building seven different housing types that will help attract new buyers and businesses to Salem.

You can see the entire issue of the magazine. It’s 48 pages, so it’s a large pdf file. Page 27 has a small item about a SEDCOR visit to Pringle Creek and includes a photo of Don Myers presenting information about the project to the gathering.


Green Building 101

This is connected to the Green + Solar Tour of Homes written up below. In fact, if you attend this lecture, at a cost of $5, you can get $5 off the price of the Green + Solar Home Tour. Here are the details:


Salem, Ore.---Green Building expert Andrew Shepard will provide an introduction to environmentally benign and energy-efficient building design on October 2 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Straub Environmental Center, 1320 A Street NE, next to Olinger Pool, near North Salem High School.

Shepard, a consultant with the Earth Advantage program, will talk about the economic and health benefits of green building, the costs of green building, and the future of green building.

The program is part of the Amateur Naturalist Series. The class costs $5 and is open to the public. The program and series is sponsored by the Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center.

Registration is required. To register, call 503-391-4145.

The Friends of the Straub Environmental Learning Center is a Salem-based, non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education.

CONTACT INFORMATION: John Savage, 503-399-8615


Solar prestige

This should be a great event.
It is a tour of homes in the area that are leaders in green building. Pringle Creek's cottage home is one of them. And the tour begins and ends at Pringle Creek.

Salem Green + Solar Home Tour
Date: Saturday, October 6 2007
Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Start at Pringle Creek Community, 2110 Strong Road SE
Contact: Pringle Creek Community (503) 763-1770 or www.pringlecreek.com

Ten new and newly-remodeled homes in Salem and Silverton will open their doors to demonstrate a wide variety of green design, materials and technologies. Homes will feature solar and wind energy, natural building products, rainwater harvesting, natural landscaping and sustainable design. Join us for a self-guided tour and for the opportunity to meet homeowners, builders, contractors and architects.

The tour will be followed by a reception at Pringle Creek Community at 4 p.m. Early registration is $10 per car, or $15 per car after September 29th. Carpooling encouraged. Bicyclists are free. For more info, contact Pringle Creek Community (503) 763-1770.

Tour stop: 1440 Nebraska Ave.
Tour stop: Salmon Run on High St. just south of downtown


Children's park

In addition to the Fir Grove Park, the community greenhouses and gardens, the Village Green, and the creek trail, we have a new "destination" to check out when you visit Pringle Creek Community. The Children's Park is going up near the community orchard. This pocket park will include a low fenced area with a unique play structure for young children.

When the Children's Park is done, it will be a wonderful place to sit and relax watching children at play. It will include picnic tables and a landscaped trellis.


The Greatest Generation was also the greenest

When I have thought about the society-wide changes that may be needed to prevent climate change or cope with energy shortages—growing our own food, consuming less, bicycling—I have tended to think of aspects of the‘60s counterculture. From now on I will think of the actual transformation that took place back when my parents were teens, during WWII.

Too many of us, in other words, talk green but lead supersized lifestyles--giving fodder to the conservative cynics who write columns about Al Gore's electricity bills. Our culture appears hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels, shopping sprees, suburban sprawl, and beef-centered diets. Would Americans ever voluntarily give up their SUVs, McMansions, McDonald's, and lawns?

The surprisingly hopeful answer lies in living memory. In the 1940s, Americans simultaneously battled fascism overseas and waste at home. My parents, their neighbors, and millions of others left cars at home to ride bikes to work, tore up their front yards to plant cabbage, recycled toothpaste tubes and cooking grease, volunteered at daycare centers and USOs, shared their houses and dinners with strangers, and conscientiously attempted to reduce unnecessary consumption and waste. The World War II home front was the most important and broadly participatory green experiment in U.S. history.

The above is from Home-Front Ecology: What our grandparents can teach us about saving the world, an article by Mike Davis in Sierra magazine. Davis is most famous for his book City of Quartz (a “fiercely elegant and wide-ranging work of social history [in which] Los Angeles is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert . . .").

So, yes, a transformation can be done--it has been done. That is encouraging. On the other hand, it was done as part of total war. The foes were militaristic fascists bent on world domination. Powerful incentive. And there was an end in sight, which isn't the case with the problems we face today. We should also recall that after the war ended, the troops and the folks at home went on a consumption spree. That never stopped.


Greenhouses coming along

Just a few photos of the progress on the old Lord & Burnham glasshouses we are restoring. They are looking great, thanks to volunteers and all of Paco’s efforts. We are doing a final measurement of glass next week, and continuing with painting and restoration.

Also, here is a photo, from earlier in the summer, of volunteers sheet mulching the blueberry area.

The advantage to sheet mulching is that it enriches the soil, holds moisture and suppresses weeds. Cut weeds and grasses back as low as you can, then lay down cardboard and cover it with whatever organic material you have. Multiple layers of materials is best. In our case, we used bark dust that was ground up onsite from the limbs of hazard trees and winter blow-downs from last year.



Clif Bar visits Pringle Creek

Hannah, who works for Clif Bar, has been on the road for three months, touring the west coast in a biodiesel van. Packed inside that van she had what you might expect--Clif Bar products and luggage--but other things too, like a surfboard hanging from the ceiling and a mountain bike.

Hannah has been running on B99 since Southern CA. When stopping in Salem, she found Flower Power Biodiesel Co-op on this NearBio website, where you can type in your route or address and find biodiesel and E85 stations along the way.

We filled up the van with B99, took a walking tour of Pringle Creek (she was impressed) and talked about the various initiatives of Clif Bar to support sustainable farming, reduce the company's carbon footprint, and build relationships with other groups. She met our team and sat down on the porch to eat her lunch, then gave us a few boxes of Clif Bars (they disappeared the first day) and off she went. Thanks Hannah, and good luck with the rest of your trip!




Back in June we wrote about Pringle Creek’s landscaping folks, DeSantis Landscapes, and their sustainable landscape management services. Now we congratulate DeSantis for becoming the first commercial landscape contractor to be awarded certification as an EcoLogical (EcoBiz) Landscaper by the Pollution Prevention Outreach team in Oregon.

The Pollution Prevention Outreach Team is a cooperative group of local area jurisdictional staff from: City of Gresham, City of Portland, Clackamas and Washington Counties, Metro, and the Oregon DEQ. This includes planners and experts in air pollution, hazardous materials, solid waste, etc. The Landscaper Services Program recognizes “landscape design, installation and maintenance service contractors that reach the highest standards in minimizing environmental impact.”

DeSantis’s day-to-day operations include: the use of three hybrid cars for its sales and management team; use of biodiesel in their trucks, lawnmowers and other equipment; four-cycle backpack blowers that reduce emissions by as much as 80 percent and decreased decibel levels by 45 percent; and the conversion to green power for its office utilities.

“We could not be happier to be inducted as the first member to be certified into the EcoBiz Landscaper program,” said president of DeSantis Landscapes, Dean DeSantis. “Cultivating an organization that cares about the footprint it leaves behind has been, and will continue to be, a huge part of who we are.”


Land Development article

Here we go again--Pringle Creek is spotlighted in another prestigious trade magazine for developers. The article is Pringle Creek Leading the Wave in Land Development magazine, which is put out by the National Association of Home Builders. That is the same enormous and influential organization that gave Pringle Creek the Green Development of the Year award back in March. The article is a must-read; a page-turner; and suitable for framing. Here's an excerpt:

The planning team saved 85 percent of existing trees and used the remaining 15 percent by milling the logs on-site for gazebos, play structures and the bar in the neighborhood restaurant. Planners provided for deconstructing of old metal buildings to move them to new locations for a second life. They sited each lot with prevailing breezes and natural light as key criteria. An existing high-volume well allowed the planning team to include geo-thermal heating and cooling capacity for half the homes and the commercial Village Center.


Sustainability bike tour visits Pringle Creek

About 40 bicyclists rode down from Portland, en route to Eugene, stopping at Pringle Creek Community to learn about the project and camp for the night. They were from the Sustainable Energy in Motion Bike Tour, which guides bicyclists to various sustainability sites on a week long or multi-week tour. Some of this tour's other sites are Lost Valley Educational Center, Maitreya Eco-Village, Organic Valley Farmer’s Cooperative, Try/On Life Community Farm and Aprovecho Research Center.

The bicyclists were from all over the US, from Philadelphia to San Diego, and were very engaged, interested and informed. Below is picture of all their bikes (each bike has an orange flag) and one of their tents in the fir grove alongside the creek.

-- santiago


Bill Lindburg, 1931 - 2007

Salem architect Bill Lindburg passed away recently at the age of 75. The Salem Chapter of the American Institute of Architects honored him by planting three trees at the west end of the Fir Grove Park at Pringle Creek Community. To get a glimpse of Bill’s importance to Pringle Creek, Fairview, Salem and his community, click here to read the comments that his friend Tony Nielsen shared with more than 25 members of the Lindburg family at the dedication of these trees.


Pringle Creek in ULI’s magazine

This article, Oregon Green, in the beautiful Urban Land magazine, is very exciting for us. Urban Land Institute is the world's leading organization of development professionals. These folks get it--they're all about developing great urban environments, smart growth, compact and sustainable development.

Note that the author of the article, Portland native Michael Mehaffy, was, until recently, Director of Education for the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.
That is Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who is working hard to lead the UK toward new levels of environmental stewardship.

Oregon Green: A new community in Salem, Oregon, is raising the bar for sustainable development.

Oregon is well known for its innovations in urban development and environmental stewardship, but a new, 32-acre (13-ha) community being built in the capital city of Salem may set a benchmark for the trend in sustainable community development. The Pringle Creek Community has high aspirations: its development team aims to provide a showcase for integrated, market-driven sustainable development. More than that, the community is an early pioneer in the trend to combine green building standards with the environmental and social achievements of new urbanist community design.


You should have been here

An estimated 4,000 people visited Pringle Creek during the 2007 Tour of Homes. It was fun and exciting to see so much interest in our LEED-Platinum cottage home. One observation I heard from a number of the visitors was that the home didn't flaunt its "greenness". Another was how stylish it is, with lots of windows and natural light, beautiful wood floors, and quartz countertops.

I already miss the steady stream of vehicles (many of them hybrids, always nice to see) coming into the Community on our new porous streets. People seemed to have a great time visiting us (a few of them liked it so much they purchased lots). Many went off on our “walking tour” that we set up. You can take it either by following the map on our booklet or just wandering around and finding the various placards that tell you what everything is. Kids were out playing frisbee on the Village Green lawn. Folks were sitting in our little Fir Grove Park enjoying a beverage—and enjoying the rest of our lovely natural environment, orchards, landscaping.

If you missed seeing the home during the Tour of Homes, for the next few weeks you can see it during our Sunday open houses. So come on out—there’s more than just our “greenest” home.

Don Myers


We can do this

The bad news about climate change is worse than I thought but a solution is possible. George Monbiot is a British journalist and professor who knows a lot about climate change. He wrote a book, Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian; they are collected here. This week, Monbiot has written “Stop doing the CBI's bidding, and we could be fossil fuel free in 20 years.” The article says, in short:

  • The IPCC report suggests oceans rising by 59 centimeters this century; a report by James Hansen and NASA says it could be 25 meters. Whoops.
  • The governments of the industrial countries, pressured by corporations, don’t want to do all that much about carbon. They’ll agree to a goal of cutting emissions in half in 40 years--but won’t get started.
  • The problem could be solved with renewables (and without nukes). We should create larger electric power grids, because the wind is usually blowing somewhere--if it isn't, we need to be able to tap hydro or geothermal. We should sometimes store electricity by pumping water up into resevoirs. We should have electric cars that are connected to the grid when parked, and enable the grid to tap into the car batteries to meet fluctuations.
  • . . . The new paper suggests that the temperature could therefore be twice as sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than the IPCC assumes. "Civilisation developed," Hansen writes, "during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end."

    I looked up from the paper, almost expecting to see crowds stampeding through the streets. I saw people chatting outside a riverside pub. The other passengers on the train snoozed over their newspapers or played on their mobile phones. Unaware of the causes of our good fortune, blissfully detached from their likely termination, we drift into catastrophe.


    Presenting Pringle Creek--in Hong Kong

    This group of high school students, from 21st Century Schoolhouse, have been learning about Pringle Creek and sustainability--with the help of Sustainable Living Center's James Santana. The students are heading for Hong Kong on July 4 to give presentations about sustainability at the 21st annual conference put on by Caretakers of the Environment International. The Sustainable Living Center is providing some sponsorship funding for the trip; in exchange the kids have been restoring the greenhouses and working in the gardens.

    Caretakers of the Environment International is “a global network of secondary school teachers and students active in environmental education.” The network intends to be “a podium for teachers and students to exchange concerns, ideas, strategies, actions and projects in the field of environmental education.”

    The group is under the guidance of teacher Ryan Kinnett, and from the OSU Extension Service – Sustainable Communities Program (under the guidance of Dan Hoynacki and Americorp Volunteer Tim Donovan). For the presentation, each member has a subtopic (examples: “an edible landscape,” “green streets). This week they will be doing a “dress rehearsal” of the presentation here in Salem. Good luck, kids, and have a great experience in Hong Kong.

    Click photos to enlarge



    Or should I say platinumest? Here it is from today's Statesman Journal: Pringle Creek’s first house got certified LEED – platinum. It is just the fifth such house in the country, and it got more points than the other four.

    "We were just trying to do the best we could," said builder Larry Bilyeu of Bilyeu Homes Inc. "We have always thought building is a long-term process. We want to build houses that are going to be around for a long time. When we look around, there is way too much growth and replication of houses -- houses that 30 or 50 years from now will be torn down because they are not durable."

    The design and construction of the home was, in fact, better than required.

    LEED certification follows a point system that rates homes on aspects such as energy efficiency, resource use and indoor air quality. A total of 129 points is possible, and platinum requires at least 90 points.

    Pringle Creek's home raked in 103 points -- more than the four previously certified platinum homes.


    Tour de Homes

    Are you ready for the 2007 Home Builders Association (HBA) Tour of Homes? Are we ready? I hope so, because it starts on Saturday, June 16. It runs through the 24th. Here is the page (pdf) for Home Number 18 on the tour list, Pringle Creek's 1846 Cousteau Loop, built by Bilyeu Homes Inc.:

    This model home has been constructed to meet the strictest guidelines for energy efficiency and the utilization of healthy, durable, sustainable products and building techniques. With its high performance insulation, lighting, space and water hearing and using eco-friendly interior and exterior building materials, this house sets the standard for green building in Salem.


  • Lifestyle-oriented, open floor plan designed by Opsis Architecture
  • Pacific Madrone hardwood flooring, 100% wool carpeting
  • Energy efficient windows, appliances, and lighting systems
  • Advanced framing with FSC certified lumber
  • Low and no VOC paints and construction materials
  • Sprayed cellulose wall insulation and Icynene foam roof insulation
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation system
  • Highly efficient Geothermal heat pump tied to community well
  • 2.09KW Photovoltaic system
  • 40 tube Thermomax solar thermal water-heating system
  • Whole house fire suppression sprinkler system
  • 6.13.2007

    Grow your own

    Statesman Journal columnist Jeanine Stice wrote a good one this week, "Get healthy: plant a family garden." She did some research about the health benefits of eating fresh vegetables; and some more research about organizations that teach and promote food gardening. That part includes comment about our man James “santiago” Santana and his SLC:

    That kind of self-reliance and self-sufficiency is exactly what Marion-Polk Food Share's garden coordinator, Jordan Blake, encourages as he worked to nearly double the number of community gardens this spring to more than 10. Food Share, along with the city of Salem and community centers funded in part by Salem Leadership Foundation, are growing gardens. A garden can promote self-reliance and increase the availability of organic produce for neighbors and Food Share recipients.

    The progressive housing development of Pringle Creek hosts a sustainable living center, which will include restoration of two huge greenhouses in the subdivision under the direction of James Santana, and it will partner with South Salem schools on garden projects. Willamette University's in the loop with an Americorp volunteer working with Bush School to establish a school garden. And Marion County is gardening and selling garden starts through its "Fresh Start" program.

    Our green team

    DeSantis Landscaping is out in front of sustainable landscaping. That's why we chose them to work with Pringle Creek Community. This article, Be patient with landscaping, from the Lake Oswego Review, describes some of their values and practices--and has some good quotes from Dean DeSantis, seen at right.

    Although based in Salem, DeSantis Landscapes has many clients in the Lake Oswego-West Linn area, and he has found that sustainability has made a huge difference since the company began using such practices three years ago. Benefits include:

  • Providing a safe, healthy environment for people and pets by using organic fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Eliminating toxic runoffs to rivers, streams and lakes.

  • Improving soil structure and biology.

  • Improving plant hardiness and health.

  • Reduce up to 50 percent of water usage.

  • But rather than make a list, DeSantis would rather point to developments he has worked on, especially Pringle Creek in Salem, which has 140 home lots. There are 13 acres of natural areas, including not only wetlands but prairie lands.

    Here is the page from the DeSantis Landscaping website that tells about their sustainable landscape management services.


    ULI on public spaces

    Pringle Creek excels at green building and environmental design, but what really catches your breath are the public spaces: the parks, the plaza, the open spaces, tree groves, community orchards, gardens and greenhouses. The places to meet a friend or read a book. The Urban Land Institute recognizes the importance of public spaces for economic development and long-term high-quality growth. Here is from an article on ULI's website, "When Less is More: ULI Spring Council Forum Looks at Value of Public Realm in Creating Great Places."

    In another session related to use of the public realm, Richard E. Heapes, principal of Street-Works in White Plains, N.Y., discussed the benefits of strategically integrating public space with mixed-use development.

    . . .

    Heapes outlined four principles involved in creating a successful development using public space: 1) recognize the importance of public space as filling in the missing “third place” for human interaction, along with the home and office; 2) use public space in a way that preserves and showcases authenticity and creates a sense of community; 3) provide software (activities, events) to encourage use of public space, but not program it or make it seem contrived; and 4) use public space to create public ownership and instill a sense of community pride. “The new mixed-use strategy is a master-planned (development) strategy,” he said.

    This is great stuff--and Pringle Creek Community is implementing it at every level.


    Roads for people

    This week North Santiam Paving has been installing the final lift of porous asphalt here. The picture below, from last week, shows them completing a cross street section of an alley-way in the area of the live-work lofts. Pretty interesting--by increasing the cross hatches of light colored concrete, which look a lot like sidewalks or crosswalks, the street is transformed from an automobile-dominated road to a pedestrian right-of-way surface, a walking or bicycling surface. Though cars and trucks get through just fine, it's as if the space is more for people.



    Civil engineers visit Pringle Creek

    The Capital Branch local section of the American Society of Civil Engineers held a field trip and meeting at Pringle Creek Community on May 24.
    A group of 30 engineers, led by President Ken Roley (who is with the City of Salem Public Works), celebrated their 10 year anniversary and presented a a lifetime achievement award to member Ken Archibald, who started his career in civil engineering in 1958. Congratulations, Mr. Archibald.

    The meeting included an overview of Pringle Creek by Don Myers. That was followed by Chuck Gregory of W&H Pacific (which created the asphalt mix for Pringle Creek), who did a very interesting presentation on the entire porous street system from an engineer’s technical perspective--soil compaction, rock size, flow and absorption rates, and also the step by step process, innovations, and lessons learned.

    So, why porous roadways? Pervious concrete and asphalt mimic the natural environment by capturing falling rain, filtering and absorbing it, and recharging the aquifer. This is important because not only does the City need ground water in the summer for human use, wildlife relies on a steady flow of groundwater that is slowly released into watersheds throughout the year, which keeps the streams cool, clean and at normal levels. Porous roadways (and rain gardens) act as giant, spread-out sand filters and phytoremediation (plants + pollution removal) centers for cleaning stormwater on the way to the aquifer. It slows things down and allows bacteria to break down or absorb pollutants.

    Conventional impermeable road surfaces, on the other hand, collect non-point source pollution on the road surface--oil and coolant off our cars, heavy metals, like copper dust off brake pads, particulates that settle on the road surface, mercury, spilled gasoline from the mower, you name it--and, then after a storm event carries all that junk directly to our waterways in one big dose of poison. The rapidity of the drainage increases erosion and sediment turbidity. This is a bad deal for fish or wildlife, like crossing a toxic waste dump in a thick haze of smog. Or like swimming through a toilet. In 1999, Salem spilled 127 million gallons of sewage into the Willamette River, mostly after heavy rainfall overwhelmed the system. The Willamette is #3 on the 2006 Most Endangered American Rivers list, thanks mainly to toxic mixing zones, but not helped any by sewer overflows I’m sure.

    Pringle Creek Community has the largest neighborhood porous street system in the country. Having engineers, developers, contractors and people who are involved with water quality come out to see our project will hopefully help start a sea change on how streets are made.



    Envision Oregon town hall meeting in Salem

    Here is a chance to be heard: Envision Oregon is a series of town hall meetings. The purpose is to stimulate public comment about how Oregonians should plan for the next 30 years. Pringle Creek Community is a local partner. The Salem event is June 7, to be held at Mission Mill Museum.

    The Salem meeting will be "welcomed" by Rep. Vicki Berger; the hosts are Jefferson Smith of The Bus Project and Bob Stacey of 1000 Friends of Oregon. The topics for this meeting are:
    Family farms and forests
    Fairness in land use


    Dr. Michael Mann at Loucks on Thursday

    This is the final Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center lecture of the 2006-07 season. It is Global Climate Change: Past and Present by Dr. Michael Mann. The lecture is Thursday, May 31, 7 p.m., at Loucks Auditorium, Salem Public Library.

    Dr. Michael Mann is a member of the faculty in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State. He was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report. Dr. Mann's many awards include selection as one of Scientific American's 50 leading visionaries in science and technology.

    In this presentation, Dr. Mann will review the solid evidence of human influence on the climate in recent decades and explore the impacts of human-induced climate change on the United States. The presentation is free and open to the public with support from the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, Salem Electric, and the City of Salem.


    More good Statesman Journal coverage

    A wonderful large spread from the Salem Statesman Journal, focused on the energy- and resource-efficiency of the homes at Pringle Creek Community: Project reflects push for efficiency. This "idea house" is loaded with smart innovations and environmental features.

    I think there is a little bit of a sea change now," said Mark Kogut of Opsis Architecture. "There are a lot of people looking for less in size and more in quality."

    Over the home's lifetime, owners can expect to pay significantly less in energy bills than their counterparts in a conventional home.

    The model cottage house is expected to perform more than 35 percent better than homes built to Oregon's building code and 50 percent better than federal building codes.

    "Energy is the big footprint of a house over its lifetime," said Christopher Dymond of the Oregon Department of Energy. "The bulk (of homes) are built to bare minimum code. Ten percent are going to Energy Star and Earth Advantage levels. But this home, this is the top 1 percent of performance."


    Bald eagles fly over Pringle Creek

    Hard to believe, but a pair of bald eagles circled over Pringle Creek Community this afternoon. It was quite the sight. The camera was all the way in the office, so instead of running to go and fumble around with it we just watched them soar. A group of foresters from the OR Department of Forestry spotted them while admiring the giant Kitalpas by the greenhouses.

    Thus far in the month of May we have seen onsite a Red Tail hawk regularly (one time with a snake in its talons heading back to the nest), a covey of Quail (eight of them scampering around), a number of fat Oregon Gray Squirrels, several Morning Doves, and about five Killdeers that have nested–-their offspring having already hatched and flown away.

    Click here for some interesting information on Killdeers. They are a remarkable bird: their nests of perfectly camouflaged eggs blend into a hidden declivity they’ve made in gravel. They are precocial, which allows them to get up and go right upon hatching. They have this crazy trait of drawing predators away from the nests by flopping around like an injured bird.

    We are also frequently visited by a Great Blue Heron that quietly arrives in the late afternoon, cruising through the canopy that shades Pringle Creek as if it were a dark green tunnel. The heron is elusive and shy, so no good pictures yet, but below is a photo of the part of the creek where he hangs out.



    It's all relative

    Very impressive, the blogging being done by Alan Durning, founder of Sightline Institute. He has a great post about the use of bicycles for transportation on Sightline’s blog, the Daily Score.

    The good news: Portland, Eugene and Corvallis are relatively very bike-friendly. That's compared to the rest of the United States. Portland and Corvallis are in the top eight U.S. cities; Eugene is in the next 12. Oregon leads the other 49 states in the number of bike-commuters.

    The bad news: the numbers are tiny. Portland (inside the city limits) is only 2.6 percent of commute trips by bicycle. Greater Portland is 0.8 percent--the suburbs are no better than Salem, and I can tell you from my five senses that Salem has about 500 cars on the road for every bicyclist. Corvallis is better at 8 percent of trips--I wonder how many of those are students going to class.

    The Netherlands, 38 percent (Amsterdam almost 50 percent); Denmark, 20 percent (Copenhagen almost 50 percent). When the price of petroleum jumps to twice what it is today, those countries are going to continue functioning pretty well. The USA will be reeling. Of course, those who live at Pringle Creek will have advantages, like being close to the city center, being on a transit line, having a store. Pringle Creek will do okay relatively.

    Somewhere outside the U.S.

    Simply green chic

    I’m not going to reveal who sent me the link to a post on styleist.com, "Going ‘Green’ with Style." Frankly, I had no idea Tony my friend read the fashion blogs. But this particular post is right on, with good tips on reducing, reusing, recycling, like this:

    Don't over-wash clothes. The heat, water, soap, along with all the twisting and scrunching, stresses fabric. Wash when there's visible dirt; air clothes out and spot-clean to keep them fresh between washings. Go for cooler rather than hot water whenever possible. The new cold-water detergents work well, are gentler on fabrics, save energy and greenhouse gases -- and save on your bills.


    The other library

    Salem has a fine public library. The whole Civic Center - library - Pringle Parkade - Pringle Tower project, done in the early 1970s, seems like it was good planning. At that time, the cost of a big public library probably seemed excessive. I don't think the library was very busy during the early years. Have you been there lately? It’s a busy place.

    The Project for Public Spaces website has a whole series of articles about Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever:

    The creation of the "information superhighway" threatened to make libraries obsolete, but today they are as prominent as ever. Libraries are taking on a larger civic role, redefining themselves as community centers for the 21st Century. The old model of the library was the inward-focused "reading room," the new one is more like a community "front porch."


    Meet the Wilsons

    Introducing Alan and Sue Wilson, who will be among the earliest homeowners at Pringle Creek Community. Alan owns a local landscape maintenance company and Sue is an administrator for the State of Oregon.

    Alan Wilson and grandson Avery: “It’s all about future generations,” says Alan.

    Says Sue, "We’re excited to be part of the Pringle Community. We think it’s important to have a smaller “footprint” ourselves with an energy efficient home. It’s only in recent years that we’ve expanded our knowledge about green building and green communities and we think that this place is going to be a great example for others to follow. There is so much that is innovative here. We’ve chosen to to build a ‘tall-house.’ The floor plan has been very well thought out and it gives us everything we need. We can’t wait to start building. And more importantly, we know the community itself offers tremendous potential.”

    Thank you, Alan and Sue. They promise to keep us posted on their experience with green building and being part of Pringle Creek.


    The other Illahee

    Illahee is a Portland non-profit environmental organization that provides "opportunities for science-based policy-relevant environmental inquiry." They bring some excellent lecturers to Portland. Coming up is Thomas Homer-Dixon. We have talked about him before. He is an author and Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto.

    September 11th won't be the last time we walk out of our cities, writes Thomas Homer-Dixon. In his new book, The Upside of Down, he argues that peak oil, climate change, terrorism, and the widening gap between rich and poor have made the world increasingly vulnerable to breakdown.

    But it is also ripe for renewal. Although recent disasters have caused tremendous suffering, they have taught us how we can reinvigorate the economic, political and social systems that sustain us. Can capitalism provide for the world's well-being, equity and environment in the 21st century? Yes, says Homer-Dixon, if we think creatively, act boldly and develop resilient societies in advance.

    "In advance" makes that a pretty big if. It will be interesting. Anyway, admission is $20, ouch, for non-members. It's Wednesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m. in the First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., Portland.


    Read about LEED

    Following up on the May 1 post, Pringle Creek Community is one of 370 applicants for the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Pilot Program. There are 120 “slots” available, and those selections will be announced in the next 2-3 weeks.

    LEED certification used to be only for environment-friendly buildings. Buildings can earn Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification, depending on the number of credits they attain. LEED building certifications are administered solely by the U.S. Green Building Council. For the LEED-ND program, USGBC is collaborating with the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    According to the USGBC website, the LEED-ND Rating System “integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design.” This page on the NRDC website says (in more detail) that the LEED-ND applicants will be graded on 1) choosing an environmentally sound location, 2) reducing the need to drive, 3) using less land to create more benefits, and 4) conserving energy, water and other natural resources.

    Will Pringle Creek be one of the 120 developments selected for the pilot program? Stay tuned, you'll find out as soon as we do, right here on the blog.


    Paul Hawken

    Paul Hawken, author, environmentalist and business entrepreneur, was an early visitor to Fairview. He was in Salem to speak at Willamette. At that time, 2001, “sustainable development” was not part of the national conversation like it is now. Hawken, though, had been talking about it for years. He wrote The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability in 1993 and co-wrote the seminal work, Natural Capitalism, which spelled out the benefits of considering the economic value of environmental perspectives, in 1999.

    In his brand new book, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, Hawken “reveals a worldwide grassroots movement of hope and humanity.” Here is an Orion Magazine essay by Hawken, adapted from his new book. This subject, the huge number of people and organizations working on changing the world, reminds me of something Hawken said at Willamette: "People tell me I'm preaching to the choir. I tell them, 'but the choir keeps getting bigger.'"

    Here, from a Metropolis Magazine interview, is Hawken on the importance of urban design as technological innovation:

    Q: In the book you write that green, safe, livable cities are at the fingertips of architects and designers. What do you mean by that?

    PH:In the last fifteen years, architects and designers and planners have come up with an array of design technologies. They have started to put them together in ways that drastically reduce the footprint of the city, making it safer and much more livable. The reason you’re not seeing it sooner is simply the way that cities evolve. They’re not clean slates. You don’t just erase a city and put a new one where it was. The rate of change is not as fast as the rate of technical and design innovation. Design is a technology, but you can’t just fix things with technology. You need people who see the world in a different way and then put it together in new ways.

    Hawken will be doing a Powell’s Books reading on Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m., at the Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Tickets, $5, are available at the Bagdad Theater box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.


    Porous, pervious, permeable

    There are 2.6 million miles of roads in the United States. Pringle Creek Community has 7000 feet--and uses pavement that is better for the environment. Porous, pervious, permeable, all three words mean that the pavement has holes that allow water to go through it.

    Pringle Creek’s system of porous streets and alleys is said to be “the nation’s first full-scale porous pavement project.” Our main website features a lot of information about the system. The Statesman Journal has a video you can watch [no longer available], in which Don Myers explains the benefits of the system.

    And Ped Shed, a blog by Laurence Aurbach, a leading architect of the new urbanism and advocate for walkable design, has a post with all that and more, including quotes from a paper by Patrick Condon, Pringle Creek’s Sustainability Principles, Visioning and Design Guidelines guy.

    If you're wondering about "ped shed," it's like watershed . . . “Ped shed is short for pedestrian shed, the basic building block of walkable neighborhoods. A ped shed is the area encompassed by the walking distance from a town or neighborhood center. Ped sheds are often defined as the area covered by a 5-minute walk (about 0.25 miles, 1,320 feet, or 400 meters).”


    More Earth Day photos

    From Santiago [and as with most photos on this blog, by clicking the photo you can see it enlarged]:


    A healthy place for children

    Have we commented enough about the Pringle Creek "Experience" that includes providing wonderful places to meet and gather, opportunities to share time with your neighbors at the community garden, village store, or local deli? How about the importance of children? Yes, we'll have a children's park with a play structure and nature area but we'll also have lots of chances for informal and organized learning. The Sustainable Living Center will provide opportunities for children and their parents to be students and instructors. To create their own lessons and classes. And yes, Pringle Creek is within easy walking distance of Leslie Middle School (see this Jeanine Stice column [no longer available] very complimentary of Leslie) and the proposed new elementary school at Fairview.

    We believe children will thrive in a culture of connection at Pringle Creek Community. Our rainwater management plan will give children an intimate connection with the natural flow of water. Our blue-green bio-swales will be lush reminders of nature at every street corner. The beautiful reflecting swales at the Village Center will immediately intrigue visitors and residents with their beauty and the game of guessing how much rain fell and how long the reflecting pond will remain until all the water infiltrates through the crushed granite soil. Pringle Creek will be a place to play, our fir grove and sequoia grove parks with their 80 and 100 year old trees will be places to spark the imagination. Trails along Pringle Creek that wind through parks and community gardens will bring children full circle to a connection with all kinds of nature. Native plants, fruit trees and living gardens. Families and friends growing food for themselves and their neighbors. Healthy food, food security, trees, water, air, plants - the connections are growing. Above all else Pringle Creek is about the health of our children and their world.

    Here is a remarkable book about the issue of children disconnected from nature, children who today spend far too much time plugged into televisions, Ipods, computers, cell phones, game cubes, x-boxes, and Wii. Wow.

    Richard Louv, chairman of Children & Nature Network, is the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, about children and nature, how society encourages kids to avoid direct experience in nature. From the publisher:

    As children's connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attentiondeficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.


    Sustainable Industries Journal article features Pringle Creek

    Pringle Creek is one of the projects discussed in There goes the neighborhood, an article in the May issue of Sustainable Industries Journal. The article is about the new LEED-ND (neighborhood) certification. Pringle Creek has applied for LEED-ND. Below are the paragraphs relating to Pringle Creek.

    A major ski resort and a former training site for disabled workers are among the projects aiming for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighborhoods (ND) program, which will evaluate up to 120 pilot projects at various stages of planning and construction across the country. The program, which will notify selected applicants in mid-May, marks a departure for the green building council. LEED-ND is the first product to be developed in partnership with outside stakeholders — in this case, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the National Resources Defense Council. It is also the organization’s first rating system to move beyond individual buildings and focus on sustainable land use and transportation.

    . . .

    Another LEED-ND project applicant is the 32-acre Pringle Creek development in Salem, Ore., which is located on the site of the former
    Fairview Training Center. The project won the first-ever National Association of Home Builders Land Development of the Year award in March. “There’s a shift in thinking toward issues of site and land use,” says project architect James Meyer.

    Pringle Creek includes several net-zero-energy homes with geothermal heating, a community orchard and biodiesel co-op, and a 9,000-foot network of “green streets” to manage stormwater. Housing is planned within walking distance of the town center, and interconnected paths will link the project to the Salem street grid. “You can actually bike to the airport,” Meyer notes. As of March, Pringle Creek had reservations for 23 out of 139 lots — a number Meyer says he expects to increase once the project is added to the regional multiple listing service in May.

    LEED professionals are still analyzing the program’s certification and development costs. However, since the neighborhood category focuses on sustainable site selection instead of energy efficiency and green materials, “it looks like less time, hours and dollars than LEED on a building,” says Scott Lewis, a principal at Brightworks, a Portland consulting firm.


    The Case of the Missing Bees

    It’s a mystery, a scary one. From a NY Times article, “Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons:”

    More than a quarter of the country’s 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost — tens of billions of bees, according to an estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives.

    As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances.

    Mysteries are fun, but this is not good. It might be terrible. We need our bees.

    Cell phone towers and genetically modified (GMO) crops are both brilliant theories. It's easy to imagine those technologies causing unforseen bad consequences. Let’s hope it’s the cell phone towers. It might not be such a bad thing to take those down. Let’s hope it isn’t genetically modified (GMO) crops. A disastrous gene might be “out there,” uncontainable. Thanks a lot, corporate scientists. They'll probably try to solve the problem by genetically modifying the bees.

    Anybody have any other brilliant theories? Let's hear 'em. Let's solve this mystery right here on the blog.


    Welcome Back, Meyer

    James Meyer, Pringle Creek’s Principal Planner, is a graduate of the UO School of Architecture, and now he is teaching there. And here. And at his office.

    “The class is unique in that it will spend studio time in Eugene and on-site time in Salem, and we will be in the Opsis Architecture offices in Portland for midterm and final review of their project designs,” says James.

    It is a graduate level design class titled Live-Work-Breathe. James will be co-teaching with Brook Muller, Dept. of Architecture professor. Their first on-site (Pringle Creek) class was held on March 4th. The students documented existing conditions and walked the area of the project where they intend to design nine live/work units.

    Meyer had been in discussions with UO about the potential Pringle Creek offered for interdisciplinary study. The School of Architecture is considering creating advanced studies in broad based curriculum that focuses on building community within the rich ecological environment at Pringle Creek Community. This would be the first class.

    “Teaching sustainable principles to a new generation of architects is very rewarding. It’s a great experience. Going back to Lawrence Hall (School of Architecture) in Eugene was great nostalgia,” says James.

    Click here to see the course description.


    What we did on Earth Day

    The Earth Day party at Pringle Creek last Sunday was just about ideal. It was educational and thought-provoking, but best of all, it was just a really, really good time.

    There were very intelligent students and teachers sharing their research on creek restoration and water quality in their local watersheds through the Adopt-a-Stream Youth Environmental Summit--their work is a beacon of light in our city.
    Younger kids made newspaper pots, seed balls, and other art projects. Elementary school students with string instruments performed live with their music teacher, Diane, who also played a few songs with Blue Lightening, a Portland folk-rock group who stopped by on their way to Lefty's Sunday night.

    Outside, we had several workshops throughout the day: Al gave a very entertaining and informative presentation on sustainable landscaping in his east coast straight-talk kind of way; Sally, who teaches science at Waldo Middle School, gave an excellent workshop on worm-bin composting; Mike, Kyle and Tim held a discussion on living car-free--all of them had chosen to use the bicycle as their primary (or only) means of transport for the past six months or more;
    and our final workshop was by Josh, who is a senior at North Salem High School, and Bryan, who is a Flower Power Biodiesel Co-op member. They did a live demonstration on how to make your own biodiesel. Throughout the entire day, Tim was surrounded by a crowd, as various people mixed clay, straw and water into cob and began building a beautiful bench underneath the 1,000 year old Pacific Yew.

    The day was inspiring; there are a lot of people in Salem doing very good things to make Oregon safer, cleaner, and more beautiful. Earth Day at Pringle Creek was a gathering of people interested in reducing their footprint on the environment, making our places more livable, and living happier and healthier lives... not just on Earth Day, but everyday.

    A special thanks to everyone who helped make it happen: Deborah at the City of Salem, Marilee, Don, Mark, Tony, Elizabeth, Trevor, Sarah, Jackie, Mary Ann, Al, Sally, Mike, Tim, Kyle, Blake, Larry, Phil, Bryan, Josh, Marie, Rachel at Public Works,
    all the dedicated students and teachers at Adopt-a-Stream, Pamela at OSU, Athena at NWEI, Blue Lightening, and Diane with her talented group of string-instrument playing kids...


    More photos to come.