PORTLAND -- The city of Portland wants to take the eco-roof concept to a new level by transforming building rooftops into actual wildlife habitats.

An international eco-roof expert says it can be done.

Wednesday, Dusty Gedge, president of the European Federation of Green-roof Associations, took a tour of some of Portland s green roof-tops. Gedge says Portland is internationally known for its traditional eco-roofs which help reduce annual storm runoff by about 70 percent. But he says, with a few modifications, the green roofs also provide a home to wildlife like insects and birds.

Roofs are a really good place to put these dry riverbed habitats. In summer it's really dry. In winter its quite wet and there's an ecology and nature that likes that, and roofs are the perfect place to do that, said Gedge.

Tom Liptan, Environmental Specialist with Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services was on the tour and also sees the benefit of bio-diverse rooftop gardens.

The benefit of an eco-roof is that it provides habitat for various species that are losing that kind of habitat in most urban environments around the world. said Liptan.

We are already seeing wildlife in downtown Portland.

Just look at the KGW/Audubon Society s raptor cam. You'll find a pair of red tailed hawks making their home atop a fire-escape. Portland Audubon Society director Bob Sallinger envisions one day transforming the warehouse roof tops that line the Columbia corridor into acres and acres of grasslands.

The vision we have is really of those roof tops turning green, brown and maybe blue and providing a whole lot more for people and wildlife of Portland, said Sallinger.

In order to reach its goal of 49 total acres of eco-roofs in Portland by 2013, the city is paying up to $5 per square foot to any home or business owner that builds one.

Read or Share this story: