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Monday, September 21, 2009

Get A $5/Sq Foot Subsidy On Your New Ecoroof

Posted on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 2:34 PM

The city's Bureau of Environmental Services is offering a grant of $5 per square foot to property and homeowners who choose to build ecoroofs. Check out the their website for more.

I know this, because I too was at the Mercury's branch office outside City Hall Friday morning, enjoying the sunshine. I also learned more about the city's Grey to Green initiative, thanks to the staff's wise choice to offer free coffee and cookies on the sidewalk. Ecoroofs are part of the program, but Grey to Green is also doing a bunch of other stuff. In the year and a half that it has been underway, the city has seen some significant improvements:

An example of a green street

- 3.84 acres of ecoroof are completed or under construction.
- 3,028 street trees and 509 yard trees were planted.
- 72 "green streets" have been installed.
- Portland Parks has removed invasive plants from 530 acres.
- Designs are in the works to replace four harmful culverts that are blocking fish passage.
- 33 acres of undeveloped land have been purchased, so that they remain undeveloped instead of turning into strip malls.

That's just the beginning. The five-year goals for Grey to Green include adding 43 acres of ecoroofs, constructing 920 green streets, and purchasing 419 acres of high priority natural areas. And with a city grant of $50 million over the next five years, those goals seem reachable.

The city has never taken on street tree planting on this scale—the budget for that has been only about $20-40,000 over the last twenty years, and now they're looking at over $1 million in just a year or two. Despite the rosy outlook for Portland watersheds, the work isn't done.

A new treebate program (get it? like rebate!) will compensate property owners for planting trees. The initiative is a collaborative effort with Friends of Trees and will launch in a few weeks. It hopes to encourage land owners to plant trees, especially local varieties, by covering 50% of tree-planting expenses up to $40, and up to $50 for native species. Money for you, trees for the world!

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