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.