Sustainable measures were incorporated into construction activities and were integrated into the overall design of New Columbia.

Recycling During Demolition

As Columbia Villa was torn down, materials were salvaged and recycled as much as possible. Local house-moving companies purchased 23 duplex buildings and moved them offsite. Two four-unit buildings were decontructed, and every component (except plaster and insulation) were salvaged for resale. Demolition contractors salvaged and recycled 82 percent of the building materials onsite. One hundred percent of the concrete and asphalt rubble was ground into gravel-sized pieces and reused onsite as road base and structural fill.

Sustainable Stormwater

A sustainable stormwater management system retains 98 percent of stormwater onsite, treating and infiltrating water into the ground, avoiding piping overflows into local waterways. The system includes 101 pocket swales (or as residents call them, “rain gardens”), 31 flow-through planter boxes, and 40 public infiltration dry wells.

New Columbia Community Builders took this to another level, by leading a campaign called “Adopt a Rain Garden.” With 101 rain gardens on site, residents are able to sign up to adopt a rain garden that is located in front of their home. Residents get to name the garden, learn how the rain gardens function, how to maintain it and why it is important to keep them healthy. Residents can sign up in the Community Building Office, or pick up a form when they are at the monthly community town hall meeting. Over 30 residents who have adopted rain gardens attended an intensive educational training on the function and importance of rain gardens which included a hands-on workshop in one of New Columbia’s rain gardens. This training was created by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. New Columbia is proud to pilot the training program that will be utilized in the City of Portland’s Green Streets Program (a program that will educate community members about rain gardens in their neighborhood after 1,500 new rain gardens are installed in the Portland Metro Area within the next five years).

Youth attended a youth-friendly version of a rain garden educational workshop and had other opportunities to learn about these sustainable features throughout the summer. Youth participated in a full afternoon of activities in one of the Pocket Parks when urban planning graduate students from PSU organized rain garden themed activities.

Check out the photos from the Adopt a Rain Garden Workshop and Appreciation Party and from the Pocket Park event sponsored by Portland State University’s Urban Planning Graduate Students

Tree Preservation

Over half of the 430 trees at New Columbia were preserved, many with diameters greater than 48 inches. The trees that could not be saved onsite were donated to streambed restoration projects or relocated to McCoy Park. A street realignment was discarded in order to save the biggest tree on the site- a silver maple with a breast-high diameter of 64 inches. In addition to their beauty, mature trees reduce stormwater runoff, lower ground and air temperatures, provide shade, improve air quality, and provide protection from the wind.

LEED Certified Buildings

The two mixed-use buildings on Main Street on Trenton are the first two HOPE VI redevelopments to achieve LEED certification. These buildings house spaces like the Community Education Center: a large space that can  be rented by businesses and community groups that need space for meetings, orientations or retreats.  This room holds up to 80 people and includes large work tables best utilized for conferences and work groups in addition to a projector that is perfect for powerpoint presentations or film screenings. Keeping with the mission of building community together, New Columbia does not charge groups for utilization of the space but will offer opportunities for involvement through various projects. This could be sponsoring a summer concert in our McCoy Park Summer Concert Series, or providing gifts for a family in need during the holidays.

Also included in these buildings are the Fountain Room (a room for residents to utilize for birthday parties and celebrations), the Opportunity Center, which is a space that includes a career center, Positive Youth Development programs, Evening Trade Apprenticeship Programs, PCC, WorkSouce Metro, and two classrooms that have regularly scheduled programs including naturopathic clinics and English as a Second Language.

In addition to these two buildings Rosa Parks School is also LEED certified. Rosa Parks School is part of the New Columbia Community Campus. The planning, design and development of Rosa Parks can be found in the Community Campus section of the website.

Additional Sustainable Measures

Other sustainable measures include the use of building an landscaping materials that reduce consumption; water and energy conservation measures; solar water and heating equipment for two town-houses, which will collect data for future projects; and solar preheating of water in the two mixed-use buildings on Trenton.