Top 5 sustainable attractions in Portland for GSCE 2020

Published on: 
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Phoebe Beierle

The Center for Green Schools is excited to welcome visitors from all over the globe to Portland, Oregon, for the 10th annual Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE).

The daffodils are in bloom, and spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest. We hope you can make time to explore some of Portland’s best attractions while you’re in town for the conference. The city is well known for its environmental consciousness, top breweries, food carts, reliable public transportation and easy access to endless outdoor activities.

To orient you all the fun things going on, our host committee put together a Portland Sustainability Guide full of great vegan and vegetarian food recommendations, sustainable breweries, attractions to check out and even great tips for navigating public transportation. Not sure where to begin? Check out these top five sustainability-themed activities.

Portland Sustainability Walking Tour

This walking, running or biking tour of downtown Portland starts at the Vera Katz statue on the Eastbank Esplanade, crosses the famous Hawthorne bridge, and then weaves through downtown and continues along the Portland downtown waterfront and Springwater Trail, to complete a 3-mile loop. If you’re looking to catch some more views, hop a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram, which carries commuters between the city's South Waterfront district and the main Oregon Health and Science University campus, located in the Marquam Hill neighborhood.

Oregon Zoo Education Center

As a zero energy and biomimicry-inspired interpretive building, the education center at the zoo aims to help visitors appreciate the small, unsung heroes of the natural world. The center boasts myriad interesting features, including 760 solar panels, high-efficiency lighting and HVAC systems, bird-friendly lights and acid-etched glass, a pollinator garden, a bee hotel, and green roofs—all of which is woven into the building and exterior landscaping. If you’re interested in checking out the center in more depth, sign up for the biomimicry postconference workshop on March 4.

Tilikum Bridge Crossing in Portland, Oregon

Tilikum Bridge Crossing

The first bridge of its kind in the U.S., Tilikum Crossing carries only Portland light rail Orange Line trains, buses, streetcars, cyclists and pedestrians over the Willamette River. The lights change colors based on the Willamette River’s speed, height and water temperature. The bridge provides an amazing view of downtown Portland, south Portland and the Portland West Hills. In addition, it often showcases Portland wildlife, including otters,  sea lions, peregrine falcons and many other local birds. Tilikum is a Chinook Jargon word meaning "people, tribe, or family," and the name is intended to honor the Multnomah, Cascade, Clackamas and other Chinookan peoples who lived in the area as much as 14,000 years ago.


SCRAP PDX is a nonprofit, craft thrift store with a mission to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community. SCRAP collects discarded materials from the public that can be reused and given new life. Check out their store, where you can make your own creations, or take part in their mural-making project at GSCE. 

ReBuilding Center

The ReBuilding Center is an eco-friendly vendor specializing in selling used, reclaimed and salvaged materials for home projects. The center works to make reuse the norm, provide access to affordable building materials, teach home repair and building skills, and divert over 1,800 tons of salvaged material from the landfill per year.

Download the Portland Sustainability Guide