April 2022 * No 9

In Memory of Charles L. Baldwin

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our friend and organizational pillar, Charles Lockwood Baldwin. Charles blessed the community of Silverton with his deep intellect, keen insight, and spirit of service. He was most proud to talk about the work he did for a school for special needs children. When he moved to Silverton, he applied his organizational and legislative experience to so many wonderful causes and organizations, founding the Friends of Eastside Trails group to improve the bicycle and pedestrian network in Silverton. He co-founded Sustainable Silverton in 2016 and guided the organization in its form and strategy. Charles was honored in 2021 for his Civic Engagement by receiving the 50th Mayor's Award. All of us who were blessed to work with Charles through Sustainable Silverton will miss his tireless effort, experience and leadership, and kind nature. Thank you, Charles, for all you were and all you gave. 

His obituary:

Welcome our Intern

In January our intern from Willamette University, Alena Landford, began the work of data analysis using the results from the surveys collected during the summer and fall of 2021. A major goal of her efforts has been to assist us in connecting interested community members with projects sponsored by Sustainable Silverton. In addition, Alena is supporting us by locating regional resources for us to share with you. Her current focus is on compiling a reuse directory for Silverton and the surrounding area in order to facilitate individual and household waste reduction.

If you missed filling out the survey, you can always email us to let us know your skills, passions, and interests. And we’d love to hear from you about like-minded organizations and other regional resources that we can tap into.  Please reach out to Kelley Morehouse at sustainablesilverton@gmail.com! 

Thank you for our March Recycling Volunteers

A big thanks to Kelley Morehouse, Michael Finklestien and Patrick Gilbert for hosting our Recycling booth at the Silverton Farmers Market; and to Laure Bordelon and Steve Slemenda, our Styrofoam drivers for this month 

In addition to recycling, several individuals provided input to the Urban Natural Resources Action Team plan. Many thanks to Jim Esch, Ron Garst, Eric Hammond and Doug Jenkins for their ideas and knowledge.

Oregon Garden Community Plots

The Oregon Garden, in conjunction with the Silverton Senior Center, is offering a few 10 'x 10' vegetable garden plots at $25 for the season. There are 5 plots left.  Access is limited to open hours at the Oregon Garden - from 10 am to 4 pm - but water is free and some tools are available. (Extended access may be possible on an individual basis but is not guaranteed.) You will need your own hose and will be required to maintain your garden space in a manner that is appropriate for a public botanical garden. Help may also be available for those who need someone strong to carry heavy loads, etc.  For more information, contact Jim Wilson at jimilagro@gmail.com.  

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Are you worried about climate change? A good place to focus your efforts is by making your home as energy efficient and climate-friendly as possible.

This month Sustainable Silverton joined a statewide group of grassroots community organizations to hear a presentation by Nancy Evenson, a retired architect who gives free, two-hour Home Retrofit Clinics, Last year, Nancy Evenson provided more than 40 personalized sessions, 

Home Retrofit Clinic sessions are offered on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm or 7:00 to 9:00 pm. You choose the date and time! To sign up, email Nancy at retrofit@evensonarchitecture.com.

Even if you’re not able to immediately upgrade your home, the clinic will help you know what to do when the time is right.

During the clinic, Nancy will analyze your home’s current use of energy and help you identify the most important upgrades and the financial incentives that can help you get there. Topics that are covered in each clinic include the following:

Conserving Energy—Tightening the Envelope

Efficient Energy Use–Equipment

Energy Generation—Solar PV Panels, emerging storage capabilities (less expensive: envelope and equipment upgrades reduce the solar generation requirement)

The Buildings and Energy section of the Silverton Climate Action Plan states

 “….improving the efficiency of existing buildings is essential and can reduce residential energy bills. Seventy-six percent of homes in Silverton were constructed before 1984 and are not energy efficient (Silverton Comprehensive Plan 7-2). Older homes “use 60% more energy per square foot than those built after 2000” (EnergySage 2020). 

Residential buildings endure longer than other energy consuming systems (according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions), so retrofitting and planning for lower energy consumption, while keeping people comfortable in changing conditions can make a significant impact on building-related greenhouse gas emissions.”

You may have already taken steps to make your home more sustainable. But unless your home is solar-powered and all-electric, there are still steps you can take to make your home more climate-friendly. And Nancy is eager to help you get there!

Sign up for a Home Retrofit Clinic TODAY by emailing Nancy at


Do you have an idea in mind for a clean energy project?

The PGE Renewable Development Fund awards grants for clean energy projects in the community. These are funded by PGE customers who choose Green Future renewable energy programs. 

Read more here! https://portlandgeneral.com/about/who-we-are/community/renewable-dev-fund

Some of Sustainable Silverton's accomplishments to date since 2020 

June 2020 till present

-Continuing Styrofoam collection at the Farmer's Market (we are collecting two to four truckloads a month, keeping it out of the landfill)!

Winter 2021

-Volunteer local arborist, Eric Hammond, collaborated with Sustainable Silverton to organize the free-baby-oak's giveaway following the February 12th Ice Storm at the Farmers market. He also organized a community "Tree Planting" event at Mark Twain School in conjunction with the Silverton School District

Spring 2021

-Hugely successful Beyond Bins campaign that asked community members to “Go Beyond” what they were already doing (recycling and composting); engaging them to learn new skills, learn about new offerings, and reward them for playing Beyond Bins Bingo. We are grateful to all the businesses that supported our Beyond Bins campaign by donating prizes that community members could win when they checked off a row on the BINGO card.  

-Teresa Foster volunteered to write Sustainable  Silverton’s newsletter. She came to us with a graphic design background, many years experience volunteering with environmental nonprofits, and a masters in environmental studies. 

Summer 2021 

-Surveyed community members to discover their interest in volunteering for our Action Teams and engage them in conversations about environmental "quality of life" concerns in Silverton.


Summer/Fall 2021

-Darrel Smith volunteered to take on developing and rebuilding Sustainable Silverton’s website. The website includes newsletters, city energy goals and documents, energy data and articles. The website is continuing its expansion thanks to Darrel’s efforts.  

Winter 2022

-Willamette University Intern, Alena Landford, has been helping Sustainable Silverton analyze data from surveys and connect volunteers with community projects. She is also locating regional resources to share with the Silverton community. 

-Collaboration with the Watershed Council at the Farmer's Market for the "Native Plant Give-Away." Over two-hundred shrubs and trees were donated to the community.

Additional Successes

-Continuing to recruit volunteers to work at the Sustainable Silverton table at Farmers Market. These volunteers serve as informational table hosts and/or sign up as drivers to deliver Styrofoam. 

-A big thank you to Mike Ashland for the initial Sustainable Silverton website development & for promoting the 2021 Beyond Bins campaign. 

-Collaborating with Marion County's Master-Recycling Program. Promoting best practices for recycling and recruiting knowledgeable volunteers at our Farmers market table. 

Op-Ed:  Energy Politics and the War in Ukraine By Darrel Smith

The outbreak of war in Ukraine is troubling on so many fronts.  The human cost will be remembered long after the bombs and missles stop.  How to best respond will be debated for just as long.  Some of the hesitancy of other countries to react is understandable and likely right,   Other sources of hesitancy are at least regrettable if not tragic.  The worldwide impacts on food, hunger, and forced human displacement is only beginning to be understood.  The impact on energy supplies, and cost is facing us more immediately.  The impact and our response to the stark realities of the role energy plays in this war should cause us to carefully consider, and prayerfully act on a personal, community, corporate, and national level.The response of the EU at this point is a mix of goals to reduce the usage, increase the use of alternatives, and alternatively source and store more fossil fuels.  

During the early part of WWII, we sat on the other side of the Atlantic, on many levels not ready to participate.  When we did enter in, we mobilized as Churchill hoped we would, providing the manufacturing muscle and sacrifice necessary to sustain the war effort.  Having spent so many years in Michigan, I am well aware of the contributions to that effort such as the Willow Run plant that produced planes and the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant.  When the Green New Deal was rolled out a few years ago, many compared the effort that was called for to confront climate change as comparable to the mobilization and sacrifice demonstrated in our response to entry into WWII.  While it is true that a multi-pronged response is morally demanded, we must exercise caution lest we dig a deeper pit.

The first lesson is clear, even though it appears not to be understood by some of our national leadership.  Do not allow yourself to be dependent on despots.  The corollary to that imperative, provides a more easily discerned measure than alleged governmental structure.  Do not exploit or oppress others.  Here ‘others’ means foreign peoples, as well as the marginalized within your own society.   Our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights provide a fine articulation of more specifically what that means even as we continue to perfect our execution of that ideal.  While international trade in general can improve the lot of all concerned, when we as a country court autocrats to replace the energy independence we frittered away, we have no moral standing.  

When we as corporations do not examine our supply chains with the same filter, we lose standing with our stakeholders, the customers, employees, and stockholders on which we depend.  Extraction of materials, or the fabrication of components that ignore environmental impact or exploit labor is as shaky as the historically recognized risk of trading in the midst of political instability.  As we pivot to both support the EU in their efforts to wean themselves from dependency on Russian gas and oil, and do likewise ourselves to reduce the impact of stopping our import of Russian oil, we may find ourselves hampered by the dependency of our supply chains on the same weak links.  Our current favorites for more intensive utilization of renewable energy include much more Ni-Cad, and Li-Ion batteries.  We will quickly encounter the influence of Russia on the global nickel market.

Recognizing the nickel issue may have influenced the EU plan, which gives much more emphasis on Green Hydrogen than batteries as it seeks to electrify Europe.  In truth, as an all knowing central planner, I would have favored Green Hydrogen over batteries.  I am constrained not only by my lack of authority to impose this, but also a recognition that we must beware of the hubris of man. ( Allowing women into those decisions may not fully solve the issue.)  When I reflect on the sustainability directives of a decade ago where the US favored ethanol, and Europe favored clean diesel, I am reminded that neither central plan was right.  Both initiatives masqueraded the monied influence on policy as science.  Hypothesis should be rigorously proved through empirical scientific testing before widespread policy mandates.  Mathematical models are helpful when comparing options, but they are not rigorous empirical proof.  We don’t know what assumptions are missing or wrong, if we don’t know.  If we pause to examine it in an unbiased manner we also see that many fruitful hypotheses and inventions are inspired by faith not brute force trial and error.  

While I can certainly envision a quaint European village, or even my adopted hometown of Silverton OR, with solar panels on most roofs, the natural gas furnaces replaced by heat pumps and people walking, or riding their bikes more than jumping in their cars to run errands there are roadblocks and missing pieces.  I recall when GM put solar arrays in parking lots to provide direct charging of EVs from a renewable source, I was tempted.  Then I realized that given how few spots there were, I would have to get to work before 6:30 every morning to take advantage of it.  I still believe that charging your EV at work from solar panels without intervening transmission or storage is the ideal, but I don’t see many employers offering that as a way to get folks back to the office yet.  That also implies an advantage for limiting work to the primary hours of daylight.  That would make both commuting and direct power of the industrial processes from onsite solar more feasible.  It would, however, disadvantage the 24-hour use of capacity and the capital intensive facilities required by some industries.  

If then we are suspicious of central planning even if it wasn’t waiting for the shift in political winds, what can we do to mobilize to support the folks in Europe trying to free themselves from dependence on Russian fossil fuels?  There may not be one answer for everyone across the country let alone the world.  A frequent argument against quickly phasing out fossil fuels as a ready source of energy, is ‘what about the remote village still suffering needless health effects of burning scrub and dung for cook fires’.  Perhaps local solar arrays without long transmission lines might be more effective with a little help from wealthy nations, and less loans from China for coal fired plants.  We don’t have the domestic capacity to put PV panels on enough homes quickly enough, but if we can clear the financial hindrances, we may be able to create the demand which will yield the manufacturing and extraction capacity we need to make a difference here and abroad.  While we wait and push for the breakthroughs to make either battery, hydrogen, or other unforeseen technology more just and cost effective, we can explore locally available options for smart grid independence and off-peak energy.  There was a time when local hydro power was an early contributor to the energy that powered local industry.  If we focus locally and share our successes and failures we can move forward.  We can collectively learn from each other without assuming that any of us have all the answers today.