Community First! provides affordable, permanent micro-housing

August 28, 2020 by  
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Community First! Village in Austin, a 51-acre sustainable development, provides  affordable housing  to Central Texas’ chronically homeless. McKinney York Architects recently designed two new micro-house concepts inside the community. These tiny homes are changing lives by providing homes for hundreds of locals who have fallen on hard times. The program, developed by Austin-based non-profit  Mobile Loaves & Fishes , consists of 120 total units. The organization is a social outreach ministry that has worked with the local Austin  homeless  community since 1998 through prepared feeding programs, community gardening and more. Related: Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland McKinney York Architects founder Heath McKinney and her team chose to design two pro-bono micro-houses inside the community. These homes showcase the firm’s creativity and attention to detail while contributing to a  sustainable  cause. “Being a good neighbor to our local community is an important part of our office culture,” said Aaron Taylor, project manager for the first micro-home . “This, coupled with the firm’s mission to provide quality design for everyone, really made working at CommunityFirst! Village a fulfilling experience.” This first  tiny home  features what McKinney York Architects’ website describes as “humble modular materials” that “lend dignity to the dwelling through a straightforward, logical aesthetic expression.” The home also includes a screen porch positioned to take advantage of summer breezes while providing shelter from winter winds. Openings encourage cross-ventilation, and a double roof creates shaded heat gain reduction during the warmer months. “We try to find opportunities for great design, despite the inevitable constraints, whether it’s the size and orientation of an existing concrete slab or the available construction budget,” said Navvab Taylor, leader of the second home design team. The second home includes a butterfly roof to catch breezes and  collect rainwater  for the garden. Pine paneling accents the interior, and a screened porch keeps mosquitoes away while creating an open public space for socializing. + McKinney York Images © Thomas McConnell

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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

July 14, 2020 by  
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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers Marsha Willard Tue, 07/14/2020 – 01:30 Businesses are reaping the environmental and social benefits of providing electric vehicle charging for employees. That’s according to research published last week by Presidio Graduate School (PGS) and ChargePoint, providers of the world’s largest EV charging network. Last fall, a research team from PGS conducted a study on workplace electric vehicle charging practices. In addition to a review of the current literature, the team interviewed sustainability leaders in 24 organizations across the United States. The findings reveal that while still most common in Europe and in U.S. coastal states, the speed of EV adoption makes creating the charging infrastructure an imperative for both the public and private sector. Leading organizations have made a solid business case for providing workplace charging and other EV related employee incentives or benefits. Below are some key findings of the study: Employers recognize that demand for charging will only grow; in many cities such as Portland and San Francisco EV charging in workplace parking lots is already both an expectation of employees and a city mandate. Business plays an important role in facilitating EV adoption; providing EV charging to employees is increasingly easy to justify to corporate executives.  Providing charging at the workplace increases employee satisfaction and makes it easier to attract and retain workers. Supporting EV commuting and investing in EV fleets help organizations meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets.  Employers are worried less about upfront costs and are thinking long-term about strategies to optimize their investment.  Key strategies to maximize benefit To get the most out of the investment in workplace charging stations, the corporation and other organizations participating in this research study focused on these four key implementation strategies: 1. Assure availability What the study participants learned is that while you may not see a lot of EVs in your parking lots now, they are coming and they catch on faster once workplace chargers become available. Bank of America, for example, saw a 50 percent increase in the number of EV commuters in just one year after installing chargers, reinforcing the theory that EV adoption is mostly hindered by a concern about being able to charge away from home. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Once available, chargers become an important amenity to employees. Study participants reported not only increased satisfaction with the workplace, but ncreasingly, an expectation that chargers be available making them part of nearly all our participating organizations’ recruiting and retention packages. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Some progressive cities such as Salt Lake City and Duluth, Minnesota  are beginning to mandate chargers in all new construction. The required number varies from 1 to 5 percent of spaces depending on the jurisdiction. Forward-thinking businesses, such as those in our study, believe these requirements are conservative and plan to expand the number of available chargers. LinkedIn, for example, which covers about 10 percent of parking spaces with EV chargers, is building toward a target of 20 percent. 2. Allow dynamic pricing Most study participants saw value in providing free charging for employees. What they have learned is that it not only builds employee satisfaction, but also encourages EV adoption. While there is a strong commitment to providing free charging, an increasing number of organizations are opting to charge fees for lingering at the stations. In an effort to optimize the use of the charging stations, it is common to assess a fee after a car has been parked at a charger for more than four hours. This is made possible by using “smart” chargers — chargers connected to a network that allows managers to not only tailor fee structures but to send alerts to users as well as monitor usage and capture greenhouse gas-related data.  3. Optimize energy management Study participants understood that the expected increase in demand for workplace charging will require more attention to power management. In addition to meeting the extra demand without over-tapping their capacity, they also want to assure the most efficient use of the charging infrastructure. Power management features available on some chargers enable site managers to maximize the number of charging ports before having to upgrade existing wiring or panels. These systems also enable management to assure that charging EVs never exceed the maximum aggregate electrical load, thus avoiding potential peak load charges. These systems also enable managers to control when and how much energy is being tapped to maximize consumption during those times of the day when renewable power is most plentiful. Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. 4. Source from renewable power Most study participants power their chargers with lines from their existing building panels, so the electricity comes from the same generation source as their buildings. This is the most cost-effective method for powering the chargers, but it links the carbon impact to the generation source provided by the region’s utility. If the local utility is powered mostly by coal generation plants, the carbon savings may be negligible.  Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. Amazon, for example, plans to increase its renewable energy usage from 40 percent to 100 percent by 2030 . Bank of America already sources 91percent of its energy from renewable sources and will be rolling out on-site solar generation at more than 60 of its locations in the next two years. A number of the research participants already have invested in their own on-site generation, and 55 percent report that they are looking to add or expand this capability in the future. When self-generation is not feasible, organizations have increasing opportunities to source renewable energy through their utilities.  Electrification of vehicle fleets will markedly reduce greenhouse gasses. Employers have much to gain and much to offer in this transition. Offering on-site, electric vehicle charging not only will contribute to the infrastructure needed to speed this transition, but also benefit companies that offer this amenity.  To hear a fuller story from one of our study participants, visit the recording with Erik Hansen of Workday. Pull Quote Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Topics Transportation & Mobility Infrastructure Electric Vehicles ChargePoint Collective Insight Thinking in Systems Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Herr Loeffler Close Authorship

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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

A socially distanced vacation in eastern Oregon

July 13, 2020 by  
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A close-up view of an elk. The feeling of a lake rippling beneath your paddle board. The experience of huddling under a tree, waiting for an afternoon thunderstorm to pass while staring at snow-capped mountains . These are the sorts of summer activities nature lovers miss after being stuck inside for too long. As we move into the heart of summer and pandemic-fatigue has well set in, many folks are pondering how to travel safely. This means minimal contact with people outside of those you already live with. So forget airplanes, resorts and crowded beaches. This is the summer for road-tripping to natural and wilderness areas, bringing your own food and camping or renting a cabin. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Eagle-Cap-Chalets-img1-889×667.jpg" alt="log cabin in the woods" class="wp-image-2274790" Off to eastern Oregon For my husband, dog and me, who live in Portland, Oregon, east is the natural direction to get away from crowds. We booked a dog -friendly cabin with a kitchen near Wallowa Lake, about six hours east of Portland and close to the Idaho border. Then we packed up everything we could think of to create as self-sufficient a vacation as possible — two bags and a cooler full of food, hiking gear, my new inflatable stand-up paddle board (SUP), dog treats and, of course, masks. Related: An eco-travel guide to Bend, Oregon We were conscious of going from a big city into a rural area. Neither Portland nor Wallowa County had many COVID-19 cases at the time of our trip. But we weren’t sure if locals would welcome us. When we checked into our cabin at the Eagle Cap Chalets , I was the only person in the lobby wearing a mask. The young woman behind the desk said, “It’s a personal choice. Whatever you feel comfortable with.” It turned out they were more worried about a lack of tourists than contracting COVID-19 . “We have so many doctors per capita,” she told me. During our four days in the area, we saw more Trump/Pence signs than masks. Fortunately, we were able to maintain a good social distance the whole time. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Wallowa-Lake-img2-889×663.jpg" alt="lake in the foreground and mountains in the distance" class="wp-image-2274789" Wallowa Lake Wallowa Lake is one of those places where you feel like you walked into a postcard. The snow-topped Wallowa Mountains loom over the glacial lake , which is about 3.7 miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide. There’s a beach on each end with suitable shallow places for family swimming. But if you venture into the middle, you’ll be nearly 300 feet from the bottom. This means the water is pretty chilly, with the swim season limited to July and August for most people, except for the hardiest souls. You can tent or RV camp in Wallowa Lake State Park , get up early and enjoy the lake at its quietest. When we visited in June, I only got knee-deep in the water — just enough to launch my SUP. Good paddlers can spend the day paddling the lake’s circumference. Amateurs, like myself, can hug the edges, peering into the clear glacial water for fish and taking breaks to lie on your back and cloud-gaze. When the wind suddenly whipped up and I had to work to get back to shore, I was glad I hadn’t ventured into the middle. Weather can change quickly here, so bring a life jacket and know your limits. The Wallowa Lake Marina offers watercraft rentals, ranging from paddle boards to 22-foot pontoon boats that hold 10 people (at least in non-pandemic times). JO Paddle rents glass-bottomed kayaks for the ultimate lake views. The company also offers full moon tours, crescent moon tours and one focused on searching for Wally, the Wallowa Lake Monster. No, Wally wasn’t just made up for the tourists. Local Native Americans tell a tragic tale of a wedding that united the Nez Perce and Blackfeet tribes. When the newlyweds rowed off into the lake, a sea serpent shot up from the depths and gulped them down. I’m glad I didn’t hear this story until after my solo SUP excursions. Several hiking trails start close to the lake. We followed the West Fork Wallowa River Trail, which ventures into the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  We took in mountain and river views and looked for treasures, like the tiny hot pink calypso orchids that grow out of the conifer forest floor. An unexpected evening thunderstorm drenched us and frightened our dog. Again, the predictably unpredictable weather. A little rain jacket folded up in a backpack sure comes in handy when hiking in Oregon. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Wallowa-West-Fork-Trail-img3-889×667.jpg" alt="fallen logs on either side of a forest trail" class="wp-image-2274788" Nez Perce Country Long before European explorers came into North America, the Nez Perce lived in eastern Oregon and Idaho. When you visit Wallowa Lake, stop by the Old Chief Joseph burial site and pay your respects. This Nez Perce leader refused to sign an 1863 treaty that would sell out his homeland. He died in 1871, warning the younger Chief Joseph, “My son, never forget my dying words, this country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and mother.” The cemetery that holds Old Chief Joseph’s remains is a national historic landmark and is sacred to the Nez Perce people. So if you visit, act with decorum. Travel a half-mile north to visit Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site , 62 acres of land set aside in 2009 by the Nez Perce and other local people. You’ll find easy graveled trails for walking or running, meadows, a stream and lots of wildlife. The Nez Perce call this part of the Wallowa Lake basin Iwetemlaykin. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Hells-Canyon-img4-889×667.jpg" alt="person looking out at Hells Canyon" class="wp-image-2274786" Hells Canyon This was my second visit to Hells Canyon. The first time was via jetboat from Lewiston, Idaho, which is the easiest and most relaxing way to see the area. All you have to do is sit back and look for big-horned sheep and admire the steep volcanic cliffs along the Snake River. But this time, we traveled by car — and a hair-rising time it was. Starting at Wallowa Lake you go northeast to Imnaha — so far, so good, so paved — but soon you reach the entrance to Hells Canyon National Recreation Area along with signs warning against passenger cars as the road turns to gravel. We have an SUV and my husband is a professional light rail operator, but I still spent much of the scenic drive with my eyes shut, hoping we wouldn’t meet a car coming the other way. We crept along a one-lane gravel road on high cliffs, sometimes slowing to seven miles an hour on steeper downhill stretches, sometimes facing obstacles in the road like a single chukar running along in front of the car before launching itself off the cliff and taking flight. Very few people live out here. We saw some ranches, four Forest Service workers and what might have been a remote gold mining operation on the Imnaha River. We stopped for a couple of short hikes. There are few trails out here, and they’re barely maintained, so you really feel the natural state of the land. We followed a cow trail up one steep hill, putting our feet in the small earthy stairs carved out by hooves. Once we reached the top, we had incredible mountain views of more of the same in every direction. We stayed a little late. The day turned to dusk and we were still on the treacherous, windy gravel roads. More animals appeared — elk, a herd of cows, bulls and calves on both sides of the road, all standing still and staring at us sternly, a flock of wild turkeys running in front of us. When we finally reached the pavement near Imnaha, it really felt like we’d been somewhere drastically removed from our daily lives — lives that had been completely overwhelmed by the constant stress of the pandemic. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: Like the author, we recommend taking the utmost care to keep those around you safe if you choose to travel. You can find more advice on travel precautions from the CDC and WHO .

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A socially distanced vacation in eastern Oregon

Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species

July 13, 2020 by  
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The International Union for Conservation (IUCN) has uplisted the North Atlantic Right Whales from endangered to critically endangered . This move now raises concern about the possible extinction of these whales. The Right Whales have for a long time been listed as an endangered species in a bid to lobby authorities for protection. However, the state of care for the whales has not changed, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. The uplisting follows the sad news concerning the death of a Right Whale calf. The calf was one of the only 10 Right Whale calves born during the last calving season. According to NOAA, the calf was killed by a vessel strike on the coast of New Jersey . Related: Federal agencies propose designated marine habitat to help protect Pacific humpback whales IUCN updates its Red List of threatened species every year. According to the organization, overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that the Right Whales are dying at an alarming rate because of humans. The main causes of death include vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Despite the listing of these Right Whales as endangered species previously, they have continued to be killed by human actions. IUCN now hopes that by listing the whales as critically endangered, more efforts will be geared toward their protection. Since 2017, over 31 deaths of Right Whales were reported. Additionally, more than 10 Right Whales were reported as having serious injuries. Such a large number of dead and injured whales brought a sharp focus on the declining population of the Right Whales. Today, there are less than 400 existing right whales, and conservation groups are sounding an alarm over the state of this endangered species. Scientists warn that if the Right Whales are not protected, the situation will be irreversible within a decade. Conservationists are now lobbying governments to enhance the protection of the remaining whales. The NRDC has proposed establishing a Right Whales conservation act and advises that governments put in place legislation that will end the killing of the whales by vessel strikes . + IUCN Via NRDC Image via Allison Henry/NOAA

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Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species

Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction

April 21, 2020 by  
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When Portland, Oregon reconfigured the roadways in the Central Eastside community, a 20,000-square-foot berm space was leftover from the move. To make the most of the small and oddly shaped site, Key Development teamed up with local architecture firm Skylab and Andersen Construction to use cross laminated timber (CLT) in the construction of Sideyard, a mixed-use development. The CLT components were prefabricated in a factory and then transported on-site for final assembly, a modular process that streamlined the building process and boasts environmental benefits. Located on a busy intersection next to the YARD apartments, the 23,202-square-foot Sideyard comprises a mix of retail and offices across five floors with retail located on the ground floor and workspaces placed on the top levels. Conceived as a “working class” building and gateway to the Portland Eastside community, Sideyard also emphasizes public transportation connectivity as well as pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, which has been enhanced with the addition of a ground-floor bike bar and pedestrian-friendly plaza extended from the city sidewalk. A pedestrian stair has also been integrated down from the Burnside Bridge level to Third Avenue. Related: First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground The use of cross-laminated timber was critical to the project’s success. Because of the site’s tight footprint, construction materials could not be stored on-site for long; the modularity of the CLT panels and glulam members allowed for quick assembly of the building atop a post-tensioned concrete foundation. The interior features an industrial feel thanks to exposed concrete and timber throughout, while floor-to-ceiling glazing creates a constant connection with the surrounding neighborhood. “Cross-laminated timber is a new and sustainable building material that celebrates the inherent structural qualities of wood,” said Jill Asselineau, project director for Skylab Architecture. “This material was championed by the general contractor for its regional relevance, availability and simplicity of assemblage. Employing this mass timber system saved on both time and labor expenses. The project also used mass plywood for the interior stair structure, landings and treads. This project is one of the first to employ and elegantly demonstrate the potential of this wood product.” + Skylab Architecture Photography by Stephen Miller via Skylab Architecture

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Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction

A pair of industrial buildings are reborn as a creative office in Portland

April 20, 2020 by  
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In Northwest Portland, two former industrial structures have been given a new lease on life as Redfox Commons, a light-filled campus for creative, tech and retail workspaces. Local design practice LEVER Architecture led the adaptive reuse project that spans 60,000 square feet and is split between a west wing and a larger east wing across two floors. The architects reclaimed over 6,500 linear feet of timber and combined the salvaged material with new industrial-inspired elements — such as weathering steel cladding and ribbon windows — to pay homage to the building’s history.  Located in the up-and-coming neighborhood Slabtown, Redfox Commons comprises two repurposed industrial buildings that were originally built in the 1940s for J.A. Freeman & Sons, a manufacturer for hay baling and hay handling equipment. The new adaptive reuse development, completed in 2019, helps to catalyze neighborhood growth while highlighting the historic and environmental significance of the old growth wood used in the local architecture. New, 80-foot-wide clerestory windows draw light deep into the building and bring the eyes upward to the preserved wooden framework. Related: A heritage industrial site becomes a dreamy wilderness retreat in Australia The original lumber has been preserved and restored throughout the renovation process. Existing trusses were sand-blasted and left exposed to add to the industrial interior design. Wood from an overbuilt mezzanine that was torn down was repurposed in a new timber and glass entrance structure that connects the campus’ east and west wings. “The reclaimed boards were fasted around a new glulam member using large wood screws to create the entrance structure’s distinctive columns and beams,” the architects noted in a project statement. “Innovative use of wood salvaged on-site creates a welcoming entry to the campus that is expressive of the project’s heritage and of environmentally conscious design.” + LEVER Architecture Photography by Jeremy Bitterman via LEVER Architecture

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A pair of industrial buildings are reborn as a creative office in Portland

Fun, eco-friendly things to do in Portland

January 13, 2020 by  
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Portland has boomed in the past 20 years, attracting musicians, writers, graphic designers and other creative people. Many entrepreneurial folks have started unusual businesses and events, which often surprise and delight visitors. If you’ve always wanted to visit a vegan strip club or watch an adult soapbox derby race, Portland is for you. The city of about 650,000 residents has a well-deserved reputation for rain . If you like a dry vacation, summer is your best bet. Spring is the most beautiful season, when tulips, irises and daffodils push up through the soggy ground and rhododendrons seem to bloom in every yard. Autumn enthusiasts will enjoy Portland’s fall colors. But don’t curse the rain if you get wet — it’s what makes Portland so beautiful and green. Portland outdoor adventures Outdoor adventure awaits, both within city limits and a short drive or bus ride away. The Willamette River separates Portland’s east and west sides. Running, walking and hiking are popular pastimes. On the east side, Mount Tabor, a dormant  volcano , offers hiking trails without leaving the city. Forest Park, on the west side, is even bigger, with about 70 miles of recreational trails. For a short but gorgeous Forest Park hike, take the Lower Macleay Trail along Balch Creek up to the Audubon Society, where you can check out the Wildlife Care Center which treats orphaned and injured native animals. If you happen to be in Portland on Thanksgiving, consider walking or running the annual  Tofurky Trot  5K, which benefits animal sanctuaries. Portland is well known as a bike-friendly city. You can rent a bike and explore, or join a guided tour.  Pedal Bike Tours  offers an intro to Portland tour, plus excursions focused on donuts or  beer . Their Columbia River Gorge Tour takes you out to the must-see gorge by van, where you bike and hike to waterfalls. Since Portland has access to both the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the water possibilities are vast. Join  Portland Kayak  for a guided full moon paddle on the Willamette. During summer,  eNRG Kayaking  offers SUP yoga classes. For a special Portland experience, learn about the Northwest’s favorite biped on a narrated  Bigfoot Cruise . You’ll even get the chance to smell a simulated Bigfoot pheromone (only people with strong stomachs should take a whiff). Those who like a little culture with their outdoors time will find plenty of art festivals, especially in summer. The upscale Pearl neighborhood has art openings every first Thursday of the month. From April to October, the  Urban Art Network Street Gallery  sets up an extremely accessible First Thursday show, with a chance to meet painters, jewelers, woodworkers and other skilled  artists , and find art for all budgets. Portland wellness It might seem like every other person you meet in Portland is a yoga teacher, and many neighborhoods have multiple yoga studios.  Yoga Refuge  occupies an attractive upstairs space in an older building, with plenty of light and plants to cheer up the grayest Portland days.  Studio PDX  even lets you bring your small dog to some of its classes. Portland is a city where it’s easy to find gong healing.  Portland Sound Sanctuary offers various sound healings, some including a cacao ceremony.  Awakenings Wellness Center  hosts intriguing events almost every day, such as ancestral lineage intensives, shamanic sound healing and a White Stag meditation. Common Ground Wellness Center  has a communal soaking pool and a dry cedar sauna. This clothing-optional hangout has times set aside for men, women, queer/trans and BIPOC people only, and a nightly silent hour from 10 to 11 pm. If you’re happier when everyone wears a swimsuit,  Knot Springs  is a newer facility with a delightful water circuit, sauna, eucalyptus-scented steam room and full foot rub menu. You can book massages at both Common Ground and Knot Springs.  Zama Massage Therapeutic Spa  is Portland’s only place for halo therapy in a  salt cave. The Grotto, a Catholic shrine to the Virgin Mary, is a peaceful place to visit, whether you’re religious or not. It features gardens, shrines, a labyrinth and a  meditation chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows. On a clear day, you can meditate on a view of snow-capped Mount Hood. Dining out in Portland Portland has become a city known for food, especially vegan food. At the high end, Chef Aaron Adams of  Farm Spirit  creates exquisite tasting menus from the Cascadian bioregion, with all ingredients sourced within 105 miles of the restaurant. There’s also a chef’s table experience, where you can chat with the chefs and watch as they prepare your food . The  Sudra interprets Indian food with a dash of New Mexico. Inventive plates include ingredients like turmeric-roasted Brussels sprouts, kale -infused dosas and coconut yogurt. All of this is served with a side of New Mexico green chilis, if desired. Vegetarian Thai Restaurant  KaTi Portland  makes the standard dishes, plus Thai street food and specialty entrees, with nary a drop of fish sauce. The all-vegan and gluten-free  Back to Eden  Dessert Shop on NE Alberta makes cookies, pies,  chia puddings and has an impressive sundae menu. Sweet Pea Bakery  is a real cake specialist. You can even get a tiered wedding cake or a six-layered rainbow cake. For vegan ice cream,  Eb & Bean  makes both dairy and non-dairy frozen yogurt in flavors like black sesame and salty pistachio.  Salt & Straw , Portland’s most famous ice cream shop, always features at least a few vegan flavors. Don’t miss their lemon cheesecake crumble. In nearby Milwaukie, Oregon, world-famous  Bob’s Red Mill  churns out oats, millet, sorghum, farro, and other grains. Visitors can take a tour, attend a cooking class, shop from a mind-blowing bulk section and eat lunch or breakfast. There’s also a separate veg menu. Visit during October to catch the annual two-day Portland VegFest . The newer  VegOut! Portland  Vegan Beer & Food Festival happens in  summer . Public transit It’s easy to get around Portland without driving yourself, through a combination of walking, biking, bus,  light rail and rideshare.  TriMet is the local public transit company. The MAX light rail serves the airport every day until almost midnight and is the cheapest way to get to downtown hotels. Amtrak, Bolt, Flixbus and Greyhound also serve Portland. If you see folks cruising around on heavy orange bikes built like tanks, that’s the  Biketown  bike share program. They even have a limited number of  adaptive bikes  to get people with  disabilities  on the road. Don’t want to pedal? You can also rent an electric scooter. Be advised that it’s illegal to ride scooters on the sidewalk, so stick to  bike lanes  and city streets. Also, be aware that these things pick up speed very fast when going downhill. Where to stay The  Kimpton Riverplace  puts a yoga mat in every room, has two charging stations for  electric cars  and is located right on the Willamette River waterfront path. Built in 1927, the  Heathman is both historic and eco-conscious, with low-flow shower-heads, LED lighting, walls made from recycled materials and even a ghost or two. For more eclectic lodging, check out one of Portland’s three  tiny house  hotels. Yes, three.  Caravan: The Tiny House Hotel  has five cramped but cute choices.  Tiny Digs  has eight themed units, including train car, “gypsy wagon,” barn and Victorian cottage.  Slabtown Village  bills itself as NW Portland’s luxury tiny home hotel. At Slabtown, you can also choose from three small Victorian houses if a tiny home proves too teeny. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Fun, eco-friendly things to do in Portland

Tofurky Trots offer alternative Thanksgiving races for vegetarians

November 22, 2019 by  
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The average American consumes about 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner, so it is no wonder that Turkey Trots have caught on around the nation. Thanksgiving has now eclipsed Independence Day as the most popular day to run a race, according to Runner’s World , drawing more than one million people to over 1,000 events nationwide. It’s a fun time for walkers and runners of all ages. But as everyone knows, Thanksgiving is not a fun day for turkeys — hence, Tofurky Trots. Sponsored by the maker of the preeminent faux turkey on the market, the Tofurky Trots, a vegetarian alternative race, lag way behind the Turkey Trots in popularity. But they are already become a Thanksgiving tradition for a small group of people. In Portland, Oregon, Northwest VEG is in its sixth year of partnering with Tofurky to host a Thanksgiving race. “It’s my favorite event,” said Jaclyn Leeds, executive director of Northwest VEG . “It’s just a really fun, wholesome way to start off Thanksgiving. And it combines all of my favorite things: food and community and nature and doing something good for animals. And it’s dog -friendly.” Northwest VEG is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness to the power of a plant-based, vegan lifestyle and helping support people in their transition toward making healthier, more sustainable and compassionate food choices. Founded in 2003, it is based in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. Tofurky Trot history The first recorded Thanksgiving Day race took place in 1896 in Buffalo, New York . It was an 8K with only six participants and four finishers. But the tradition took hold, eventually leading to the many Turkey Trots of today. Portland’s first Tofurky Trot in 2012 was also an informal event, with just 43 racers. Leeds participated as a trotter that year. She’d just graduated from law school, and she, a few of her classmates and Tofurky founder Seth Tibbott put the race together. “The next year, Tofurky got a little more proper about the whole thing and invited Northwest VEG to be the race organizer,” Leeds said. “So it was Tofurky’s event with Northwest VEG organizing. Now, it’s Northwest VEG’s event with Tofurky as the title sponsor.” While Tofurky Trots have caught on strongly in Portland — the large number of vegetarians and vegans plus the proximity of Tofurky’s headquarters in Hood River, Oregon probably have something to do with that — southern California has also hosted the races. Pasadena organized one in 2013, and this year, Los Angeles vegetarians will trot on November 23. Tofurky Trots in 2019 More than 600 trotters braved Portland’s late-November weather in the last two years. This year, record numbers have preregistered for the race. “This is the first year that we added a promotional turkey trot tee if they signed up by VegFest,” Leeds said, referring to an annual Northwest VEG-sponsored festival in early October. “So that inspired a lot of earlier registrations.” The collectible T-shirt angle is a little sneaky. “I want people to register before they can see the weather forecast,” Leeds said. Indeed, Thanksgiving morning can be rainy, icy and generally unpleasant in Oregon. Trotters are doing more than getting exercise. Their $35 registration fee benefits local animal sanctuaries as well as Northwest VEG. The five original beneficiaries were Wildwood Farm Sanctuary , Out to Pasture Sanctuary , Green Acres Farm Sanctuary , Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary and Sanctuary One . Northwest VEG hasn’t yet announced the beneficiaries for 2019. “This is the first year that I’ve implemented more of an application process,” Leeds said. “There are now so many sanctuaries that I need people to commit to being present at the event and tabling and being willing to promote it.” Participants can sample foods from Tofurky and Portland’s own Snackrilege . GT’s Living Foods will set up a photo booth in conjunction with its Living in Gratitude campaign. Every time somebody posts a picture on social media holding GT’s Living Foods kombucha, the company will donate 10 meals through Feeding America . The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition , an educational nonprofit committed to empowering people to save the environment, animals and their own health, is organizing this year’s Los Angeles Tofurky Trot. It will start with a pre-race yoga session, then kick off at Griffith Park Crystal Springs Picnic Area. Professional body builder and vegan Torre Washington will give a post-trot talk. The weather is much more likely to be favorable at the Los Angeles event, but fun will be had at both locations. Both trots are dog-friendly, assuming the dogs are well-behaved and leashed. Neither race is chip-timed, but the first adult and child finishers will win prizes. There will also be awards for best dog costume (in Portland) and cutest dog (in Los Angeles). Organizing your own trot Tofurky offers two ways to start your own trot, either as a sponsored cause or a self-organized event for fewer than 20 people. Tofurky will support your race by sending T-shirts and creating a race landing page. Why trot? “It’s a really fun way to start off a family holiday,” Leeds said, emphasizing that all levels of fitness are welcome. People feel good about raising money for farm sanctuaries, and they’re still home early enough to cook — and feast. + Northwest VEG Images via Northwest VEG and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Tofurky Trots offer alternative Thanksgiving races for vegetarians

Vancouver Food Tour showcases the city’s vegan side

September 30, 2019 by  
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As we sit at MeeT in Gastown eating sweet-chili cauliflower, Hannah Enkerlin tells me she thinks vegetarians are more evolved people than omnivores, more in touch with animals and environmental health. My guide on Vancouver Food Tour co-founded this vegan tour in 2017, after an explosion of new local vegan businesses. She’s excited to show off some of the best vegan food the city has to offer and to share vegan fun facts with tourists. For example, the world has entirely too many methane -producing cows headed for dinner plates and that the term “veganism” was coined in 1944 by a British gent named Donald Watson. Vancouver Food Tour’s most popular offering is the Gastown Tasting Tour. Despite the recent uptick in vegan consciousness, the company gets far fewer bookings and participants on the vegan tour. Enkerlin’s average Gastown Tasting Tour routinely gets up to 30 participants. For the vegan tour, eight’s a crowd. But the company is committed to offering it and will even conduct the tour if only one person signs up. Related: The pros and cons of going vegan Enkerlin, a long-time vegetarian , and company owner Carlos Gomes dreamed up the vegan tour together. They visited all the new vegan restaurants, thoroughly vetting menus to decide which dishes would be best to offer guests. Then, they put together a five-stop tour that adds up to more than enough for a filling lunch. First stop, MeeT in Gastown. “It’s a very, very busy restaurant, no matter what day of the week,” Enkerlin said as we found a table on a rainy September afternoon. MeeT serves burgers, bowls, fries and the ultimate Canadian comfort food, poutine (French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy). If you just wandered in off the street, you might not realize it’s a vegan place, as it looks more like a hip comfort food joint. Vancouver Food Tour pre-orders the food so that it’s ready for tour-goers when they arrive. Enkerlin told me that cauliflower is very trendy right now in Vancouver. In addition to its nutrients, it has a reputation as a cancer -fighter. Plus, when beer-battered, it’s delicious. “But MeeT has something no one else has,” she said. “Tamarind sauce.” On the tour, the appetizer comes with a small glass of beer or wine. For non-drinkers like me, you can substitute something off the menu. I opted for a ginger shrub. After MeeT, we walked about 10 minutes through Chinatown to the vegan pizza parlor called Virtuous Pie. This fast-casual restaurant has modern, industrial decor and specializes in creatively topped, single-serving pizzas. Vancouver Food Tour’s chosen pie is the ultraviolet, which has a thin crust topped with walnut arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, dried tomatoes, kale, caramelized onions and pine nuts. Virtuous Pie opened in 2016 as the first of a new batch of non-Chinese businesses in Chinatown. Known for its pizza and homemade ice cream, Virtuous Pie has since opened shops in Portland, Victoria and Toronto. By this point in the tour, it feels like lunch is over, but there’s still one more entree before dessert. After another short walk, we arrived at Kokomo , also in Chinatown, which specializes in healthful vegan bowls and smoothies. Options include a coastal macro bowl and hemp Caesar salad. I chose the photogenic Nood Beach Bowl, with noodles tossed in tahini sauce, snap peas, pickled carrot, furikake, mint and green onion and topped with cilantro, sesame seeds and watermelon radish. Owner Katie Ruddell opened Kokomo in 2017. As we waited for my bowl, Enkerlin told me Ruddell built the serene, understated spot out of an old automotive garage. Now, it looks more like an upscale yoga studio. Diners sit on stools around an off-white boomerang table encircling huge indoor plants. Next comes the highlight of the tour, at least for dessert lovers — a visit to Umaluma . This small shop makes dairy-free gelato in everything from familiar flavors, like mint chip and dark chocolate truffle, to exotic options like black sesame, drunken cherry and lemongrass kaffir. The owners use organic ingredients whenever possible. They go the extra mile by making their own nut milks, squeezing oranges or pressing espresso, depending on what the flavor in question requires. How much vegan gelato did I eat on the food tour? I don’t want to talk about it. The tour ends at an all-vegan grocery store called Vegan Supply . Enkerlin gave me five dollars of spending money. I recognized lots of familiar products imported from the U.S., but I also discovered many Canadian brands. I asked a worker which products are local, and he just happened to be in charge of inventory. “I love to show off our stuff,” he said cheerfully, taking me on a full tour of cases and shelves. Many of the plant-based faux meats come from British Columbia , plus some prepared sauces like Golden Glop, a turmeric and cashew blend, are produced by Vancouver-based KAPOW NOW! . The tour is a fun way to get on the inside track of vegan Vancouver, and Enkerlin, vivacious, warm and well-read, makes a fascinating guide. I hope that in the future, Vancouver Food Tour gets more “evolved” visitors who choose the vegan tour over the company’s meatier and craft beer-focused offerings. + Vancouver Food Tour Photography by Hannah Enkerlin and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Vancouver Food Tour showcases the city’s vegan side

Architecture students build temporary music festival venue using 160 repurposed apple bins

September 11, 2019 by  
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On Friday, August 2, the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon featured a temporary performance venue designed by the Portland State University School of Architecture. The project is another in a line of “diversion design-build” concept stages, known fondly as the “Treeline Stage,” built by the school for the festival since 2014. The very first Treeline Stage was made using wooden shipping pallets. Since then it has also featured cardboard tubes, dimensional lumber and wooden trusses as building material. The 2019 repurposed stage was inspired by images of apple blossoms. The temporary venues holds a total of 160 wooden bins that were previously used to harvest apples by a Pacific Northwest fruit producer. The structure towers are 40 feet at its tallest point, allowing ample space for everything from audio equipment, a backstage area, food vendors and room for audience seating. The natural background of the stage, an area where the meadow meets the woods, only adds to the organic yet mystical ambiance of the structure. This year, the musical festival hosted 18 different bands (all of various genres) on the six stages throughout the weekend. Some of the bands included Mereba, CAAMP, Julia Jacklin, JJUUJJUU, Bonny Light Horseman, Reptaliens, and Black Belt Eagle Scout.  Each tower was made up of anywhere from 15-30 bins, strategically stacked to resemble pentagonal clusters of blossoms. The shadows cast by the apple bins during the day created a series of artistic shadows, while colored LED lights incorporated into the structure helped illuminate the stage after dark. The student-faculty team used leftover lumber from the previous year’s Treeline Stage project to create the vertical elements supporting the towers. Following the festival, the apple bins were returned to the donating company to be used for transporting and holding harvested apples for the late Summer harvest — meaning no materials went to waste. + Portland State University School of Architecture Images via PSU School of Architecture

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Architecture students build temporary music festival venue using 160 repurposed apple bins

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