Elected leaders in the Portland area like to try to save the world through grand, sweeping gestures.

In recent years, they have promised to switch every municipal office to wind power, force gas stations that sell diesel to offer bio-diesel and cut the county’s carbon emissions by 80 percent. This focus on the environment is admirable. But as often as not, the efforts feel as much like self-aggrandizing stunts — Look, we care! — as serious efforts to combat global warming.

For once, however, Portland leaders have come upon a save-Mother-Earth-scheme worth applauding and mimicking elsewhere, either the private sector or other public agencies. You might say they’re trying to preserve the environment one paper clip at a time.

Franklin Jones quit his job as a sixth-grade teacher and moved from the Bay Area to Portland three years ago to start B-Line: Sustainable Urban Delivery, a courier service that uses big electric-assisted cargo tricycles to tote up to 700 pounds of goods per trip. As part of his early networking efforts, Jones visited City Hall to meet Mayor Sam Adams and his staff. They introduced Jones to Christine Moody, the city’s lead purchasing officer.

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