Wheeler will help Portland regain green building leadership

By Vanessa Keitges, Robert Packard, and Mark Edlen. Keitges is president of Portland-based green roof company Columbia Green Technologies and a member of the President’s Export Council. Packard is a partner at Portland-based ZGF Architects LLP, a design firm with a focus on architecture, interior design, and urban design. Edlen is managing partner of Portland-based Gerding Edlen, a national real estate investment and development firm committed to building sustainable properties.

After years of global recognition for innovative green policies, from planning to transportation to green buildings, it’s time for the City of Portland to re-prioritize its position in the green tech world?

Portland pioneered some of the first green building projects in the country, delivered the iconic South Waterfront, started eco-districts, and enacted America’s first-ever eco-roof policy, ushering in national growth in sustainable business.

Unfortunately, Portland, once the envy of the world for our green buildings that combined smart style with sustainability, is now seeing other cities not only catch up to our leadership but in some cases exceed our leadership.

In the last two years Portland green roof installations dropped by 90 percent, leading the former President of the U.S. Green Building Council, Roger Platt, to ask last year, “Is Portland losing its appetite for sustainability?” That should sting.

For Portland to compete with cities now outpacing us in green job growth and innovative sustainability, we need strong public leadership.

We need voters to support candidates like Ted Wheeler, who can combine progressive and environmental values with green tech and expertise to leverage Oregon businesses that share those values.

While economists predict green construction will create 3.9 million jobs over the next four years, as a city we should not be content to let those jobs go elsewhere. These are good family-wage jobs that range from construction and manufacturing to engineering and design. To grow those jobs here, we need to utilize policies that further encourage the reduction of trash, energy, water and sewage generated in our buildings.

We should all be proud that under Mayor Adams, Portland adopted green roof incentives. And we should celebrate the fact that Mayor Hales champions our city’s climate work on the global stage.

But now we need to select a new mayor to drive innovative policy enabling our City to capture more than its share of the growing green building market and build Portland businesses and jobs that make a difference for our community and our planet.

Ted Wheeler is the only mayoral candidate ready to combine political experience, business skill, and progressive vision to take the next steps that move Portland to the leading edge of green tech.

As state treasurer, Wheeler committed to quadrupling Oregon's investment in renewable energy and earlier worked to create a regional roadmap to reduce carbon emissions. Under his tenure, the Oregon Growth Account invested in local businesses, supporting local jobs and giving taxpayers a successful return on their investment.

The leaders we elect will determine whether we can progressively move forward and continue our global leadership role in the green tech market, which is why we are supporting Ted Wheeler for Portland mayor.

A vote for Wheeler is a vote to reinvigorate city programs and revitalize the creative architectural spirit that defines Portland and its dedication to our environment and our people.

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