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Thursday, November 8, 2007

It’s Official: Portland Is Greener Than Seattle

posted by on November 8 at 16:23 PM

It’s been established that Portland’s more bike-friendly than Seattle. They also managed to build a light rail system without shackling its approval to roads. And now, they’re looking at legislation that would tax housing that isn’t energy efficient, and provide payments to builders that build efficient homes.

From the Oregonian:

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the carbon fee and inspection requirement would levy taxes upon builders who merely comply with the energy efficiency requirements of the Oregon building code, already one of the most stringent in the nation. It would then pay cash rewards to developers who make buildings that save at least 45 percent more energy than the code requires.

Can our mayor and City Council get on this NOW, please?

UPDATE: Hmm. Probably not. The city’s Department of Planning and Development is proposing that new buildings in South Lake Union meet the anemic (and actually pretty meaningless) LEED Silver standard, but only if they want to go above current height limits. Not exactly inspiring stuff.

RSS icon Comments


It's official: If you love Portland so damn much, fucking move there already.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 8, 2007 4:10 PM

If only there was, you know, a viable job market in Portland. Or any part of Oregon, for that matter.

Posted by laterite | November 8, 2007 4:13 PM

I'm lighting up my green cig in anticipation!

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 8, 2007 4:14 PM

The problem however, is that it is still Portland.

Posted by Brad | November 8, 2007 4:23 PM

What Poe said. If you and everyone else loves Portland so fucking much, pack your shit and move there. This 'I wish Seattle was like Portland' shit was getting old months ago.

Posted by Gomez | November 8, 2007 4:41 PM

If only there was, you know, a viable job market in Portland. Or any part of Oregon, for that matter.

People should understand that endless "green" tinkering has its consequences. If you build rail and bike paths that only a minority want, and ignore auto infrastructure that most commuters want, and endlessly torment and bribe developers about the efficiency of their projects - that may make employers decide that they'd rather locate somewhere else.

Posted by JMR | November 8, 2007 4:42 PM

its been official for a long time

Posted by paulish | November 8, 2007 4:50 PM

JMR - Portland - but you're talking about Seattle, too.

Hey, I voted for Prop 1 and lost. Waaah.

Now, let's see which naysayers are stepping up to do something better. Not SAYING what's better (eg. 100-story tall low rent yadda yaddas, Will), but actually putting some gruel in the bowl.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | November 8, 2007 4:50 PM


So Portland's economy has gotten a lot worse lately? In my experience, or rather my relatives' experience, their economy is the same as it's always been -- kinda sucky.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 8, 2007 4:53 PM

and this money is going to come from?...

Posted by Cale | November 8, 2007 5:13 PM

So Portland's economy has gotten a lot worse lately? In my experience, or rather my relatives' experience, their economy is the same as it's always been -- kinda sucky.

If people in New York talking about how great Portland is can't pump up their economy, then nothing can.

Posted by JMR | November 8, 2007 5:14 PM

But the Slog is way better than the Plog! Suck it Portland!

Posted by jseattle | November 8, 2007 5:21 PM

for #6:
you have uncovered our nefarious plot!
we will slow your puny economy with all of our sensible regulations.
you are no match for our mighty tofu torments, and recycling renditions.
Give up your S.U.V. and starbucks, we will cause all your happiness, and employees to move to India, for that is the kind of power us greens wield!!!

Posted by the green tinkerer | November 8, 2007 5:55 PM

But seriously, folks...

Even though Gomez (#5) is generous (It was old long before "months ago"), and we're both using the typical right-wing "If you don'like eet, you c'n geet'out!" argument, we're still right. The Stranger seems to have grown this odd dependency on what-Portland-is-doing-right in order to fill in the blanks in the "answers" area of their daily kvetching on what-Seattle-is-doing-wrong. It isn't pathetic, because it's usually right, but the style is bored and (now) usually wrong. (Not wrong as in 'wrong', wrong as in stop-fucking-talking-about-Portland).

I know this because I know everything. Thank you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 8, 2007 6:10 PM

The above comments make it clear:

we in Seattle cannot stand to be compared to any other place.

Any true statement that another place is greener than us is met with derision and childish hooting.

Pathetic. Dishonest. Lame.

We don't have transit, we don't have the best recylcing, we are way behind on congestion pricing, and the fact is, we are not that green.

We just think we are.
How. Stupid. How. Provincial.

Posted by unPC | November 8, 2007 6:32 PM

"How. Stupid. How. Provincial."


Posted by ohhh snap | November 8, 2007 6:43 PM

please, just move there already. otherwise, not another fucking word about it.

Posted by so bored with hearing about portland | November 8, 2007 8:10 PM

BS, #6: Portland's disastrous, boom-and-bust economy has nothing to do with not building enough roads - puhleeze - but is because it is a 19th century resource extraction town that has never developed a truly complete industrial base. That said, people who have been there a while or manage to land on their feet have a lot more spare time than in Seattle, and its working-class livability is greater than Seattle's. Oregon just had the presence of mind to revoke its awful Measure 37 of a few years back (though props to Seattle for saying no to Prop 1, too). Portland really DOES resemble Seattle in the early 90s - affordable, pretty clueless, rainy, funky homemade culture - but in my nine months there I was shocked at how un-ready they are for what's coming, so clearly demonstrated in Seattle's past decade (though without the industrial base, this may be an entirely hip gentrification without the software millionaires, a Williamsburg West or Aspen for guitar players): no Tenants Union, no Displacement Coalition, and the biggest fuss of the year in city hall is whether or not to name a street after Cesar Chavez. And for all it's lauded greenery, they STILL aren't close to talking about the changes that will be needed to survive what is coming to us. But neither is Seattle, and Portland's a way more interesting place to be these days.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | November 8, 2007 9:14 PM

Also, many of the progressive environmental policies are confined to the Portland urban growth boundary. Outside of that, in places like Salem and Beaverton/Hilsboro, it's game on for massive development. Plus Oregon's forestry and fisheries management in the Coast Range and Columbia/Willamette watersheds has not been, shall we say, laudable, up until the very recent past. Let's not even talk about eastern Oregon. Take the politics of Eastern Washington, add a dose of Mormonism, a pinch of the Freemen, and stir.

Not to completely badmouth Oregon or anything, I love going there, but it ain't paradise.

Posted by laterite | November 8, 2007 10:31 PM

Fuck Portland. They're nowhere near as green as Munich.

Posted by Greg | November 9, 2007 12:30 AM

Ja, Munich is much the greener placement than any of your stupid georg busch cities, you Aah-meriCans are so far behind us in da Europe it is funny, not even.
Next time you think to yourselbs, "ahhh yes, yes, ve are de superpowers of de Universe" remember this, our euro eats your silly non-green econmies to pieces.

Posted by dieter | November 9, 2007 3:06 AM

The difference between the two is simply that Seattle is liberal while Portland is leftist. So, sure, if you're a frustrated leftist who is sick of having to compromise your purism, Portland looks amazing. And yes, Portland is more interesting in the same way that fighting with police is more interesting than calmly protesting. However, I'd rather live in the town without the riots.

I'll never be pure enough to live in Portland. At least Seattle gives you enough breathing space politically that you can have fun without worrying about the political ramifications of every action.

Posted by zzyzx | November 9, 2007 5:08 AM

LEED silver is "anemic"?

lets' see you convince a developer to meet it. once you mention the 30k comissioning costs, they balk.

bravo, portland.

Posted by max solomon | November 9, 2007 9:29 AM

Who cares about energy waste? Pay attention to where the power is coming from! It need not be carbon based fuel (wind, nuke, hydro, etc.)

Posted by Anon | November 9, 2007 10:11 AM

Cheaper just to buy Green Power from Seattle City Light and then not worry about the details.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 9, 2007 11:40 AM

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