The Oregon Convention Center received the 2014 Green Award at Travel Portland’s 35th Annual Tourism & Hospitality Industry Awards Celebration. The Green Award is given by Travel Portland to a local individual or association whose environmentally friendly business practices have enhanced Oregon's quality of life.
"I'm very proud of our staff," says Scott Cruickshank, executive director of the Convention Center. "This is about our commitment towards green efforts over many, many years. But what makes this particularly special is that the Convention Center was honored by industry peers – our friends and business partners with whom we work every day to bring visitors and tourists to Portland. That has significance to us."
Travel Portland president and CEO Jeff Miller praised the Convention Center’s unwavering pursuit of green building practices over the past decade, citing the building’s 2004 LEED certification, its 2008 LEED Silver status, and the achievement of Platinum certification earlier this year – the pinnacle of the LEED green building rating system.
"A longtime champion and leader in sustainability, the Oregon Convention Center has never rested easy," Miller says. "Its commitment to sustainability and excellence makes Portland a more desirable meetings destination as well as a better place for local residents to live. We cannot wait to see what the Convention Center does next."
LEED is the green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that helps the worldwide building industry operate in more environmentally responsible ways. What makes the Convention Center’s LEED accomplishments stand out is that the Convention Center campus was constructed in 1990, several years before green building became a movement that is commonly embraced today.
Owned and operated by Metro, the regional government that promotes sustainable and environmental stewardship across the Portland metropolitan area, the Oregon Convention Center is the largest of its kind in the Northwest. It has more than one million square feet of space and operates 24 hours a day.
The Green Award from Travel Portland was announced Tuesday morning at a breakfast gathering attended by tourism executives, partners and businesses. Besides the Green Award to the Convention Center, several other awards were also given out by Travel Portland to different individuals and businesses for their contributions to Portland’s visitor and tourism industry.
Matthew Uchtman, the Convention Center's director of operations, says receiving an honor from a group of industry peers is "a nice validation of what we've done and where we've come from to get there."
It also highlights the Convention Center’s ambitions for the future, according to Erin Rowland, the Convention Center’s sustainability coordinator. Those ambitions include continued building retrofits and upgrades that will enhance the Convention Center’s efficiency as well as the pursuit of a new certification awarded by the Green Meeting Industry Council.
But perhaps the Convention Center’s biggest push, will be in the area of staff training.
"Convention Center staff has exhibited extraordinary openness and curiosity about sustainability practices, but there’s always room for improvement," Rowland says. "We will try to focus on deeper employee training and expanding employee knowledge. Change is hard, but we’ve shown that we can do it."