Country Home magazine has put out their second annual Best Green Places list. They “analyzed hundreds of cities on key points, such as official energy policies, green power, green buildings, and the availability of fresh, locally grown food.”

Very interesting: Out of 379 cities, Corvallis is #1, Portland-Vanco-Beaverton is #2, Eugene Springfield is #6, Bend is #9 and Salem is #16. Many other “Cascadia” cities are also high up. That should make us appreciate all the more our little corner of the continent.

A comparison of last year’s list has me wondering if “locally grown food” is a new consideration. How else explain that Salem jumped from #54 in 2007, and that Burlington VT dropped from #1 to #36 and Ithaca NY dropped from #2 to #68?

There are a number of things going on in and around Salem that should be considered substantial efforts toward sustainability. For instance:

  • There is the work to protect the watershed that provides our excellent quality water.
  • We have Marion County ranking highest in Oregon recycling efforts.
  • I think making the downtown area vibrant, especially the new downtown housing, will help to keep the city compact, although, let’s face it, even with the urban growth boundary it’s a sprawling city. It seems like the City and business leaders and citizens work together to make this happen.
  • Buying the train bridge to turn it into a pedestrian bridge, the other planned footbridge, expansion of Minto-Brown Park—this will create a fantastic network of bike and pedestrian trails.

There’s a lot more that can be done and hopefully Pringle Creek Community will serve as a model and an inspiration.