Portland Mayor Hales & Indianapolis Mayor Ballard

Posted on August 11, 2014

ELGL green icon



Two Mayors, two cities, one cause – ELGL got the chance to host two big city mayors and hear about their approaches to sustainability. Thanks to Len Reed from the Oregonian for moderating the chat, his questions kept the conversation moving and allowed us to learn a ton.

The City of Indianapolis behind the leadership of Mayor Ballard has created “SustainIndy,” which is aimed at making Indianapolis “the most sustainable city in the Midwest.” Meanwhile, the City of Portland is recognized nationally and internationally for its bike infrastructure and commitment to being a green community.

Event Recap: What We Learned from the Mayors of PDX and Indy

Official Picture Show: The David Nguyen Collection Defining Sustainability

Unofficial Picture Show: Defining Sustainability

The Takeaways


Emma Williams, Metro

“One of the greatest take-aways from the night was seeing just how much both of these men love their cities. We in Portland spend a lot of time thinking about and working on sustainability and it was really nice to hear how another metropolitan city is making it work.”

Beth Otto, City of Tigardgoogleearth

“Mayor Ballard and Mayor Hales have both made remarkable progress toward achieving sustainable cities. They were well spoken about the need to consider long term impacts when making decisions and they identified important benefits to doing so, such as economic development, improving quality of life, and attracting new residents.” 

Randy Miller, Produce Row Property Management

“A central message for me: Portland has been the leader in sustainable policy longer than other American cities, and it has distinguished us a leader in this field.  However, other cities are catching up with us, and we need to continue to focus on sustainable practices to retain our lead and identity, and assist other communities towards sustainable stewardship.”

Ken Ray, Metrohales

“My main takeaway from the July 31 forum was the issue of sustainability is not a partisan one. Mayor Ballard, a conservative, sees it as an economic issue and an important component to help give Indianapolis a competitive edge in attracting and retaining young, bright, well-educated workers to build and sustain new businesses. He also clearly sees the cost savings to city government long-term. I was intrigued by his claim–I think it was in the discussion of converting to an all-electric fleet–that it can save the city $8000-10,000 per vehicle over the life of the vehicle. If that’s true, that’s remarkable.”

Ashley Graff, City of Gresham10525726_655920144493551_8569728770853301291_n

“Many thanks to Mayor Hales and Mayor Ballard for sharing their time with the ELGL group. From efficiencies in stormwater management to safer streets for cyclists, these gentlemen are making sustainable decisions that improve our communities and often have positive economic development impacts. As a Portland resident, I was glad to hear Mayor Hales talk about his goal of “creating a culture of choices” and pleased that Mayor Ballard is seeing success with SustainIndy.”

Shawn Patrick Floss, Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance

“The intimate setting for the forum made for such a candid conversation, allowing them to fully explain how to balance between great projects for a growing city and tight financial demands. Any chance you can get mayors from two of the country’s most desirable cities to share their ideas and frustrations before an informed crowd, you get an honest exchange of ideas that go beyond processed sound bites and talking points.”

Emily Leuning, Cities of West Linn and Sherwoodtumblr_lnum7b0yct1qc0fwzo1_500

“It was nice to hear the emphasis on sustainability and alternative forms of transportation from two mayors who represent constituents with very different political leanings. I appreciated their discussion of sustainability not only in terms of economic development but also quality of life issues and that it creates a place where people want to live.”

Kent Wyatt, City of Tigard

“Mayor Hales and Mayor Ballard are examples of how cities are confronting issues that the state and federal government are not. Each has framed the issue differently. In Indianapolis, sustainability efforts are framed around financial savings, and in Portland, efforts are framed more around benefits to the environment. Either way, both cities are at the leading edge of North American cities committed to changing the way things used to be done.”

Ben Kittelson, Metro


“It was great to hear two influential mayors speak so candidly about the issues and problems that they face in governing their respective cities. It was refreshing to hear about Indianapolis, a city I don’t know much about and one that faces different challenges from Portland but has achieved similar results. It was also cool to hear about the successes the city has had in cultivating a bike culture while boosting economic development. I think Portland and Indianapolis can learn a lot from each other and the chat showed that.”

Kirsten Wyatt, City of West Linn

15206_655919821160250_5729577399063632088_n“I appreciated the time and preparation that both mayors brought to their discussion.  It was apparent that they truly care about sustainability issues, and are very thoughtful in their approaches.  I most appreciated learning the differences in how each mayor approaches talking about “green” topics in their cities.  It was a reminder of the power of language to help communicate a goal to diverse populations.”

Zach Henkin, Drive Oregon

What I took away was the delicate care that both Mayor use when communicating to their constituents – specific dialogs that work in Portland will not work in Indianapolis and vice versa. Both Mayors understand the importance of bringing economic returns to their cities and by implementing multi-modal transportation options they both save money, and attract new talent. And most of all both were congenial, well spoken, and look good in bike helmets.

Supplemental Reading10502431_655920107826888_6696256672536975972_n

The Weekly Post – First Stop Portland

4 Takeaways from Mayor Hales & Mayor Ballard

Mayor Hales Talks Sustainability, Equity with Indianapolis Mayor Ballard

Defining Sustainability with SustainIndy


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