Staying safe: Salmon group reaffirms Convention Center's solid water record
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Oregon Convention Center's rain garden is one of the reasons the venue won recertification from the Salmon-Safe water advocacy group.
A Portland-based wildlife advocate has validated the Oregon Convention Center’s water use strategies.
The group Salmon-Safe, which champions healthy streams, has recertified the venue for its continued commitment to reducing polluted runoff to the Willamette River. The Convention Center earned the nod for its “largely pesticide-free campus, its large water-filtering rain garden and the 2011 construction of its environmentally innovative events plaza,” according to Salmon-Safe.
“OCC is consistently highly engaged in looking for the most ecologically responsible solutions for its site,” said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe’s cofounder and executive director. “And being a stone’s throw from the Willamette, actions on their site can have a profound impact on the river.”
Matt Uchtman, OCC’s director of operations, said the facility uses Salmon-Safe’s guidelines as it devises river-friendly checks-and-balances.
The OCC comprises 10 city blocks in inner-Northeast Portland. Venue operators treat the grounds with the cleanest chemicals possible and limit the amount of fertilizers that treat the soil.
The facility also features a 318-foot rain garden and channels water from 5.5-acres of its roof into plant-filled pools. The plants help tease out contaminates and debris.
OCC’s outdoor events space is also built with pervious surfaces and contains native plantings and two bioswales. Rainwater that travels through the plaza is cooled and filtered before flowing into storm sewers.
The Convention Center hasn’t raised its overall water consumption since Salmon-Safe first certified it six years ago.
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