Portland State University Designated "Salmon-Safe"

An organization that recognizes businesses and farms for environmentally sustainable practices has certified Portland State University (PSU) as the nation’s first “Salmon-Safe” university campus. The Salmon-Safe organization certifies ecologically sustainable land management practices that protect agricultural and urban watersheds so that native salmon can spawn and thrive.

In November 2005, a team of experts in salmon habitat and restoration, integrated pest management, and stormwater treatment met with University officials to assess Portland State’s policies and practices. While PSU initially met many of the standards, recommendations included the development of a water conservation plan and improved irrigation system, transitioning from “high-risk” and synthetic fertilizers, and continued progress toward meeting its storm water management plan objectives.

“This certification recognizes our desire to support sustainable development and practices on this campus, both in the classroom and in facilities operations, and to continue our work as a national leader in sustainability,” said Dresden Skees-Gregory, facilities sustainability coordinator at PSU.

PSU President Dan Bernstine, Provost Roy Koch, and Oregon Sen. Ginny Burdick helped celebrate PSU’s “Salmon-Safe” status at a ceremony and reception earlier this month in the courtyard of one of PSU’s green buildings, Epler Hall.

Portland State’s commitment to sustainable practices includes campus operations management, the construction of two LEED-rated buildings with one more planned, integrating sustainability into existing master’s and doctoral degree programs, and offering professional and graduate certificate programs in sustainability and sustainable urban development. PSU is home to the Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices, which supports cross-disciplinary research and community projects, and also supports a number of international projects in countries such as China and Vietnam.

Corporate campus certification is the latest offering from Portland-based Salmon-Safe, which has been certifying agricultural and urban land since 1996 as a powerful means to encourage management practices that protect and restore salmon habitat. Nike’s 175-acre world headquarters campus became Salmon-Safe certified last year, Kettle Foods 7-acre Salem campus was awarded certification in May, and in July Toyota Logistics Services’ Vehicle Distribution Center, an 86-acre property that borders the Willamette River at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 4, became the first Salmon-Safe industrial site.