• Portland Hostel Hawthorne District
  • Sustainable Options
  • Recycling Containers
  • Green Marketing
  • Reuse Options
  • Parking Lot Gardens

Eco-Friendly Guide to Portland, OR

It’s not hard to be an eco-friendly traveler when your destination is Portland, Oregon. As one of the top sustainable cities in the country, its green hospitality is simply part of the fabric of daily life. But for this rural Wisconsin traveler, it was nice to see and note just how much Portland and its businesses care about ‘green.’

Where to Stay

Portland Hostel Hawthorne District

If you’re looking for a unique green experience, try staying at the hostel in the Hawthorne District. With the communal living environment, a hostel is already leaning towards the sustainable stay option. But this hostel takes it a couple of steps further, with a 1909 renovated building that boasts a green roof, a rainwater demonstration project that diverts surplus rain water through the toilets, on-site composting and 85% of their waste recycled.

Jupiter Hotel

If you’re someone who prefers the hotel experience, check out the Jupiter Hotel; a renovated motor inn turned into a boutique hotel. Though they might not advertise their sustainability features, you can see them the moment you check-in. The hip décor includes a bamboo laden courtyard, filled with natural sunlight and a wide variety of other plants. Guest rooms include a well-marked towel and bed sheet reuse program, along with Eco-Option bathroom amenities featuring a unique soap design; a strategically placed hole in the middle that helps to eliminate wasted, excess soap.

And don’t forget about location! The Jupiter Hotel is located on Burnside which divides the city north and south, putting you in the center of everything with close proximity to public transit or walking distance to all prime tourist locations.

Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station

When in doubt, Aloft Hotels are always a safe bet for eco-friendly hotel options. This one in Portland has a prime location near the airport and is Green Seal Silver certified. It features in-shower product dispensers, cork and sustainable wood veneers, and parking for your electric car. Besides towel/sheet reuse programs, they also offer several reward, voucher and green initiative programs for their guests.

Eat & Drink

Where to begin… Just about any eating establishment you see advertises the use of locally grown produce, as well as local beer and wine. And many places, especially in the downtown are rocking that industrial upcycle style. To name a few above the others is just plan hard, but I’ll try.

Tasty n Alder

I love family style restaurants, and this place does not disappoint for brunch or dinner. (Yes – I went twice!) Evidence of the old parking structure signage can still be seen on the wall where their sustainable finishes didn’t quite cover. The atmosphere of sharing plates not only adds to the dining experience, but cuts down on wasted leftovers and the associated ‘to-go-box’ waste.

Wood Fired Ash Pizza

Don’t miss a chance to grab a food truck meal. If the restaurant choices were daunting, the food truck scene is even worst. The trucks come in all different shapes and sizes, and in various states of remodel. But when you see the word ‘wood fired pizza’ on a food truck sign, you know you’re in for a treat; and don’t expect your typical cheese and sauce option. It’s nothing but locally grown ingredients and what’s in season.

Rimsky-Korsokoffee Coffee

For desert, stop by Rimsky-Korsokoffee Coffee shop. It’s a dark house next to a Plaid Pantry (12th & Alder; there is no sign, so just walk in) that serves coffee and dessert in a former craftsman-style living room. Some might call it odd, a bit haunted or just weird. But what some might consider weird décor, is just simply repurposed items that have been left and reused throughout the years.

To Do

4T Trail

Get to see and experience Portland by trail, tram, trolley (aka streetcar) and train. This well-marked trail around the city takes you to the highest point in Portland, through wooden trails, between different neighborhoods, and to the top of the OHSU campus – where you get to ride the Aerial Tram down to the heart of Portland. There you can decide if you want to add treats and thrift stores to make it the 6T.


You’ll find stores in every shape, size and color, selling antiques (recycled furniture and décor) to vintage clothing (reuse clothing store). One of the highlights was walking into the Keen Garage. From the upcycle décor, to the fact that the company only used one dumpster for the whole building renovation project – it was inspiring. Keen is the perfect example of a company, taking the time to care about their impact on the environment.

Bike Tours

Whenever I travel to a city, I always like to take one day and explore the area just outside. This usually requires a car. And with the abundance of waterfall national parks just an hour outside of the city, it was a must do. Even better, I found a great company that offered the opportunity to do it on bike. (Note to self: make next trip Hawaii, so I can try their tours there!)

Don’t forget that biking is a great way to see the city, too. Most Portland hotels provide on-site bikes for their guests, which is probably one reason why they are ranked Platinum-level for being a Bicycle-Friendly community.

Paperless Public Transit

When your feet get tired walking from urban brewery, to restaurant, to urban winery – you can hitch a ride on one of the city’s many public transit options. Portland provides an additional green option with the ability to go paperless for buses, MAX light rail and streetcar tickets, by using the TriMet Ticket mobile AP; lets you purchase tickets and passes for instant use via your phone. Extremely easy to use; you can do it while waiting for your next vehicle, or onboard while waiting for your next stop.

To add to the many reasons to visit Portland, it was recently named a Sustainable City and the winner of the 2014 City Climate Leadership Award for Sustainable Communities; an international recognition of cities around the world, who are making an environmental difference.

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Brooke Rogers

Graphic Designer at GreenLeaf Media Group
Brooke Rogers has a background in graphic design and lends her skills and insight to a variety of companies with an emphasis in sustainable practices and alternative eco-conscious services.

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