September 11, 2008

Portland’s South Waterfront Deemed Salmon Friendly

By Sam Bennett

Portland's South Waterfront is known for its proximity to nature and its LEED certified buildings. Now the South Waterfront area has become the first urban neighborhood in the United States to achieve Salmon-Safe certification.

Salmon-Safe's certification of South Waterfront means that the area exceeds state and federal regulatory commitments to protect the Willamette River and its urban tributaries. Salmon-Safe is a Portland based nonprofit certification organization.

The designation commits the neighborhood to sustain its environmental stewardship over time, including the district-wide elimination of pesticides that are harmful to salmon and other aquatic life.

Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe managing director, said his organization brought in an independent assessment team to verify how the neighborhood's storm water is treated and to test its quantity and quality. He said the water flowing into the river from South Waterfront is "cleaner and colder" now than it was when the district was an industrial area.

"The Willamette River is South Waterfront's front yard, so Salmon- Safe certification is particularly relevant to help migrating salmon spawn and thrive," said Kent. "The neighborhood's developers made a big commitment to environmental innovation with the first blocks developed. Now homeowners, with Salmon-Safe certification embedded in their covenants, will ensure that this stewardship commitment will be carried forward through future development phases and in the day-to-day operation of the neighborhood."

He said a key to the storm water management system are the bioswales used in the neighborhood, which prevent pollutants from making their way from streets and parking lots to the river.

As the South Waterfront Community Association continues to work on design guidelines for the neighborhood, the association will incorporate requirements for storm water filtration and salmon habitat conservation.

In addition to South Waterfront, other Portland Salmon-Safe certified urban projects are the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Nike, Portland State University, Portland Parks, Oregon Convention Center and Toyota at the Port of Portland. Salmon-Safe's inspection team has certified more than 65,000 acres of farm and urban lands in Oregon and Washington, including 140 vineyards that represent a third of Oregon's total vineyard acreage.

Dennis Wilde, a principal at Gerding Edlen Development and a South Waterfront resident, said his firm has been committed to sustainable practices at South Waterfront. Gerding Edlen has four projects in the area.

"Recognizing the ecological sensitivity of this site and its direct connection to the Willamette River, Gerding Edlen and all of our partners committed to building the nation's most sustainable neighborhood, particularly with respect to managing storm water runoff," said Wilde.

Originally published by Sam Bennett.

(c) 2008 Daily Journal of Commerce (Portland, OR). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.