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About CES

Community Environmental Services (CES) is a research and service unit within the Center for Urban Studies in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. CES provides high quality research, technical assistance, data collection and educational outreach services in the areas of solid waste minimization, recycling, composting, and program evaluation.

Portland State University’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City.” For over 25 years CES has met this goal; placing students in work opportunities that have provided high quality services to community partners, and resulted in high rates of direct job placement after graduation.   

Student staff members are led by highly experienced professionals who emphasize the core skills needed to conduct research, collect and analyze data, and effectively communicate.  While CES brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to its projects, they thrive because of the partnership experience.



CES Mission Statement

CES Provides community partners in Portland, the region, and beyond with research data and technical assistance on urban environmental issues and resource sustainability while giving PSU students the opportunity to develop leadership capacity and practical job skills through education, service, and research.  




Community Environmental Services (CES) was formed in 1989 as the Recycling Education Project (REP). Founded by PSU Professors  Gerry Blake and Barry Messer, the organization began as a class (seen right) , which surveyed the recycling practices of multifamily apartment residents. After analyzing the results, students developed a plan to offer recycling education and equipment to the communities they surveyed. Professor Blake presented the City of Portland with the students’ plan, and the city agreed to fund a pilot project.

After the pilot showed positive results, the City of Portland contracted with PSU to assist in setting up on-site recycling for all apartment complexes, mobile home parks, and condominiums.  The program was successfully concluded in June 1997. By that time, over 90% of all Portland multifamily units had access to onsite recycling. Portland was the first U.S. city to provide recycling for multifamily residences. For a look at the original 1990 pilot project report, please access:

In 1998, REP changed its name to Community Environmental Services (CES) to better reflect its broader mission of addressing environmental issues and its service to a variety of community partners.

 A scholarship fund for deserving CES student-employees has been set up in the name of CES co-founder, Gerry Blake. Recipients of the Gerry Blake Memorial scholarship fund will be students who exhibit excellent leadership qualities and dedication to their assigned projects. These students will also be passionate about sustainability and resource conservation. To make a donation to the Gerry Blake Memorial scholarship please contact CES.

To learn more Contact CES.