Top Northwest Sustainability Headlines

December 19, 2014

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.

1. Carbon pollution accountability act is a big deal

This is Washington state’s moment: Make polluters pay and fund education, transportation, and equity.

Sightline | Carbon pricing

2. Uber hits the brakes in Portland for now

Controversial rideshare company Uber will stop operation in Portland for three months while an agreement is hammered out by the city.

GoLocalPDX | Rideshare

3. Plum Creek Timberlands ‘green’ label challenged

A watchdog group is challenging the environmentally friendly “green lumber” certification for Plum Creek Timberlands, one of the nation’s biggest landowners and timber producers.

The Associated Press | Forestry

4. Mayor’s task force wants more tent cities

Seattle should make it easier for more tent cities to operate legally and with oversight, members of Mayor Ed Murray’s Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness said. The city’s goal should be to accommodate — as soon as possible — as many as seven encampments serving up to 100 people each, said task force member Sharon Lee, executive director of the Seattle-based Low Income Housing Institute.

The Seattle Times | Homelessness

5. WY lawmakers back bill to promote NW coal exports

Wyoming could help finance the construction of a coal export dock in the Pacific Northwest, according to the executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. Loyd Drain said he had a “serious” conversation with an unidentified party in the past six months about the possibility of financing a coal port. His comments come as state lawmakers ready a bill that would boost the WIA’s borrowing authority to $3 billion and allow the agency to work on projects outside Wyoming.

Casper Star-Tribune | Coal exports

6. Affordable units you can heat with a TV

Jeremy Brooks, a Walsh Construction superintendent on the Orchards at Orenco apartment project in Hillsboro, posted a sign in his trailer that reads “Nothing on this job is typical.” That’s not an overstatement. When Orchards at Orenco opens in 2015, it will be the largest passive-house building in North America.

Sustainable Life | Green Building

7. Inslee’s big, bold climate plan

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee hopes his new cap-and-trade proposal will draw bipartisan support because of the revenue it will bring in for good causes during a time when the state is facing a budget gap of about $2 billion. And Inslee’s allies in the environmental community are already on board.

Grist | Carbon Tax

8. Early quake warning system ahead

Congress just approved $5 million to develop an earthquake early-warning system, but officials said they need $16.1 million a year to fully build the system and maintain it for California, Oregon, and Washington.

Los Angeles Times | Earthquakes

9. Portland wants to track energy use

Portland may begin collecting and publicizing energy use data from about 1,000 of its largest commercial buildings in an effort to curb carbon emissions.

The Oregonian | Energy efficiency

10. WA won’t boost Columbia River Gorge Commission

The Columbia River Gorge Commission won’t grow after all. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee didn’t match Oregon’s proposed budget boost for the interstate agency responsible for protecting the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and planning growth within it.

The Oregonian | Conservation

More News from December 19, 2014

Did Seattle bring Bertha mess on itself?

When Seattleites went to the polls about the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, they never really got to weigh in on Bertha, despite what some say.

Crosscut | Transportation

Views: Surely Portland can find a fair street fee

Portlanders can sigh in relief that their elected city commissioners decided this week to postpone action on a proposed personal income tax to help pay for road repairs and safety projects. By delaying a vote on the Portland Street Fund until Jan. 14, commissioners gave themselves time to do the inevitable.

The Oregonian | Transportation

Mapping chronic poverty’s explosion

A new report from the CityObservatory, a Portland-based think tank, shows that the number of urban neighborhoods that do gentrify is actually pretty small. Gentrification, in fact, might be a distraction from a much larger and slower-moving issue—that of chronic poverty in America.

Fast Company | Poverty

The simple way to end bike theft

The solution to ending bike theft is easy. It starts with this fact: we are already dealing as individuals with the costs of theft. Most of us are accustomed to occasionally replacing a lost light, a stolen seat, and in many cases a whole bike. To truly solve bike theft, all we have to do is cover those costs as a society — in the form of secure bike parking.

Bike Portland | Bicycles

Poll: Most Canadians support KM protesters

More than half of all Canadians support the protesters who disrupted Kinder Morgan’s work on Burnaby Mountain last month, but a majority also believe the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline will be finished despite such civil disobedience, according to a new online national survey.

Vancouver Sun | Pipelines

Imperial Metals can repair tailings dam

The company that owns the Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake will be allowed to repair the tailings dam before the BC government has finished its reviews into the cause of its partial collapse. Mount Polley has not been operational since Aug. 4 when its tailings dam collapsed, sending millions of cubic meters of water and tailings into nearby creeks and Quesnel Lake.

Vancouver Sun | Mining