A solar-powered cart barn will kick off a new era for Glendoveer Golf Course.
On the morning of April 17, Metro Council President Tom Hughes and Councilor Shirley Craddick will carry out a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new solar powered golf cart barn at Glendoveer, bringing new life to the property.
Glendoveer had once been a jewel in east Portland, a large luscious golf course enclosed by a fitness trail amid a sea of housing. It's shown signs of age in recent years, leaving the impression that Glendoveer had been passed over and forgotten.
A particular sore spot for Glendoveer was the fleet of gas powered golf carts. Justin Patterson, director of Metro parks and property stewardship, described the old gas powered fleet as loud, foul smelling, and not environmentally friendly.
"That's not really in keeping within our sustainability principles," Patterson said.
Instead of stopping at creating a fleet of electric powered golf carts, Metro went one step further with the construction of at solar powered cart barn to house and charge the carts.
This improvement was achieved through a partnership and incentive program with the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Lizzie Rubado, a solar project manager at Energy Trust of Oregon, described the benefits of planning for solar at the beginning of the design process.
"Integrating solar early on during the design of a new building is the smart way to go," Rubado said. "The solar will fit the look and feel of the building and can be optimally positioned, which produces more electricity than a system installed as an afterthought – and often for a lower cost."
Patterson describes the improvements as moving Glendoveer from behind the pack to taking the lead in sustainability.
"The unique quality of this one is the solar element where you're recapturing a lot of that energy that you need for these carts," he said.
These improvements have already caught the attention of other golf course operators, he said. The changes also benefit customer service.
“It made a lot of sense from a golf experience perspective,” Patterson said. “They generate a lot of revenue off these golf carts and users love them, so having a nice new green fleet was really important for them.”
The electric fleet and the solar powered charging barn are key improvements in a much larger revitalization plan for the property. Other planned upgrades include fixing a leaky roof, improving soil drainage, and rehabilitating the fitness trail.
All of the upgrades are projected to cost about $460,000, Patterson said, with part of that coming from a "significant" Energy Trust of Oregon solar credit.
Beyond improving the golf experience, Metro intends to enhance the community experience of Glendoveer. One example of this is the construction of a new paver patio to be placed where the old carts had been stored.
“The paver patio can host golf tournaments which has been difficult up until now because there really hasn't been lot of room to put tents and big seating events like that,” Patterson said. “You can also have community events, if someone wants to have a wedding reception, a business meeting, or a party.”
Glendoveer’s new course operator, CourseCo, has already been investing in community relations by holding neighborhood activities such as showing movies on the course at night, creating Wimbledon events during the tennis championship, hosting a trick or treat party for kids during Halloween, and organizing the upcoming Golden Easter Egg Hunt on April 20.
Patterson describes the improvements to Glendoveer as necessary for both the business and the community, “It's a very significant investment, it just shows that Metro is committed to the property, and committed to East Portland.”