My colleague David, & I – plus David’s fellow-WI-native-mom!, attended the 17th annual BEST Awards this morning. Since 1993, awards are given to Portland area companies which demonstrate business practices that promote both economic growth and environmental benefits. Remarks were given by Mayor Sam Adams, who outlined both 1) why Portland is so ahead of the curve in the US, and in rarefied company internationally with cities like Copenhagen and Oslo, and 2) momentum must continue to build from a community-based approach (not top-down from the Feds.). That these awards have been presented here for 17 years underscores the leading role our city plays. I chuckled when I read this week that one visiting official from Wisconsin said last week, to paraphrase, “Milwaukie, Oregon will probably get light rail before Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” I don’t doubt it. Milwaukee just spent approximately $810,000,000 reworking the state’s largest “freeway” interchange – yet provided no new alternatives for commuters heading downtown.
The keynote speaker was New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, a native Oregonian, who discussed climate change and its affect on human rights. His topic was, “How ordinary people and small businesses in Portland can set an example for the country by pioneering sustainable technologies, promoting green jobs and developing equitable economic models.”
Our federal stubbornness and heads-in-the sand approach of the past decade is yielding to a science and evidence-based review of our actions on this Globe. At a time when local employment news is dismal and housing stats are still disappointing, events like these are excellent perspective – and remind us that we’re on the right track locally. The world is moving progressively in a new direction to avert climate change disasters – and our fair city is consistently looked to as a role model to be part of that change.
Congrats to the 2009 BEST Awards Winners!
BEST Practices for Sustainability for Very Small Companies
Portland Hawthorne Hostel
BEST Practices for Sustainability for Small Companies
One Green World / Northwoods Nursery
BEST Practices for Sustainability for Medium Companies
Elite Care at Fanno Creek
BEST Practices for Sustainability for Large Companies
Epson Portland Inc.
Sustainable Products or Services
Refind Furniture (Our United Villages)
Timber Pro UV Natural Wood Finishes
Tenant Improvement LEED Platinum Studio of Boora Architects
New Construction / Major Renovation Humboldt Gardens
Sustainable Food Systems
Ladybug Organic Coffee Company
Organically Grown Company