Northwest Portland Hostel Blog
Thursday, July 16, 2015
In the past decade or so, sustainability has become an increasingly important aspect of the tourism industry. One of the main leaders of this movement is Costa Rica. Over the years they have developed a thriving industry that successfully balances the economical benefits of tourism while also ensuring that the impact on the environment is not too large. Costa Rica has successfully done this by implementing a nationwide certification process. This process is known as the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) and is managed by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission. Their top priority is to improve the way that natural and social resources are utilized, promote active participation of local communities, and support competitiveness in the business sector.
Within this system there are 5 levels of achievement and they are based off of four main categories of performance. These categories are physical-biological parameters, infrastructure and services, external clients, and socio-economic environment.
A business’s level of achievement (measured by 5 leaves) is only as high as their lowest category. For example if a business receives 5 leaves for 3 categories but only 2 leaves for one, their overall rating is just 2 leaves. This can be a very long process for many hotels and tourism businesses but it is important that no aspect of sustainability be neglected.
Sustainability has played an important role in the HI Northwest Portland Hostel & Guesthouse since the beginning. There is no nationwide system such as the one in Costa Rica but all HI-USA hostels and affiliates are required to participate in some sort of 3rd party sustainable certification. The hostel currently receives 3rd party audits from the Sustainable Travel International (STI) accreditation service. The extremely extensive and uniform certification process of CST is something that the tourism industry here in the United States can learn from and continue to work towards achieving.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Saturday, July 11th marks the 13th annual Bastille Day festival, hosted by the Alliance Française de Portland. This year the event will be held at the Portland Art Museum, coinciding with the museum’s Miller Family Free Day.
Currently the museum is exhibiting “Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux Arts”, adding to the French theme of the day. Come enjoy street performers, music, French cuisine, family-friendly activities, and la marché (the market)!
Hours: Saturday July 11th, 12:00 pm-6:00pm
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Over the years our views on household cleaning products have changed. It used to be accepted that cleaners using toxic ingredients and harsh chemicals were the only way to get grime off of toilets, kitchen counters, and floors. These were also the only things that could clean your laundry and wash your dishes to give them that shiny and fresh clean scent. After all, there were no other options. Natural cleaning products just didn’t quite seem to do the trick and tended to leave you home with a less than fresh smell. However, with new reports from the EPA and National Geographic, many are beginning to realize that this however, is not the case. Over the past several years there has been a dramatic rise in number of people looking towards natural oils and substances such as citrus oil, vinegar, beeswax, cleaning salt, coconut oil, baking soda, lavender and rosemary to remove grime and bacteria from their home. Companies such as Mrs. Meyers, Dr. Bronner’s, Method, Eco Nuts, Molly’s Suds, Laundress, Eco-Me, and many others are using these natural substances to create effortless cleaning products that don’t require time and effort to make yourself (and clean equally as well as those traditional cleaners. Many of these products are not only better for your health and safe to use around kids and pets, but they’re also environmentally friendly. Below are 6 reasons why people have begun to make the switch, including us here at Northwest Portland Hostel & Guesthouse.
1. Chemicals May be Unregulated
Many cleaning products include chemicals that emit fumes that are not safe for humans and animals. Since the mid 20th century, 85,000 new chemicals have entered the market through various products, many of which after not being approved by the EPA. This number is a bit concerning and there’s more. More than 70 percent of traditional cleaning products used in homes contain these harmful chemicals.
2. Phthalates, Sodium Hydroxide & Ammonia
Have you ever checked the labels of cleaning products under your sink? Oftentimes a label will warn that a product can be harmful to people or pets, which is a major reason to not have the product in your home. Some potentially harmful chemicals you want to watch out for when researching cleaning products include phtalates (in fragranced products), triclosan (in liquid dishwashing detergent), 2-Butoxyethanol (in multi-purpose cleaners) and even chlorine (in laundry whiteners and toilet bowl cleaners).
3. Keep Kids Safe(r)
We can’t protect our kids from all the evil in the world, but we can limit their access to harmful chemicals. Using natural cleaning products will reduce the chance of an accidental poisoning. In fact, it’s shown that household cleaning products rank within the top 5 causes of childhood poisoning cases. So in addition to switching over to green cleaning products, be sure to keep the products stored in child-safe cabinets.
4. You May Be Poisoning the Water Supply
Various household cleaning agents can contain toxic chemicals like ammonia, phosphorus, alkyphenol ethoxylates and petroleum. So when you wash your clothes, do the dishes and even flush toilet bowl cleaner you may be sending these chemicals back into the water system and nearby rivers, lakes and streams. This could make its way back into your water, but it can also have a negative impact on wildlife and the environment.
5. Breathe Deep. Breathe Clean.
While they help make your clothes and rooms smell better, some fabric softeners and antibacterial spray cleaners contain quaternary ammonium compounds (a.k.a. quats), like benzalkonium chloride. These agents have been known to contribute to otherwise healthy people getting asthma. In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, about 53 percent of cleaning products they tested contain ingredients that can harm the lungs while 22 percent can cause asthma.
6. Green Products Help Keep the Air Greener
Many household products, especially sprays and aerosols, can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can have short- and long-term health effects associated with your central nervous system, liver and kidneys. When you use a spray, the chemicals can linger in the air long after the initial mist dissipates.
When choosing green cleaning products for your facility, we recommend that you choose the products that meet the standards of the following organizations:
www.EcoLogo.org and www.GreenSeal.org
You can also check out www.ecoconceptsusa.com for additional information on certification organizations, product lines and criteria for environmentally safe products, services and practices.
So before you travel, do some research! Is the hotel or hostel you’re staying at use safe and environmentally friendly cleaners to clean the space that you will be staying in?
Abe’s Market: 6 Reasons to Use Green Cleaning Products in Your Home
The Daily Green: What Toxic Chemicals Lurk in Your Household Products?
Experience Life: 8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products?
National Geographic’s Green Living: How Does Household Cleaner Affect the Environment?
EWG: Guide to Healthy Cleaning
ABC News: Household Cleaning Products Still Pose Risk to Kids
EPA: Introduction to Indoor Air Quality
Thursday, June 25, 2015
World Naked Bike Ride is coming up this weekend! This event takes place in cities around the world, and highlights the vulnerability of cyclists both to motor vehicle collisions, and to air pollution caused by our dependence on fossil fuel-driven transportation.
The Portland ride will meet at Colonel Summers Park at SE Belmont & 20th Ave. The dress code for the ride is “as bare as you dare”, and no one will be turned away based on clothing level. Many riders decorate themselves with body paint and their bikes with decorations of all kinds – balloons, cheeky signs, you name it! The ride leaves around 9 pm once all the riders are ready.
See the Portland WNBR website (linked below) for lots more information, and have fun!
PDX World Naked Bike Ride
Monday, May 25, 2015
The first public occurence of a Memorial Day-like observance occured in Charleston, SC on May 1, 1865. At least 257 Union soldiers had died in a Confederate prison camp and were unceremoniously thrown into a mass grave. A group of former slaves along with teachers, missionaries, and other Charleston residents took it upon themselves to dig up the mass grave and give the Union soldiers a proper burial in gratitude for fighting for their freedom. Nearly 10,000 people, including freedmen, Union troops, and black schoolchildren held a march to commemorate the fallen soldiers.northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.
By 1868 the holiday was known as Decoration Day, and was a day to place flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The title Memorial Day did not come about until 1971, when the day became a federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday in May.
The Portland Rose Festival is a great place to spend the afternoon reflecting on the history of this holiday, and they are giving free admission to Veterans, Reservists, and active military members with a military ID, plus one free guest. A moment of remembrance will be observed at 3 pm, and the festival runs until about 10 pm every night. Located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Monday, April 20, 2015
This upcoming weekend, April 24th-26th, marks the 5th annual Gathering of the Guilds, held at the Oregon Convention Center. Over 150 local artisans from groups including the Creative Metal Arts Guild, Oregon Glass Guild, Guild of Oregon Woodworkers, Portland Bead Society, and Portland Handweavers Guild will be displaying beautiful, hand-made items for sale at this free event.
While you may have seen the tongue-in-cheek “We Can Pickle That” sketch on Portlandia, it’s not that far from reality. There is a strong DIY ethic amongst many Portlanders – as you visit the city, take note of its multitude of community gardens, microbreweries, and shops selling local and handmade clothing, food, and just about anything else you can think of! This is a great place to shop locally, especially if you are a visitor in search of those great one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, or just a unique souvenir for yourself. Try some kombucha while you’re here, whether it’s Brew Dr. (sold at our front desk!), Lion Heart, Herbucha, or one of the many other brewers in town.
And if you are looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Gathering of the Guilds for a peek at some locally-made crafts. Admission is free!
2015 Gathering of the Guilds schedule:
- Friday April 24th, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Saturday April 25th, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sunday April 26th, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A – 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland OR
Monday, March 23, 2015
What are you doing when the lights go out this Saturday for Earth Hour!?
We hope you’ll head to a HI Hostel! Because this year we are happy to announce that both Portland hostels are running Earth Hour events!
As I mentioned in a previous post, HI – Northwest Portland Hostel is hosting our annual blindfolded food and beer tasting event in the Elliston Kitchen at 8 pm. Followed by a brew pub crawl to some of the best microbreweries that Portland has to offer.
The Hawthorne Hostel will also be participating in this world wide event by hosting a game night by sparkle light at 8:30 pm! Hostel guests and neighbors are welcome to attend the event. The game will be the exciting firework-themed game of Hanabi!
If you’ve never heard of Hanabi before – the idea of the game is for each player to play a series of cards in a specific order in the hopes of setting off a simulated fireworks show! Sounds like a lot of fun!!
Plus, did I mention that light refreshments will be provided at both hostels! We know we’ll see you there!
Saturday, March 21, 2015
World Water Day is tomorrow, March 22nd!
As citizens of the world it is paramount that we conserve the earth’s resources and be respectful of our footprint on the earth – especially when traveling.
In honor of World Water Day, here’s a few simple ways that you can save water while you’re traveling:
- Re-use dishes and soak, don’t scrub: many plates and dishes don’t need a full wash to be re-used, and scrubbing hard-to-clean dishes under running water is a waste – so soak them straight after use for an easy and waste-free clean up
- Switch taps off: brushing your teeth? Turn the tap off whilst you’re scrubbing
- Save by sharing a load whilst washing clothes: if you need to use the washing machines, make sure you have a full load. If you’ve just got a few things to wash, buddy up to share the load
- Reduce your average shower time: the average shower time is 8 minutes. Reduce your shower time to 5 minutes and save 23 litres of water. Sharing a shower is also a good move!
For more about World Water Day check out HI USA’s blog.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Earth Hour is a global event created by the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about energy consumption and global warming. Each year, citizens and communities around the world participate in Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lights and electronics at 8:30pm.
The hostel will be hosting a special event in continuation of the darkness theme of the evening. Come by and intermingle with world travelers, enjoy refreshments, and put your tastebuds to the test with our blindfolded food and beer tasting challenge. We bet you can’t recognize 8 out of 10 common food items correctly!
The event is free. The impact on the environment is priceless!
Join us! HI-Portland, Northwest Hostel
Saturday, March 28th at 8:00 – 10:00 pm
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Forget about the Oscars! Hostelling International just announced the winner of its HI-5IVE awards for the most comfortable hostel, friendliest hostel, green hostel, best hostel and the best National Association of hostels.
U.S. hostels snagged some of the top spots in all categories, but it is HI Martha’s Vineyard that took home the gold, winning Most Friendliest Hostel last year.
Below is a picture of HI-USA CEO Russ Hedge excepting the award on behalf of HI Martha’s Vineyard.
Congratulations to all the winners!