Sustainable development is a key principle for the City of Hillsboro, Oregon. City leaders have made sustainability a high priority and that commitment has resulted in benefits to both City operations and the community. Hiring a Sustainability Project Manager in 2008 helped the City coordinate their efforts across departments and move forward with sustainability planning in the community. Three principles, Economic Viability, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Stewardship, guide the city through their sustainability movement.
Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is just one of their programs that has been a success. The City has installed 35 electric vehicle charging stations and now has the first Level III Blink DC Fast electric vehicle charger in Washington County. The electric vehicle charging stations are located at City facilities across the City and provide resident and visitor EV drivers a place to “charge up” as well as a reason to visit Hillsboro and their restaurants and businesses. Hillsboro’s leadership in electric vehicle infrastructure is helping to spur other cities to develop plans of their own.
Another impressive accomplishment is Hillsboro’s leadership in green building in Oregon. In 2005, the City completed the new Hillsboro Civic Center, which earned LEED Gold certification, only the second municipal building in the U.S. at the time to achieve LEED Gold certification. A total of 15 buildings in Hillsboro are now certified under the LEED system. The Intermodal Transit Facility is a featured case study on the Sustainable Cities Institute website and is a fantastic green building example. Built in 2010 next to a light rail station, the Intermodal Transit Facility includes car parking, electric vehicle charging stations, and an innovative Bike Park facility. This bike facility was the first bicycle commuter station in the Portland Metro region built to promote commuter bicycling. It includes 40 bicycle hooks, lockers, showers, restrooms, and even a bicycle service area with tools. The facility was built with federal grant funds, a State Lottery-backed bonds grant, Energy Trust of Oregon incentives, Oregon Business Energy Tax Credits (BETC), contributions from the City of Hillsboro and Pacific University, and land and cash from Tuality Healthcare, a local hospital. Other key sustainable building design features include a permeable concrete alleyway, bioswale, LED lighting, and a 60kW solar array produced by SolarWorld, a local solar panel manufacturer.
The City of Hillsboro website
includes an entire section dedicated to sustainability and allows users to browse different sections of the city’s efforts. Other city efforts include LED traffic signals, energy efficiency retrofits, comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and developing solar energy opportunities. “The City of Hillsboro envisions a sustainable future, in which the City responsibly satisfies the needs of its citizens, provides a healthy and satisfying work environment for its employees and minimizes its impact on the physical environment of the community”, and they are well on their way to achieving that future and additionally providing excellent guidance for other cities.
City of Hillsboro Website
Intermodal Transit Facility Case Study - Sustainable Cities Institute