The Inverness Jail recertified as Sustainability at Work Gold level by the City of Portland earlier this year. This certification recognizes sustainability actions completed at work to reduce, reuse, recycle encourage employee engagement in sustainability actions and increase energy efficiency, reduce water use, and promote transportation alternatives and community engagement.
The MCIJ Inmate Garden produced over 1,500 lbs of vegetables during the 2017 growing season. All of the crops harvested were donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Inmates spent time each week tending to the garden and growing a variety of vegetables including cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins and other types of vegetables. The County Farmer provided instruction to the inmates during garden sessions to grow their knowledge and skills in caring for a garden, how to maximize the yield and encouraging them to learn how to establish their own garden when they return to the community. Inmates enjoyed working in the garden and learning about the benefits of fresh produce.
On August 3, 2016 Multnomah County finalized their first Energy Savings Performance Contract.An Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) is a contract between a public or private entity and an energy services company (ESCO) under which the ESCO:
- Performs energy audits,
- Identifies energy & operational savings opportunities,
- Designs infrastructure improvements that reduce resource consumption
- Implements the improvements as the general contractor, and
- Guarantees project costs, equipment performance and energy savings
For the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, the Inverness Jail was included in this contract for water savings upgrades which will reduce the water use at the jail by 43 % from 2013. Once work is completed the expected reduction in water use will go beyond the Sustainable Jail Goal for water savings reduction of 35% by 2030!
This process began in 2011 when members of the Sustainable Jail Project took a tour of a Sustainability in Prisons Project site in Washington. During that visit, members of the Sustainable Jail Project team, learned about the Energy Savings Performance Contracts Washington prisons utilized to assist them in making energy efficient upgrades at their facilities. Upon return, Multnomah County Facilities partners began exploring this as an option for Multnomah County facilities. Facilities staff identified opportunities for buildings in Multnomah County to be evaluated for ESCO projects and Multnomah County Inverness Jail was one of the sites selected. After evaluating the facility and identifying potential energy efficient upgrades at the facility a package was presented for approval to the Board of Commissioners and the water savings upgrade proposal for Inverness Jail was one of the components approved by the Board of Commissioners to move forward.
Multnomah County Inverness Jail Inmates have grown over 2,000 lbs of organically grown vegetables so far during the growing season of 2014. While the IJ garden winds down this fall, the SJP is currently working on adding a greenhouse to grow plant starts during the winter for the IJ garden as well as County Crops and Juvenile Justice gardens.
On May 7, 2014 the Sustainable Jails Project team received the Multnomah County Sustainability Award for 2013 for last year's introduction of the Inmate Garden and Seeds to Supper programming to the Inverness Jail.
On April 15, 2014 the Sustainable Jails Project team learned the Inverness Jail had earned Sustainability At Work certification - Gold from the City of Portland after completing an audit earlier regarding sustainability practices at the facility and in the jail.
On April 8, 2014 the garden beds were turned over and prepped for planting, a test winter crop of Garlic appears to have done well and hopes are to have a full winter crop planted after this year's growing season.
On April 15, the garden beds were seeded with vegetables by inmate work crews. MCSO Volunteers and the County Farmer helped to educate the inmate crew on care and cultivation of the garden. Volunteers will be in each week to assist in the garden and instruct the inmates about general gardening skills and promoting healthier active lifestyles through gardening. Looking forward to seeing how the first crops of the season grow!
Seeds to Supper program also kicked off the first series of classes for the year. Developed through a partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, which provided the curriculum and instructor training, the Seeds to Supper program is now offered in the Inverness Jail and promotes healthier active lifestyles through gardening. The course provides novice gardeners the tools they need to successfully grow a portion of their food on a limited budget. Last year over a hundred (112) inmate students participated in the Seeds to Supper classes offered. The curriculum is taught by MCSO volunteers.
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