Only in 2020: Reflections on Environmental Sustainability

How many times have you said, “Only in 2020” this year any time a new, unimaginable story pops up? Pandemic. Murder hornets. Wildfires. Random Monoliths. Only in 2020! This has been a trying and difficult year for our region. Still, despite everything that 2020 has thrown at us, we’ve been inspired by the many ways our partners and colleagues have gone above and beyond to lift up those around them.  

As we close out 2020, we’re taking some time to remember these moments of heart and kindness.  

Join us in celebrating the incredible work of our Environmental team and partners who helped us keep equity top of mind as we made environmental decisions during an unprecedented year.

Protecting Wildlife and Natural Spaces

The youth inspired us in 2020.

This summer, a group of young adults spent a week working to create wildlife habitat and remove invasive species at multiple Port of Portland wetland enhancement sites (and made some awesome birdhouses). Done through a partnership with the Northwest Youth Corps, a number of these young people want to pursue careers working in nature after the experience. How cool!  

Another group of students were working hard over the summer. Six teenagers designed and built floating wetlands to help create more healthy water for local wildlife and healthy microorganisms. They learned a ton – and we’re learning even more thanks to their work.

2020 might have been tough, but our future is bright thanks to young minds like this.

And while it wasn’t young people doing this work, it was young salmon who will benefit. Our Navigation team took on a brand new challenge: building a new island using their dredge equipment to create a safe habitat for juvenile salmon.  

Related Story: The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day reminds us how connected we are

Becoming More Energy Efficient

The next time you drive through PDX, the arrivals and departures roadway will be a brighter experience than your last journey. Thanks to two fantastic partners – Affiliated Engineers and O’Neill Construction Group – we removed 82% of our lights on the PDX roadway, saying goodbye to more than 1,800 light fixtures while improving lighting quality.

Reducing Air Toxics

We were a lead agency in a regional effort to improve diesel emissions. Diesel is the largest contributor to air toxins in our region, with many low-income communities seeing the largest impacts. In the Portland metro area, construction equipment plays a significant role in contributing to these harmful emissions.

That’s why the Port joined with other public agencies to launch the Clean Air Construction Standards program, a phased approach to upgrading old diesel engines to reduce air pollution. The first phase started this year, with a lot more work to come in the future.

Looking Ahead to 2021

Like many of you, we are so ready to say goodbye to 2020, but we’re grateful to all our partners who pushed us this year and helped us advance our environmental and clean energy goals. Environmental justice is social justice, are we remain committed to limiting our impact on the beautiful region we serve.

Related:
Only in 2020: Reflections on Marine & Trade
Only in 2020: A Year Like No Other at PDX
Only in 2020: Our Community Comes Together