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Sustainability becomes hot topic in design

Workshops, lectures focus on 'green' ways to develop the city

Anybody left wondering what this sustainability mumbo-jumbo is all about will have plenty of opportunities to learn more in 2005.

Among the sustainability gurus scheduled to speak in Portland at coming events are ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, naturalist poet Gary Snyder and an assortment of architects, engineers and builders who are calling for a rethinking of commercial and residential design.

Here's a rundown of just some of the upcoming lectures and events focusing on sustainability:

• 'How Cities Learn: Portland's Place on Earth' is a lecture series sponsored by local environmental policy nonprofit group Illahee. The first speaker, landscape historian William Cronon, will speak at 7:30 tonight at the First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave. Other speakers will include 'visionary iconoclast' Stewart Brand, author Lucy Lippard, planning critic Jane Holtz Kay, environmental writer Bill McKibben and Snyder. Go online to www.illahee.org or call 503-222-2719 for more information.

• 'The Natural Step Framework' is a guide to help companies, governments and institutions become more sustainable. Local companies embracing this program include Nike Inc., Norm Thompson and Rejuvenation Inc. Workshop leader Duke Castle of the Oregon Natural Step Network will lead an intensive one-day workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the offices of the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt law firm, 1211 S.W. Fifth Ave. Go online to www.ortns.org/ events.asp.

• 'Rethink 2005' is a green building education program organized by the city's Office of Sustainable Development. The program will kick off with a lecture by David Orr of Oberlin College titled 'Designing a World that Works,' 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 25 in Portland State University's Smith Ballroom at 1825 S.W. Broadway. Call 503-823-7725 or go online to www.green-rated.org for more information.

• Cousteau, son of the famed explorer Jacques Cousteau and founder of the Ocean Futures Society, will speak at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 in Portland State University's Smith Ballroom, 1825 S.W. Broadway.

• The City Club of Portland's Business & Technology Committee has announced that it will focus on sustainable business practices in 2005. The group meets from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the City Club Commons, 901 S.W. Washington St.

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