Here's a couple of ideas
The city of Portland has $450,000 available to support environmentally sustainable projects. The city's Office of Sustainable Development is accepting grant applications as part of its Green Investment Fund. The competitive grant program supports projects that reduce waste and toxins, conserve water, manage stormwater, conserve energy and promote the use of renewable energy. The maximum grant amount for a single project is $225,000. Industrial, residential, commercial and mix-use projects are eligible and private organizations may apply. -- News story in Portland Business Journal.
Project title: "Pave Dirt Roads in Residential Neighborhoods"
Location: Numerous streets throughout NE, SE and SW Portland.
How project meets program goals: Paving the streets that have been left unpaved for years will eliminate numerous instances in which suspension systems of autos are damaged by large potholes and badly rutted dirt roads, thus lessening consumption of environmentally irresponsible replacement parts. Paving will also eliminate cleanups of clothing of pedestrians who are splattered by mud from passing vehicles, and repeated washing of vehicles that must slog down mud paths to reach drivers' homes.
Paved roads will encourage additional pedestrian and bicycle traffic through affected rights-of-way, thus promoting healthy lifestyles. Increased consumption of Gatorade will reduce reliance on Bull Run water supply. Elimination of stress of living near bad roads, plus sweating from increased walking, will release built-up toxins in local population. Pickup of droppings from pets will be facilitated by smooth pavement. Flat surfaces will reduce wear and tear on recycling bins, and encourage composting of fallen leaves in autumn.
Additional public benefits: Improved roads will encourage desirable in-fill on every available five-foot-square parcel currently left uncovered, thus promoting Metro density goals. Paved streets will also encourage biotechnology boom, open up new routes for streetcar expansion, attract real estate speculators from California, and enable members of creative class to live in affected neighborhoods without fear of ruining their Rockport oxfords. With all dirt alleys finally eliminated, city will resemble Barcelona and Vancouver, B.C.
Project title: "Reopen Police Stations at Night and on Weekends"
Location: All police precincts other than Central Precinct.
How project meets program goals: Having police stations open at night and on weekends will shorten drive times for residents who are fleeing from violent crimes after business hours, as well as eliminate unnecessary driving for felons who are seeking to turn themselves in after precincts currently close. Open precincts will also encourage officers to warm up and stay dry in central locations, rather than unnecessarily idling their patrol cars throughout their shifts.
Open station houses will enhance community policing, lessening tensions between residents and officers, and thereby reducing unnecessary shootings, which release biohazards (mostly, blood) into environment. Noise pollution from gunshots will decrease. Reduction in number of police inquests will reduce amount of energy and paper consumed in compiling reports concluding that event was tragic but unavoidable. Reductions in number and severity of anti-police protests will minimize releases of pepper spray into ambient atmosphere.
Additional public benefits: After-hours interactions between citizenry and public safety officers will decrease officers' isolation and accompanying alienation, thus lowering number of stress disability retirements. Number of property owners who suffer cardiac arrest upon reading fine print on property tax statements will also decrease.