Portland’s Moda Center is Leading the Way in Environmental Sustainability

For over a decade, Portland’s sports arena has demonstrated what’s possible when it comes to retrofitting existing buildings to become zero carbon

Katrina Paulson
6 min readApr 30, 2022


Image Source: Wiki Commons

I’m about to drop some facts that blew my mind a little. Ready? Did you know that back in 2018, over half of the global human population lived in cities? And by 2025, it’s predicted that it’ll rise to two-thirds of the population. Yet, at the same time, building emission rates are currently estimated to be around 40 percentwhich is double what it was in 2019. Now, I’m no scientist or mathematician, but this doesn’t seem very good.

Wait! Don’t leave. This isn’t another article yelling about the end of times. I actually have some good news! I mean, we do need to decrease our building emissions and address zoning laws to make it easier. But we currently possess the technology and know-how to achieve our goals.

Some cities and countries have already begun. In fact, I recently learned that the sports arena in my hometown is leading the way in implementing environmental agendas. It’s actually pretty amazing what they’ve accomplished.

Home Sweet Home

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest — in Portland, Oregon, to be exact. It’s probably because of this that I’ve always loved nature, especially trees. Well, that and because I attended the Environmental Middle School (yes, that really was its name), where I learned all about nature and ecosystems in a way children at traditional public schools didn’t get to.

Though as much as I love nature, I’m also a city girl, which is why I love Portland — a city whose downtown is sandwiched between the Willamette River and more than 5,000 acres of forest along its edges. On the bank right across the river from downtown, is Portland’s sports arena, the Moda Center — although it will forever be The Rose Quarter to me, which was its name before 2013.

Because of the intertwined relationship Portland has with nature — and the fact that I live here — it’s important to me that the city’s design works with nature, which is precisely what the Moda center is doing…



Katrina Paulson

I wonder about humanity, questions with no answers, and new discoveries. Then I write about them here and on substack! https://curiousadventure.substack.com