Sustainability Projects

Upcoming Events




Get There Challenge, October 5-18, 2020

The Get There Challenge, sponsored by Get There Oregon, is an opportunity for commuters and teleworkers alike to reflect and learn about how their commmutes impact the world around us, as well as share how their commutes are making a difference.

We’ve made some changes this year to the Get There Challenge to reflect these crazy times. New this year, Challenge participants can unlock achievements in the Get There tool to earn points toward entry into weekly and grand prize drawings.

Achievements include fun activities and skill builders (many that can be done from home), in addition to logging remote-work days and trips made by foot, bike, transit, carpool and/or vanpool. The more points you earn, the greater your chances are to win a prize!

You could win:

  • $500 Visa Cash Card Grand Prize
  • $100 Oregon E-bikes Gift Card
  • $100 Black Star Bag Gift Card
  • $50 Fred Meyer Gift Card
  • $25 Dutch Bros Gift Card
  • $25 Café Yumm Gift Card
  • Hydro Flask water bottle
  • Gear from Showers Pass
  • And more!

To get started:

  • Sign up or log in at
  • Complete as many achievements as possible from Oct. 5-18.
  • Earn 10 or more points each week to be automatically entered into weekly prize drawings.
  • Earn 20 or more points by the end of the Challenge to be automatically entered into the grand prize drawing.

You must live or work in Oregon to qualify.

Quick Navigation for Past Events:

Giving in Kindness

Oregon Food Bank Food Drive through November 30, 2019

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 16-24 (more info at Washington County in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank will be collecting food and cash donations for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness. Bins will be located throughout the County November 1st through 30th. In addition to food donations, anyone can make a monetary donation at

Tree of Giving and Severe Weather Shelter Collection through December 13, 2019

For more than 30 years, Washington County employees have given generously to both the foster community and the homeless community via the Tree of Giving collection event. The collection day for both the gifts and the emergency shelter donations is scheduled for Friday, December 13th from 8 am to 10 am. The Tree of Giving event will, once again, be held in the lobby of the Public Services Building. Employees may contact Sustainability  for further information.

United Way MLK Day of Service

United Way’s local HandsOn organization hosts several days of community service opportunities throughout the Metro region in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. January 17-20, 2020. But you have to sign up early because this popular service opportunity fills fast! In previous years, opportunities were announced just after the Thanksgiving holiday on the website – starting December 2, check the main HandsOn webpage for a link directly to 2020 UW MLK Weekend of Service information, or search their calendar  for specific opportunities. Events in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tualatin and Tigard have included beautifying & improving neighborhood schools, building homes & organizing the stores with Habitat for Humanity, packing food at Oregon Food Bank, sprucing up the libraries, tree plantings, sewing blankets for foster children, and much more.

Washington County Project Homeless Connect, Friday January 24, 2020 Sonrise Church

Each year, Washington County also supports the January date of Project Homeless Connect. On a daily basis, shelters and organizations throughout the Portland region provide temporary shelter and meals to Oregonians facing homelessness. However, many homeless individuals and families go without other vital services – like medical and dental care, counseling, housing guidance, or veteran’s services. The annual Project Homeless Connect brings together professional and community volunteers to provide services and support to hundreds of our most vulnerable neighbors. Volunteers will help in a variety of ways – with client support, assistance, and intake; food preparation and serving; leading and assisting activities; and more. Sign up will be coordinated 4 weeks before the event date through HandsOn Portland. You can contact Project Homeless Connect now by email and ask to be notified when volunteer signups are permitted.

Get There Challenge

The Get There Challenge lets you win prizes and recognition for making any of your trips—whether it’s your daily commute or a simple errand—without driving alone. We had an excellent challenge in October 2019, but did you know that Get There can simplify your daily trips year round? Spend less on gas. Get more time to relax. All on your terms. Get There is available for all members of the public to join at any time.


EcoChallenge Team: Plastic "Free" July Success


Each year, employees work together to build sustainability muscle and make a collective impact in the EcoChallenge. The 2019 team participated in Plastic Free July, winning great prizes and cutting back on single use plastics. Here’s a snapshot of our success… if we keep these new habits year-round, we’ve reduced consumption of single use plastics by 6,960 pieces a year!

 Image of the results which were 210 plastic containers, 175 pieces of plastic cutlery, 105 plastic straws,  and 90 plastic bottles avoided in one month.


Bike Month Successes

In 2020, we hosted a Bike Month BINGO challenge! Download this checkable BINGO card that includes virtual bike-related actions, education and solo activities. County employees were eligible to complete 5 in a row and enter to win a prize by sending their card to Sustainability.

In 2019, Washington County had 70 employees on the Bike More Challenge team, including 25 new members this year. They logged 6,935 miles riding bikes in May. The team finished in 7th place in our category, ahead of Hillsboro in 8th place, and behind Metro in 6th place. This year we joined with Hillsboro to hold 3 educational events drawing 70 people and 4 rides which drew 40 people! Together, Hillsboro and Washington County riders logged 13,819 miles, which is equivalent almost 5 trips across the US!

Nearly every department was represented on the team this year, including growing numbers in Support Services and the Sheriff’s Office. With the “every ride counts” format, 42% were for fun, fitness, or transportation elsewhere and 58% were commutes.  Thank you to all who came to our events, logged your rides and cheered on our team!



Community Warehouse Drive Success

2019 Results

Community Warehouse DriveNinth CWD photoCommunity Warehouse DriveCommunity Warehouse DriveCommunity Warehouse Drive

During the March 4-15, 2019 drive, Washington County filled the truck! Bringing in approximately 800 items, employees volunteering their time and donating their items hosted a wildly successful drive. In fact...

“Your collection drive was by far the LARGEST and MOST SUCCESSFUL that we have ever seen. WAY TO GO!!” – Veronica Booth, Community Warehouse

Community Warehouse DriveFirst CWD photoCommunity Warehouse Drive

Green Bag Series

Bring your lunch and join us for these Green Bag Lunch Series workshops!

Co-hosted by Washington County & City of Hillsboro. Open to employees and the public unless otherwise noted. Please be sure to rsvp to no later than 7 days before the event if you’d like to join us. Doors open at noon, presentation begins at 12:10 and will end by 12:50 pm. Have a burning sustainability question or idea for a future class? Please e-mail !

Past Green Bag Events


Holiday Green Bag: Upcycled Holiday Crafts

Thursday December 19 from noon-1pm. You can see demonstrations and try your hand at a few different upcycling projects: Make durable napkins as gifts; Craft your own wrapping paper from grocery bags or make small gift boxes from toilet paper rolls; Paint pinecones as holiday décor and ornaments.


Energy Efficient Affordable Housing

Adam Alfonso, Willamette West Habitat for Humanity

August 20, 12:10-12:50

Co-sponsored by Washington County Department of Housing and Department of Community Development


Bring Your Own Mug!

Brion Hurley, Recycling Advocates

September 25, 12:10-12:50 pm 


Build it and they will come: Tips to creating a wildlife friendly yard

Briita Pajunas, Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District



GROW Steady: Planting Sustainable

Eli Bonilla & Arbor Fessler from Clean Water Services  

Download the presentation and check out these additional resources:

Clean Water Services

Community Resources: In Your Yard

Drainage 411

Stream Care Guide (PDF, 2.7MB)

Nature-Friendly Home & Yard Care Brochure (PDF, 2.6MB)

Native Plant Sales



Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards

Tualatin SWCD

Weed Watchers

East Multnomah SWCD

Local Sources for Native Plants


Supporting Community Social Justice and Economic Equity... Together –A Panel Discussion

Presenters included Katherine Galian, Community Action; Nancy Milligan-Mock, Washington County HHS Developmental Disabilities; Maggie Riley, Craft3.

Katherine's presentation; Nancy's presentation; Maggie's presentation

Drive It and Drop It!; Presented by Alan Bates, ReachNow


Electric Vehicles –Great at Work, Great at Home;  presented by Catherine Teebay, Forth

Information about the electric vehicles in the Fleet; Information about the Forth EV showroom and test drives; Presentation

Urban Cycling Clinic; presented by The Street Trust

Information for bicycle riders at Washington County; Information about the Bike Fleet (under Active and Sustainable Transportation)

Make Your Own Green Cleaners; presented by Nancy Nordman, Master Recycler

Video recording; PresentationInformation from Metro on making Green Cleaners

Eat Smart, Waste Less; presented by Isabella Barcelona, Solid Waste and Recycling

Good and Cheap free cookbook online

Naturescaping 101; presented by April Olbrich, Tualatin River Watershed Council

PresentationNaturescaping information from Tualatin SWCD; Clean Water Heroes information from Clean Water Services; Naturescaping information from ODFW

Reuse in Home Décor; presented by Rena Satre-Meloy, Community Warehouse

Tips for buying used furniture

Green and Healthy Lunches; presented by Amanda Nelson, New Seasons

Tips for packing a more sustainable lunchWaste TipsTips for Reducing Lunch WastePack a Power LunchLunch Box LoveFood Waste Toolkit for the OfficeFood Waste Infographic

Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Home; presented by Jen Coleman, Oregon Environmental Council

Toxic free environments information; Healthy Homes Kit

Getting to One Can; presented by Betty Shelley

(This Green Bag was postponed and in its place, a presentation on recycling was given by Tony Hair, Solid Waste and Recycling)

Future Less is More Classes; Washington County What to Recycle and Where (searchable database); Metro Find a Recycler (searchable database)


Kick the Can Employee Challenge

Sustainability hosted successful challenges for employees with deskside garbage cans to give them up for at least two weeks during the winter in 2018 and 2020. Based on an Employee Suggestion, the goal is to raise awareness of garbage generation and encourage employees to leave their desks to toss out trash.

Did you miss the event? It's never to late to take this challenge! You can still earn a commemorative magnet at any time.


This challenge will:

  • Improve your awareness of waste generation.
  • Help you reduce how much garbage you produce. 
  • Help promote employee wellness by encouraging staff to leave their desk to throw out waste.
  • Reduce of the purchase and use of trash can liners.
  • Increase recycling rates.
  • Help us meet the County goal of reducing garbage by 25%.

If you've already given up your can, you are doing your part. Thanks!

This project was tested with a small group of employees in fall 2017. We learned that keeping a small washable cup or container on the desktop for waste helped with daily accumulations. Many found they enjoyed the extra movement during the day to go to the trash can. All participants reported that their garbage amount dropped or stayed the same –none increased.


Contact us at and sign up to start the challenge any time. (You can take the challenge any two weeks you choose.)

Just include your name, department/division, and your mailstop number.

You'll be asked to give up your deskside can for two weeks after taking a short survey. At the end of the two weeks, you'll take a similar survey to share anything that has changed for you, and you will have the opportunity to take your can back. You will receive a commemorative magnet as our thanks for participating!

World Social Justice Day Event

World Social Justice Day: Advancing Diversity in Environmental Careers panel

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Sustainability Program is pleased to facilitate this event for County employees and members of the public. County employees may live stream this event from their desks.

Join the Sustainability Program and guest speakers for this professional development opportunity as we continue to explore the connections between social and economic factors and the environment. We will learn how local non-profits are taking creative and innovative steps to help people of color and those of lower income barriers enter the environmental sector, where they are underrepresented.

Eva Aguilar, Washington County - Master Recyclers of Color
Dana Schot, Tualatin Riverkeepers - Green Jobs Training Program
Teresa Gaddy, EcoTrust - Green Workforce Academy
Laura Kutner, Trash for Peace - GroundScore

Earth Day Proclamation

On April 21, 2020, the Board of County COmmissioners proclaimed April 22, 2020 to be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. See the Proclamation and presentation archived online.