Tour of Moda Center links hundreds of businesses from across the Portland Metro region

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - A tour of the Moda Center in Portland brought together sustainable businesses from around the region in an effort to brainstorm more ways to be green.Green businesses from across the region came together at the Moda Center in Portland on Wednesday morning, March 28, to network and discuss sustainability in the workplace.

The environmentally focused event was the largest of its kind in the metro area, and allowed different groups to break down silos and hear what other practices are being implemented. Attendees got to go on a tour of the Moda Center to see how the basketball and concert arena staff is stepping up sustainability efforts, and hear about innovations from the Port of Portland.

"We wanted a space for everyone to come together," said Gregg Hayward, Gresham's business sustainability coordinator. "The hope is everyone will leave here today with new connections and ideas."

The event was organized by Portland's Sustainability at Work, Gresham Resource Efficiency Assistance to (GREAT) Businesses program, Washington County's Green Business Leaders, Clark County's Green Business, the city of Beaverton and Clackamas County Leaders in Sustainability.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Moda Centers Sustainability Operations Manager Keoki Kakigi, right, gives a tour of the waste-sorting room. At the event 140 people represented many types of businesses including food service and manufacturing, hospitality, education, nonprofit groups, health and fitness, entertainment, property management, government, tech, manufacturing and finance. Many were certified "green" through their respective cities. Gresham's GREAT program has 75 certified businesses, while regionally there are more than 800.

"The ideas they can share with one another are valuable because it's more meaningful to hear from peers than a city employee," Hayward said.

During the tour, Moda Center staff showed off some of the facility's sustainable features, such as LED lighting, custom waste stations, energy-efficient hand dryers, carpet squares to facilitate better cleaning and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

While people were excited to step onto the basketball court and visit the Portland Trail Blazers locker room, they also got excited about the post-game waste sorting room.

From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. after Blazers games, a team of volunteers hand-sort through the more than 10,000 pounds of trash that is accumulated.

"They make sure that everything goes where it's needed," said Keoki Kakigi, Moda Center's sustainability operations manager.

After the tour Lisa Appel, the environmental outreach manager for the Port of Portland, shared some of the practices being done at their many properties, including wastewater treatment systems, porous pavement and a comprehensive recycling and composting program.

The organizing groups behind the event hope to see it replicated in the future.

"We would love to keep doing this, because businesses don't always get to connect," said Sanne Stienstra, Washington County's green business coordinator. "Anybody can become more sustainable."

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