Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.78
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Portland State University
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Amanda Wolf
Program + Assessment Coordinator
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Climate Resilience in Urban Campuses and Communities (CRUX)

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Short-term project or event

Which of the following best describes the partnership?:
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability:

By signing on to Second Nature’s Climate Commitment in 2015, PSU was one of the first universities to commit to planning for adaptation in a rapidly changing climate. Through the Climate Resilience in Urban Campuses and Communities (CRUX) grant, we are developing a climate change resilience capacity assessment for the PSU community. This will lay the foundation of our resilience and adaptation strategy moving forward. The grant also supports working with Mt. Hood Community College and the City of Gresham to assess their capacity and build networks of resilience.

In partnership with the City of Portland, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Portland Climate Action Collaborative, the Mapping Action Collective, PSU researchers, and more, we are planning to be more resilient together despite significant changes in our future.

Grant was funding for 18 months and we are currently seeking funding to expand the work and program.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Portland Climate Action Collaborative

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (2nd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):

The Portland Climate Action Collaborative is a partnership between the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the City of Portland to advance goals outlined in the Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan. The Institute for Sustainable Solutions creates and supports collaborative research projects and internships that lead to relevant sustainability outcomes for the city and region. The collaborative started with support from the Bullitt Foundation in 2013.

Through co-creating projects and identifying outcomes and deliverables for researchers and practitioners, the climate collaborative focuses on:
-Projects that help achieve goals or inform decision-making regarding the Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan while providing meaningful research and educational opportunities for PSU faculty and students.
-Interdisciplinary work that allows us to consider multiple aspects of climate change scenarios, mitigation, and response.

The Portland Climate Action Collaborative also supports the work of the Sustainability Research Network (SRN), which is a nation-wide project of the National Science Foundation to tackle challenges in urban sustainability. Due to shared program goals and similar approaches in bringing together practitioners and researchers, several projects are supported by both the SRN and the Portland Climate Action Collaborative. Involvement with the SRN means that the work of the Portland Climate Action Collaborative has the potential for positive impact in both Portland and in cities across the country.

Over the last four years over $600,000 in projects have been funded and multiple interns have been placed within BPS.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Waste Minimization Team at the Port of Portland

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (3rd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):

The Waste Minimization Team is comprised of four (4) Portland State University Community Environmental Services (CES) student staff who monitor all the unique materials streams throughout the Port of Portland, with an emphasis on the Portland International Airport (PDX) headquarter offices, public areas, airport vendors, and airport maintenance. The Waste Minimization Team also provides outreach and technical assistance for the PDX Food Donation Program, which diverts intact food to hungry folks in the region. The partnership between CES and Port of Portland has resulted in outlining best practices for materials management at airports, nationally.

Partnering since 2003, Portland State students take the lead on projects, designing posters that encourage recycling, spending time on the front lines separating materials for recycling and reuse and conducting food waste studies at PDX. The partnership between CES students and Port officials has produced many innovative airport waste minimization programs, including:

-Beverage Collection Stations — allows passengers to empty liquids from water bottles and other containers before passing through security. The project initially saved the Port $30,000 in annual labor costs by reducing the number of times janitors had to empty garbage stations.

-Food Waste Program — keeps food waste from going into landfills. A food composting program was created that analyzes waste streams and provides rewards to employees who use the green food waste bins. 20 tons of food waste per month are composted at the airport.

-Green Durable Plates for Dine In — a pilot program that provided reusable plates to food vendors and helped them reduce the use of to-go containers. It helped reduce waste from to-go packaging by 73 percent. Every PDX food vendor participating in the program said they would highly recommend that it continue beyond the pilot phase.


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

Resilient Portland:
With the Institute for Sustainable Solutions as convener, eight Portland city agencies are working together to develop a unified resiliency plan to better respond to community needs should a major disaster hit—including a 9.0 earthquake or 500-year flood. Since June 2017, the Resilient Infrastructure Planning Exercise (RIPE) team has been meeting to identify the city’s critical infrastructure—from roads to hospitals to water lines. The team’s goal? To understand the interdependencies between different infrastructure systems and develop priorities for getting infrastructure assets back online as soon as possible following a disaster.

Small Backyard Homes: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs):
The Institute for Sustainable Solutions is spearheading an initiative to make it easier and more affordable for Portland homeowners to construct a second house on their property—increasing housing options in a city with some of the fastest rising rents and lowest vacancy rates in the nation.Called “accessory dwelling units” or ADUs, these small backyard homes can be used by family members or rented out to others in the community. They provide more affordable housing options while reducing pollutants that cause climate change.The Institute is working with city agencies, architects, financial institutions, low-income housing providers, and others to develop a simple, affordable, ready-to-go solution for homeowners interested in building an ADU.

Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC):
TREC, the Transportation Research and Education Center for Portland State University, houses the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, or NITC, and the archives of its predecessor grant program, the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, or OTREC. TREC also administers the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation, or IBPI, and other transportation grants and programs. We produce timely, practical research useful to transportation decision makers and support the education of future transportation professionals through curriculum development and student participation in research.

Community Environmental Services:
A student-staffed organization, Community Environmental Services (CES) has more than 20 years of experience working with local governments, organizations and businesses to to institute efficient recycling, waste reduction and resource sustainability programs. CES has worked with the Port of Portland, New Seasons Market, the City of Portland, Nike, and many others.

Green Building Research Laboratory:
Funded by the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), the Green Building Research Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research, testing and evaluation of green building materials and practices. The lab offers several options for industry partners to connect—from equipment rental to joint research projects.

Impact Entrepreneurs:
The PSU's Impact Entrepreneurs program supports social entrepreneurship through leadership training, field studies, mentorship programs and the Social Innovation Incubator, which provides startup resources to nascent nonprofits and businesses working to address social issues.


Website URL where information about the institution’s community partnerships to advance sustainability is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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