The Oregon Sustainability Board
and Business Oregon honored five Oregon companies for their commitment to sustainable business practices at the Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow recently. Guess what organization grabbed the highly coveted “Leadership Award” – you guessed it – the Oregon Department of Transportation!
“This award goes to all the people in ODOT who worked so hard to make this happen,” Margi Bradway, Sustainability Program manager, told the crowd while accepting the award on behalf of the agency. “Our Maintenance crews, our Fleet team, all the employees that worked on the Transportation Building remodel, our Innovative Partnerships staff – everyone on the ODOT team – this is to recognize your leadership in creating a better ODOT and an even better Oregon.”
The award recognized innovative approaches the agency is taking including the following:
- Using biodiesel. Our Fleet and Maintenance sections meet or exceed the agency’s biodiesel use goals.
- Creating ‘first ever’ programs. ODOT was the first state agency to create a “sustainability program” and hire staff with expertise in the area. We also have several ‘firsts’ from our Office of Innovative Partnerships, such as the Solar Highway.
- Developing new, ongoing sustainability goals for the agency. It recognized our ongoing efforts to help reduce employee travel with tools such as video conferencing.
- Embracing sustainable landscaping. For example, for the remodel of the Transportation Building in Salem, efforts include using non-invasive and low maintenance plants, minimizing stormwater contaminants and harvesting rainwater for irrigation.
- Minimizing waste and increasing recycling. ODOT employees lead the way in practicing “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
- Adding practices that support a clean environment. Our Maintenance crews use sustainable practices in taking care of ODOT-owned land to protect the environment.
“This is really cool,” said ODOT Statewide Maintenance Engineer Luci Moore, whose Maintenance and Fleet teams play a significant role in ODOT’s ongoing sustainability efforts. “Our staff had to basically change the culture of the way we did things. It was a huge learning curve, and now we can be proud of the positive difference we’re making.”
In 2006, then Gov. Ted Kulongoski issued an Executive Order that established an awards program to promote and advance the use of sustainable practices in government and the private sector. This is the first time that a state agency has been chosen for the award.