PORTLAND -- The 39th anniversay of Earth Day is only a few days away and Portland is playing a big part in the world-wide event.

Video: Green Cities Expo in Portland

People from all over the country are in Portland for the first-ever Green Cities Conference and Expo at the Convention Center, which hosted by the National League of Cities.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski gave the welcoming address and boasted in his remarks about and the steps both state and city governments have taken to embrace "green" technologies and ways of living.

He said the state had a history of championing such things that dated to the late 1960s when Oregon passed the beach bill protecting shores from private development. The governor added that the nation was in a "transformational period" and that a long-term, sustainable outlook was essential to moving forward.

The convention brings together towns, cities and other organizations to discuss sustainable planning, renewable energy and other green programs.

Industry experts will talk about how going green could help cities create new jobs, strenghen their economy and environment. The conference will showcase cutting-edge programs like waste-water treatment, eco-system restoration and alternative transporation.The expo will also feature green businesses and non-profit groups.

Over the weekend, KGW found people honoring Earth Day early.

"At the beginning of the service I asked people, who came on the bus? Who came on the lightrail? Who walked and then the last one, Who carpooled? And by the end, almost everyone was standing, so that's really good," said Dr. Marilyn Sewell Minister of First Unitarian Church.

The conference runs through Tuesday. Earth Day's anniversary is Wednesday.

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