Forget the Beavers, Oregon is Really The Green State

I just got back from a long road trip that covered most of California and Oregon. We visited friends in the Portland area and in Bend, and what I took most from my first trip to Oregon as an adult was that it's all about green living up there. portland composts

Here are some of the ways that Oregon promotes and enacts a sustainable lifestyle.

  • Composting~ the fact that the city of Portland composts sets an great example for its citizens, and I was completely surprised to see a composting bin in a local restaurant!  I'm getting ready to build my raised garden planter and I can't wait to start composting to organically fertilize my plants.
  • Recycling~ in the area where my friends live at least, they can recycle all numbers of plastics. We had this privilege when we lived in Colorado and I can say from experience that it makes a huge difference in the amount of trash we through in the landfill. It's amazing how many number 5's I have to throw away now that I'm back in the land of recycling only 1's and 2's.
  • Education & Water Conservation~ our friends' junior high-aged daughter (in Bend) recently received a brand new low flow faucet head & shower head (both with shut-off valves), 2 CFL light bulbs and a water leak testing powder, all as part of a school project financed by the state's version of the Get Wise program (this is a national program but I was specifically impressed with Oregon's use of it).  In addition, the city of Bend has water canals running through the city that irrigate the yards of homes in the summer.
  • Localism~ As a surfer this word has a negative connotation but I'm learning more and more these days about the benefits of going local. The city of Bend particularly promotes supporting local businesses, and there are more independently-owned coffee shops and stores than I've seen in a long time. I had some amazing coffee at local coffee shops (one spot even called "Strictly Organic"!)

I think I could sum up how awesome Oregon is when it comes to green living with this example. Here's the manifesto of a delicious local bakery in Bend, The Sparrow Bakery (thanks to both of our friends who recommended it!) as printed on the bag my amazing almond croissant came in:

  • Offering in-season menus with natural meats
  • Using biodegradable plastics & "to-go" cups
  • Nurturing multiple local farming relationships
  • Encouraging our 6 employees who clock bike miles
  • Cultivating 300 lbs. of compost a week
  • Donating leftover goods to Bethlehem Inn
  • Serving responsible coffee & organic tea
  • Supporting independent & emerging local artists
  • Heating our bakery with 100% passive methods

Can you say, WOW!?

sparrow bakery

Oh, and of course, Oregon is not only green in the sense of an eco-friendly lifestyle, but in terms of vibrant shades of foliage too. I fell in love with the moss, trees and grassy farmlands going up I-5 and throughout Portland. Unfortunately I know what causes it to be so green up there- all that rain-- so I won't be moving there anytime soon. But it was a beautiful place to visit, and I hope to go again to experience summer up there eventually, and get more green inspiration.