All of Oregon is becoming greener

In June, Portland State started a community program, called “Look Up and See Green,” aimed at making Portland greener.

In June, Portland State started a community program, called “Look Up and See Green,” aimed at making Portland greener. This program is making an impact on campus and, earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Justice enacted sustainability measures that will impact the whole state.

On Oct. 8, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger announced new sustainability measures within the Oregon Department of Justice, marking the first phase of a multi-stage sustainability program.

The measures are aimed at increasing the use of energy-efficient vehicles, green-certified cleaning supplies, double-sided printing for documents and promoting recycling. In addition to promoting sustainability, the adopted measures are also intended to save the department money at a time of reduced state budgets.

Although Oregon has some of the most innovative environmental protection laws, the state is still facing serious environmental challenges.

“State government must become a model of responsible conduct toward the environment,” Kroger said. “These new green measures will take us in the right direction.”

The measures will be enforced statewide in all Department of Justice facilities. The Oregon DOJ is estimated to have more than 1,200 employees, which includes around 300 lawyers in 24 different office buildings.

Among the goals of these new practices is reducing the department’s energy use and global warming emissions, use of paper and the amount of garbage it produces while increasing recycling, energy conservation and promoting alternative transportation.

These sustainability policies were developed with the help of volunteer employees working as the Oregon DOJ’s Sustainability Committee.

By implementing new strategies like double-sided printing and fuel-efficient cars, it helps the environment and also proves to be good economically.

“I am committed to seeing the Department of Justice play an active role in environmental laws that protect our water, air and land,” Kroger said. “But we also have a responsibility to set a strong example through our own practices.”

Senior Assistant Attorney Generals Sheen Wu and Shannon O’Fallon, co-chairs of the Oregon DOJ Sustainability Committee, agree.

“These measures are our first major step, but they will really help set the stage for continuing to identify ways we can more sustainably represent the State of Oregon and our client agencies,” Wu and O’Fallon said in the Oct. 8 Oregon DOJ press release.

According to the new sustainability measures, future vehicles in the Oregon DOJ fleet should have a rated fuel efficiency of 45 mpg or greater. The State of Oregon already has a Low Emission Vehicle (commonly called LEV) program in place, and its rules are identical to those of California. These efforts would decrease ground-level ozone, promote zero emission and reduce greenhouse gases.

In-house efforts to supplement the above policy would include future printers in all Oregon DOJ establishments that will have double-sided printing capabilities. This will have the dual benefit of reducing paper cost and consumption.

All Oregon DOJ buildings will have comprehensive recycling centers in them, so as to increase recycling of waste. The measures also include adopting a policy for the use of green-certified cleaning supplies that protect the health of workers and cleaning staff.

“This is an ideal opportunity to both decrease our environmental footprint and decrease the amount of money we spend on everything from electricity and natural gas to paper and gasoline,” Kroger said. “I intend to help make Oregon the nationwide leader in environmental protection.”