Construction Continues at Pringle Creek Community

The new three-story custom home of Ms. Kristen Duss is set adjacent to green space and enjoys a view of the Village Green. It is the second home design based on the "Tall House" concept, with a garage tucked, and primary living spaces on the second and third levels. For information about the tall house built for the Wilsons check out the Portland Spaces article and this drawing from our website.

Kristen's tall house is framed up.

The view out the side window down Cousteau Loop.

The view from the top floor.


Moving, slowly, away from cars

A thoughtful New York Times article, Is Happiness Still That New Car Smell?, looks into changing attitudes about cars. Many people are deciding they can live without one, whether because of environmental or financial concerns. The article misses a pertinent point: If you use your car a lot, perhaps a couple trips a day, each trip is not terribly expensive. But if you use your car only twice a week, each trip becomes very expensive. This is because the cost of insurance is the same in both cases, and because of depreciation. The value of your car goes down each year even if you don't use it very much. So a logical answer for many people is car-sharing, which is available in Portland with Zipcar or with U Car Share. A brief web search failed to locate any car sharing in Salem.

Here are some sections of the article:

Whether because of cost, convenience or environmental awareness, a small but growing number of people are making individual decisions to get rid of their automobiles and rely on public transportation, car-sharing programs and rental cars.

“There’s a cultural change taking place,” said John Casesa, a veteran auto industry analyst and partner in the Casesa Shapiro Group. “It’s partly because of the severe economic contraction. But younger consumers are viewing an automobile with a jaundiced eye. They don’t view the car the way their parents did, and they don’t have the money that their parents did.”

. . .

“People are questioning car purchases more than we’ve ever seen in recent history,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for TrueCar, a company that tracks car-buying habits.

Young, cash-strapped consumers are delaying their first purchases longer, he said, robbing automakers of the chance to attract them early and keep their business as they move up in life.
Across the country, empty nesters are moving back into cities and shedding their cars. Toyota has identified 60 locales where it has seen this occur, according to James E. Lentz, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., and it has begun thinking about whether it needs to open satellite offices to serve customers who’ve moved away from suburban dealerships.

Are you ready to give up your car for a Honda U3-X? It is referenced in the above NYT article.


Photo log: Painter's Hall

The door pull on the front door is old steam pipe from the conservatory.

The trellis is also made of old steam pipe reclaimed from the conservatory.

The steps up to Painter's Hall are made from broken up slabs from deconstructed buildings
and from trees milled onsite.

This photo shows the trellis and one of the two Painter's Hall entryway double doors.

Painter's Hall going for LEED platinum:
we're almost there.

Below is a photo of the solar panels on the Painter's Hall. The photo and caption are from an article in the Sunday Oregonian about the new Sanyo solar panel manufacturing facility in Salem that just opened.

Sanyo solar panels are among the most efficient at capturing sunlight for electricity. The company utilizes a hybrid of two solar technologies to produce panels that can be used in extreme heat, cloudy weather and capture sunlight from both the top and the bottom . . .



Painter's Hall going for LEED platinum

The Statesman Journal had a fine article the other day (and then reprinted in a special "South Salem" section) about Pringle Creek's remodeled Painter's Hall: Salem site closes in on platinum designation.

Its walls are so thick, its ceiling so insulated and its heating so efficient that nary a wisp of energy will leave the building.

The so-called Painter's Hall is so "green" that it is on track to get the highest green-building rating by the U.S. Green Building Council: platinum.

It will be the first platinum commercial building in Salem, one of 11 in Oregon and one of 52 along the West Coast.

Click here to see a Statesman Journal photo gallery of green buildings in the Salem area. Pringle Creek Community is featured in photo #14 (Wilsons' house), #22 through #28 (Painter's Hall), and #39 and #40 (the new houses).


Recent events at Pringle Creek were great success

Thanks everyone who helped with last week’s events! Eric Corey Freed’s presentation was both entertaining (he has a hilarious and sarcastic sense of humor) and chilling (we were floored by the scientific evidence of human impact on the world). Thanks to the Salem Chapter of the AIA!

The workshop put on by the Natural Step was in-depth and very sophisticated. There were 35 professionals, ranging from the Executive Director of the Salem Art Association to the Green Building Coordinator for the Oregon Homebuilder's Association, all interested in incorporating principles of the Natural Step framework for sustainability into their business and personal lives.

The Oregon Environmental Council workshop on low-impact development had 40 attendees, mainly public works officials, city planners and local developers and contractors. Incredibly informative and engaging. Afterwards we had a tour of Pringle Creek, which was great. After spending hours talking about concepts, it’s great to step outside and experience the concepts in practice.

For last Saturday’s Salem Green + Solar Home Tour, we had 130 people, which was a pretty solid turnout. It was inspiring to see the things homeowners in Salem are doing, from ultra-airtight low energy construction to solar hot water systems to interiors finished with materials either FSC-certified, reclaimed, or made from recycled content. These homeowners are the pioneering leaders and visionaries of today, they are way ahead of the curve, and are inspiring others to do the same. Great event, all education-based, it’s our pleasure to host it each year. People really get a lot out of it. Thanks everyone!


The above-referenced events were held in the recently retrofitted Painter's Hall. Attendees were very impressed. Anyone interested in holding an event here should give a call to Sarah at the Pringle Creek office, 503-371-3790.

Below are some very recent photos showing some of the new construction.


Keeping Salem/Keizer Cool & Climate-Friendly: Creating Livable Communities Through Blueprint Planning

Event annnouncement: Join 1000 Friends of Oregon and Oregon Environmental Council’s Chris Hagerbaumer to find out about ways we can make Salem-Keizer a more sustainable, climate-friendly community.

To help Oregon meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and create more livable communities, the newly created Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Emissions is considering strategies to reduce global warming pollution through smarter land use and transportation planning.

Come join the conversation about practical, common sense strategies to provide Oregon's fastest-growing communities with better transportation choices, lower household transportation costs and ways to make your neighborhood vibrant and healthy for our families and future generations. Event will also feature an introduction by Senate President Peter Courtney.

Join us to find out what you can do to help keep Salem/Keizer a cool place to live!

When: Wednesday, October 28, 6pm - 7:30pm

Where: Salem Central Library’s Anderson Room, 585 Liberty St SE, Salem

RSVP: Call or email Tara Sulzen, Field Organizer with 1000 Friends at tara@friends.org or call 503 497 1000 ext. 153.

Statesman Journal article on Green and Solar Tour

The article below was in the Statesman Journal on September 30 in anticipation of the Green and Solar Tour that took place last weekend.

Salem tour puts spotlight on eight sustainable homes

Event promotes solar energy and green living

By Stefanie Knowlton

Eight of Salem's most environmentally friendly homes will be open to the public Saturday for the Salem Green + Solar Home Tour.

The tour, now in its third year, shows off Salem's quiet green-building revolution, which includes everything from a 1946 farmhouse with solar panels to a home under construction that's set to be one of the most energy efficient in the country.

Sustainable homes make sense, especially in a struggling economy, said James Santana with Pringle Creek Community, which helped organize the tour.

"The basic tenants of sustainability, resource conservation, smart design, massive reductions in energy use, buying local products, could not be any more relevant than here and now."

The tour is one of 14 throughout the state this fall designed to promote solar energy and green living. They're a part of the National Solar Tour day Saturday. The nonprofit Solar Oregon touts Oregon's tours as the biggest events of their kind in the nation.

Salem resident Sally White is one of the stops on Salem's tour. White installed solar panels on her 900-square-foot farmhouse. She and her husband paid about $28,000 for the panels and a solar hot water heater, but they got nearly half that back in tax incentives this year and the rest will take care of itself in energy savings, Sally White said.

Their electric bills average about $5 in the summer and peak at $23 in January.

Other stops on the tour include Salem's first green roof, which uses living plants to clean runoff and cool the building, and one of the West Coast's first Passive House homes, which uses building techniques to create a nearly air-tight envelope for minimum heat loss. The result is so efficient that residents' body heat contribute a sizeable amount of the home's warmth.

Owners Sarah Evans and Stuart Rue are eager to share their home even if it's still six months away from completion.

Visitors will be able to see the bones of the house, Santana said, which is one of the most important aspects. That's where you can see the double frame that's key to its energy efficiency.

"It gives us the chance to understand how it works and gain an appreciation for why its design is so much smarter," Santana said.

sknowlto@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6735

Sally White's house on Wallace Road NW is one of eight featured in the third annual Salem Green + Solar Home Tour. Her rainwater-collecting tank gathered 400 gallons during Tuesday's rains alone.


Upcoming events include Green and Solar Tour

Some great events coming up! Pringle Creek Community is “showing off” its newly remodeled community center, the net-zero-energy Painter’s Hall, by hosting five special events.

Monday, September 28, 2009, 7pm-8pm

The Salem Chapter of American Institute of Architects presents a talk by Eric Corey Freed, "Detroit, Dallas & Despotism: a 3D view of Sustainability." Freed is a green architect. He will take us through his creative world of sustainable design, including the decline of Detroit, MI; building a net energy sustainable block in Dallas, TX; the strange forces plotting against greening our country, and more. Part stand-up comedy and part Ph.D. lecture (web interview with Eric here). For more information, please visit http://www.socialzr.com/event/694429230 or contact kristi@studio3architecture.com Update: Here is a large pdf of the slides from the presentation.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 8:30am-12:30pm

The Natural Step Network presents Training by Duke Castle, “The Natural Step for Sustainability.” This workshop will provide an understanding of the factors that have created our current unsustainable practices, an overview of how The Natural Step reverses that trend and insights on how to apply Natural Step principles. Mr. Castle has delivered hundreds of Natural Step presentations, including training Oregon state leaders as part of Governor Kitzhaber's sustainability executive order. He has studied how Swedish companies successfully applied Natural Step principles.

Cost: $95 ($70 for TNS members). To register, please contact April Knudsen at april.knudsen@thenaturalstep.org or 503-224-1140.

Wednesday, September 30th, 8:30am-1pm

Oregon Environmental Council presents a presentation by Steve Fancher and Ed MacMullan, “Making Low-Impact Development a Reality in Your Community.” Steve Fancher is implementing LID and sustainable stormwater management in Gresham, Oregon, where he is the City's Watersheds Division Manager. Ed MacMullan is an economist with ECONorthwest who authored the report, "The Economics of Low Impact Development: A Literature Review." Event includes panel discussion with local builders, designers and planners followed by optional tour from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm.

Cost: $35 for general public, $20 for HBA members. To register, visit http://www.oeconline.org/stormwater

Saturday, October 3rd, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Willamette Valley Green + Solar Home Tour begins and ends at Painter’s Hall (as it did in 2007 and 2008). Visit with homeowners, green builders, contractors and architects that have incorporated green and solar techniques & technologies into new and newly remodeled homes around Salem. Check out a 1,500sqft greenroof, a German Passive Haus certified home under construction, and a solar hot water system that provides hot water year round.

Buy your ticket the day of event. Cost is $15 per car -- carpooling is encouraged. Bicyclists free! For further info, contact santanaj@pringlecreek.com

Friday, October 30th, 2009, 8:30am-5pm

Oregon Environmental Council presents Training by Rob Emanuel and Derek Godwin, “Rain Gardens.” They are with OSU Extension Service and Oregon Sea Grant and authors of the forthcoming Oregon Rain Garden Manual.
The rain brings many benefits, but it can be a bane if it carries pollutants or excessively floods our local streams. Capturing, controlling and filtering some of this stormwater runoff in rain gardens helps beautify our landscapes and improves watershed health. The training helps gardeners learn to design, build and maintain rain gardens.It will include an indoor and outdoor component. Seating priority will be given to those willing to work with OSU as rain garden representatives and provide assistance to local communities in which they live.

Cost: $50. Scholarships are available, contact teresah@oeconline.org or call 503-222-1963 x112. To register, visit http://www.oeconline.org/stormwater


Sacred Heart Academy '59 celebration

The Sacred Heart Academy 50th year celebration luncheon is Sunday, September 13, 2009, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm+ for SHA'59 classmates and their guests. For more information, email SHA'59ClassNews@aol.com or call 503-371-2375.

SHA'59 Fiftieth Planners Admire Zeek Salmon Key Sculpture at Pringle Creek Community Cottage House(July 19). L to r: JoAnn Weigel Long, Judy Woodry Foley, Shirley Weissbeck Baxter, Judy Schneider McCreight, Peggy DeJardin Barnett, Margarite Schmidt Schnitzer, and Joan Korn Carney. (In front): Mary Ann Meyer Santana. (Missed photo): DeEtta Lefor Kryger


Green roof

Santiago's portable greenroofing machine, running on B-99 biodiesel.

Plant material from Wallace Hansen Nursery and Sevenoaks Nursery.

Specialty soil mix from Phillips Soil Products in Canby.

Shooting the soil up on the roof.

Students helping to get the rock ballast up on the roof.

To avoid soil compaction we used playwood "lily pads" to get around.

The innovative temporary irrigation system.

All finished.

Three weeks later.

From the Wikipedia entry for green roofs: "Also known as “living roofs,” green roofs serve several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, and helping to lower urban air temperatures and combat the heat island effect.


Paco Appreciation Day!

Paco is the incredible guy who keeps Pringle Creek Community looking so good. He does it all: tractor repair, mowing, greenhouse restoration, concrete repair, you name it. He is by far the hardest working guy any of us have ever met and he is also one of the nicest. We really love Paco--so the neighbors got together and presented him with a gift certificate to Andina Restaurant in the Pearl District (he lives in Portland), and Sue made these great cookies shaped like the Conservatory! Paco did all the work on the Conservatory, from removing the steam pipe to sanding every square inch down, to painting and setting the glass, and now we have a beautifully restored set of antique greenhouses. The neighbors decided to have some lemonade and pull Paco away from his work for a moment to honor him!



Pringle Creek's green streets mentioned as model in OEC's spring newsletter

Oregon Environmental Council, the state’s oldest environmental organization, has an article in their most recent "One Oregon, One Environment" newsletter. The article, titled "Depaving Paradise," is on page seven and features the following photo and caption:

Pringle Creek Community in Salem has one of the largest installations of pervious asphalt in the country. The green streets are narrower than conventional streets, using less materials to build and calming traffic. They have no curbs, which reduces construction costs and allows vegetated swales to capture, absorb and clean stormwater runoff.

The article does a good job explaining water quality issues. Water quality and conservation are key aspects of the Pringle Creek Community plan, along with renewable energy, beautiful, durable and energy-efficient homes, community gardens and commitment to local foods, and having a diversity of ages, lifestyles and incomes for our residents while fostering a sense of community.

Go to the Oregon Environmental Council website and consider joining, donating, volunteering for this organization that is a major player in advocating policy in the Oregon Legislature. OEC's strategic plan is:

  • Protect kids' health from toxic pollution

  • Improve stewardship of Oregon's rivers

  • Slow global warming

  • Build a sustainable economy

  • Create a sustainable food and farm system

  • Strengthen support for effective environmental policy in the Oregon Legislature


Photo log

Springtime at last.

While the housing market has slowed and our economy has become more fragile, Pringle Creek Community is moving forward with key projects that support our goal of creating a unique community that can serve as a model of sustainable development.

Our innovative geo-thermal system is up and running and saving Pringle Creek Community homeowners on their utility bills; we expect to complete the LEED-Platinum restoration of Painter's Hall--as a community center and home of the Sustainable Living Center--in early June; the fully restored Lord & Burnham glasshouses have blossomed into the Pringle Creek Conservatory; two green roofs have been installed to demonstrate their benefits (protecting water quality, cooling and as habitat); and every day we see more visitors walking, bicycling, and skating about Pringle Creek Community.

Feel free to stop by and see what’s growing at Pringle Creek Community. We are also scheduling visits and tours daily. For more information please contact us.

Tony Nielsen

Pictures and captions below from santiago.

Painter's Hall


All materials are sorted and recycled.

New interior framing.

New metal roof, windows and doors.

Green roof: doing the planting


Creek Restoration

Thanks to Marion Soil & Water Conservation District’s commitment to natural resources, the middle and lower sections of Pringle Creek in our neighborhood were greatly enhanced this week. Workers whacked invasive weeds along the east bank of the creek, from the bridge downstream to the NW corner--about 1200ft of riparian area. They then planted over 1,000 native plants and applied 3” of mulch around the base of each plant, to act as a weed barrier and to conserve moisture. This will provide native ground cover and lots of shade for the creek.

Over the years, many people have invested their time and resources into improving this section of Pringle Creek, with great results. Special thanks to Luca at Marion SWCD for all his work, and to Jenny also, to Pringle Creek Watershed Council, and to workers Rafael and Mario, and to Sevenoaks Nursery and Wallace Hansen Nursery.

If you’d like to get involved with further restoration efforts, join your local Watershed Council! Pringle Creek Watershed Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 6pm at Pringle Creek Community. All are welcome.


The mulch they are using came from small trees and branches ground up onsite.

Rafael getting ready to plant a sword fern and a dogwood.

Oregon ash will provide needed shade along the creek.

Ferns getting ready to go in ground.

Beginnings of a restored riparian zone.