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.