The residents of Portland, Oregon have been longtime proponents of the “DYI” or “do it yourself” philosophy which adheres to the idea of making things rather than buying them. Recycling, reusing, bike riding, and other eco-friendly activities and endeavors also fit nicely into this self-reliant, no waste creed and have helped this northwestern city become recognized as the most eco-friendly or greenest city in the United States of America.
This is one community that has made efforts to live in a more sustainable fashion and is a model for the future. For example, half of the city’s power needs come from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, more people ride their bikes to work in Portland than in any other American city, and it has over 30 buildings that have been certified as “green” by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Portland should also win a prize for the support it has shown to people who opt for using their bicycles to get around town. The bike-friendly services and facilities that the city provides earn it one of the highest rankings of bike-friendly cities in the world and the homegrown Bicycle Transportation Alliance doles out prizes to commuters who bike the most often and farthest to their places of work.
The city is also literally quite green when one takes into consideration the large number of parks found within its borders. In addition to thousands of acres of development-free green space occurring in ecologically sensitive areas that have been purchased by the city, there are such parks as the Mills End (which being a circle just two feet in diameter is the world’s smallest), the much larger and beautiful Tom McCall Waterfront Park found along the Willamette River in downtown Portland, and the Tryon Creek State Natural Area (which features a creek still used by Steelhead Trout).
Perhaps the greenest way to explore Portland is with your own two feet. Here is a good book you can get from Amazon that looks at 20 explorations on foot in the Portland area.