BPS in the news

Information
reporter kneeling holding microphone in front of a woman smiling with her arms out wide; background has people standing in groups and talking to each other
Recent media highlights featuring BPS staff and our work.

Nature Communications — Sept. 30, 2022

US cities increasingly integrate justice into climate planning and create policy tools for climate justice

"The actions cities take to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change will produce benefits as well as unintended consequences that are likely to be distributed unevenly within and beyond city boundaries."

Mentions: Portland's Climate Action


The Stranger — Sept. 29, 2022

Mayor Harrell Proposes $1 Million for Questionable Surveillance Tech

"In moving forward with the pilot project, however, Wheeler ignored concerns from Smart City PDX, a City office focused on surveillance technology and public data ethics."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


Portland Mercury — Sept. 23, 2022

Wheeler Moves Forward with Controversial Gunshot Detection Technology

"Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office will develop a pilot program for the controversial gunshot-detection technology ShotSpotter, according to an announcement at a police oversight meeting Thursday evening."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


Brookings — Sept. 22, 2022

Not according to plan: Exploring gaps in city climate planning and the need for regional action

"While many cities have drafted 'climate action plans' that pledge specific GHG emissions reductions, they are struggling to hit their targets."

Mentions: Portland's Climate Action


BikePortland — Sept. 16, 2022

Revamped Clean Energy Fund would give $100 million to transportation projects

"Rubio’s changes give a larger nod to transportation as both a major source of emissions and a place of great opportunity for decarbonization."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Willamette Week — Sept. 15, 2022

Commissioner Carmen Rubio Proposes Sweeping Reform to Portland Clean Energy Fund

"The changes aim to shine sunlight on the fund, which has garnered intense criticism for lack of accountability since its infancy."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Pamplin Business Tribune — Sept. 6, 2022

Feedback sought on proposed renewable fuel standards

"Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will accept public input through Sept. 30 on city code amendment."

Mentions: Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Code Update


KATU — July 28, 2022

'City in Crisis - Finding Solutions:' Growing pains for Portland's Hollywood District

"In our ever-changing city, there are two things we hear a lot about - homelessness and growth. But what can be done about both of those issues?"

Mentions: Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


The Skanner — July 14, 2022

Solar Energy Push Creates More Robust Support for Black Homeowners

"But Roberts was just as excited about the way her organization was able to pull together resources and, also using Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) money, help a new homeowner save the beloved house that had been willed to her by her grandmother."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Portland Mercury — July 13, 2022

City Council Considers $107 Million in Clean Energy Grants

"The Portland Clean Energy Fund increased grant giving and added additional risk mitigation measures following scrutiny."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The Oregonian — July 8, 2022

Portland to vote on $111 million in clean energy grants next week

"The committee that governs Portland’s voter-approved clean energy grants program released its recommendations Wednesday for $111 million across 66 awards aimed to improve environmental equity."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


BikePortland — July 8, 2022

Bikes figure prominently in latest Portland Clean Energy Fund grant awards

"All four of the recommended winners in the Innovation Grant category — a total of $7.6 million — have a bike component to their project."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Portland Mercury — June 27, 2022

Free AC Units, Worker Protections, and Climate Investments—Here’s What’s Changed Since 2021’s Deadly Heatwave

"One year ago, unprecedentedly high temperatures killed 69 people in Multnomah County and nearly 100 statewide... The deadly event was also a call to action for city, county, and state lawmakers."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


OPB — June 27, 2022

Portland environmental nonprofit delivers cooling units for those in need

"In the midst of a heat wave, Verde delivers electric heat pump systems to help cool vulnerable households in Portland’s Cully neighborhood."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The Globe and Mail — June 26, 2022

A year on from deadly heat wave, many B.C. residents still have no air conditioning

"In the weeks after a deadly heat wave swept western North America last summer, staff from the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) program reached out to housing providers, community organizations and tenant advocates to learn how to better prepare for another extreme heat event like the one that killed more than 100 people in Oregon."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


FOX 12 Oregon — June 23, 2022

New program will install 15,000 AC units across Portland

"It’s been a year since Portland’s record-breaking heat wave that killed 96 people state-wide. The heat wave prompted a new program called the Heat Response Program, created by the Portland Clean Energy Fund, to help those most vulnerable to heat in the future."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Willamette Week — June 22, 2022

Donnie Oliveira Was Quietly Placed in Charge of Portland’s Most Controversial Project. He Explains His Strategy.

“Many of these organizations have operating budgets of $200,000, and we’re like, ‘I don’t know, do you want a million?’”

Mentions: Director Donnie OliveiraPortland Clean Energy Fund


OPB — June 21, 2022

Portland bureaus hope to lower carbon footprint with new cement

"Engineers at the city of Portland have adopted a plan to use cement with a smaller carbon footprint."

Mentions: Climate Emergency Declaration


Willamette Week — June 10, 2022

Contractors Install First Cooling Unit Paid for by the Portland Clean Energy Fund

"After months of drama, contractors for the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund installed the first cooling unit in the home of a needy Portlander yesterday."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Portland Mercury — June 7, 2022

Impacts of Portland Clean Energy Grants Begin to Materialize, a Year Later

"Sammie Lewis can’t wait to receive her next energy bill. That’s because Lewis is one of the first Portland homeowners to benefit from a city grant that offers home “energy retrofits”—meant to save low income homeowners money on energy costs by switching homes to clean energy alternatives."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Portland Tribune — June 7, 2022

Portland adopts second phase of Residential Infill Project

"Zoning codes changed to create more opportunities to boost housing density."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


Portland Business Journal — June 7, 2022

Portland City Council gives go-ahead for more high-density housing

"Portland city commissioners are allowing developers to build even higher-density housing in single-dwelling zones in Portland."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


KGW — June 6, 2022

Portland City Council gives go-ahead for more high-density housing

"There are many perks when it comes to living in Portland. Many will argue access to housing is not one of them. People in city government are well aware of that."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


The Oregonian — June 3, 2022

Coming soon to Portland neighborhoods: more townhomes, six-plexes and other high-density housing

"Portland City Council unanimously approved a bevy of alternative housing developments that they say will provide lower-cost options and increase housing density within city limits."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


DJC Oregon — June 3, 2022

Portland widens development door in single-family zones

"Portland City Council this week unanimously approved zoning code amendments intended to allow greater housing diversity in the city’s residential neighborhoods."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


OPB — May 30, 2022

A vision for the future of cities

"Oregon was the first state in the country to ban single-family zoning in all but the smallest cities, meaning duplexes and triplexes can be built next door to single-family homes. The idea is to increase density within cities while preserving land for farms and wilderness in more rural areas."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


OPB — May 25, 2022

How Oregon is bringing ‘missing middle housing’ to the state

"Cottage clusters, townhouses and duplexes are some of the forms of housing commonly referred to as “missing middle housing.” Zoning rules have previously left them out, but that’s starting to change."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


Portland Mercury — April 4, 2022

The Risks and Rewards of Portland’s Clean Energy Fund

"How can a program that’s designed to break the mold of exclusionary bureaucratic city programs exist within a traditional oversight system?"

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


OPB — March 17, 2022

Portland’s ongoing response to the digital divide

"The pandemic shined a bright light on the digital divide in Portland and across the country, as schools and some workplaces went online almost overnight. Two years later, how has Portland responded to the issue?"

Mentions: Digital divide (Smart City PDX)


OPB — March 16, 2022

Portland Clean Energy Fund faces lawsuit and outcry from businesses

"The Portland Clean Energy Fund took another hit on Wednesday as a former grantee filed a defamation lawsuit against the environmental justice program over its decision to rescind a nearly $12 million clean energy grant."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Willamette Week — March 15, 2022

Andrea Durbin Steps Down as Director of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

"The former environmental advocate lasted a little less than three years on the job."

Mentions: Bureau of Planning and SustainabilityPortland Clean Energy Fund


The Oregonian — March 11, 2022

Portland’s massive clean energy program not accountable for climate or equity results, audit finds

"More than three years after its launch, a voter-enacted city of Portland program tasked with bankrolling clean energy projects and jobs has yet to set performance standards, finalize accountability systems or launch an equity plan, all required under its design. Those are among the findings of a city audit of the Portland clean energy program released Thursday."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


OPB — March 10, 2022

Portland Clean Energy Fund program is still missing key pieces, audit finds

"Portland’s voter-approved environmental justice program needs new climate action goals and guidelines on who is responsible for what, city auditors say."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Willamette Week — March 10, 2022

Cash-Rich Clean Energy Fund Needs Guidance From Council, Better Measurement, Auditor Says

"The petitioners who wrote the ballot measure tied its goals to the city’s Climate Action Plan, which included 20 objectives and 247 action items. But it expired in 2020."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The Salt Lake Tribune — March 3, 2022

‘Slow streets’ and dense housing: How Salt Lake might become more green

"Leaders from Portland and Vancouver share their strategies for building environmentally friendly cities."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project


The Southeast Examiner — Feb. 24, 2022

RIP2 Moves Forward After Amendment Discussions

"RIP2 addresses housing types allowed in all residential zones. This includes many specific actions and initiations, like permitting duplexes and other types of middle housing on buildable lots in the R10 and R20 zones."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project - Part 2


OPB — Feb. 24, 2022

New rules allow Portland homeowners to retrofit and adapt historic homes more easily

"The rules will allow people to retrofit their homes to make them more resilient to climate change, and also to add additional housing units."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


WIRED — Feb. 22, 2022

Why Cities Want Old Buildings Taken Down Gently

"A growing number of US cities are adopting “deconstruction” policies that involve taking structures apart by hand in the name of sustainability."

Mentions: Portland's Deconstruction program


High Country News — Feb. 22, 2022

Portland community leaders bring the heat to building standards

"An activist collective says making buildings carbon-free is just the start."

Mentions: Climate and Health Standards for Existing Buildings 


DJC Oregon — Feb. 18, 2022

Portland loosens historic preservation rules

"New rules adopted by the city of Portland will make it easier for developers to renovate historic properties while keeping the original structures intact."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Portland Business Journal — Feb. 17, 2022

Don't Count Portland Out 2022: Growing pains for a vaunted city climate fund

"Portland’s innovative program to address climate change through an equity lens expanded in the past year — and hit a bump."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


KOIN — Feb. 16, 2022

Protecting more nature with 'environmental zones' in Portland

"More water going into the ground means less runoff and flood risk."

Mentions: Environmental Overlay Zones


The Oregonian — Feb. 11, 2022

Portland officials detail potential havoc that would be unleashed on city by earthquake, oil spill

"Portland area officials are sounding the alarm on a potential nightmare scenario in which a major Pacific Northwest earthquake triggers one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history — and seeking ways to diminish the scale of the catastrophe."

Mentions: Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub 


The Oregonian — Feb. 9, 2022

Portland must present concrete findings to end fossil fuel activity at Zenith oil terminal, agency rules

"Portland officials must make a stronger case for their decision to reject a land use designation needed by embattled Zenith Energy to run portions of its fuel storage facility in Northwest Portland, a state agency has ruled."

Mentions: Comprehensive Plan


Portland Mercury — Feb. 7, 2022

Cleaning Up Portland's Anticipated Oil Spill Could Cost $2.6 Billion, Report Finds

"A massive, earthquake-induced oil spill in Portland’s Northwest industrial zone could cost upwards of $2 billion in damages and clean up costs, a county and city report found."

Mentions: Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub 


OPB — Feb. 7, 2022

Fuel spill in Portland after a major earthquake could be bigger than Deepwater Horizon, study finds

"Commissioned report finds unstable ground under hundreds of fuel tanks in Portland’s industrial Northwest could bring ecological and economic disaster after the big one hits."

Mentions: Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub 


Portland Business Journal — Feb. 4, 2022

LUBA: Portland can deny Zenith fuel terminal, but needs to make better case

"Portland had the authority to deny a key certification for Zenith Energy’s controversial fuel terminal in Northwest Portland, but the city needs to come up with a better explanation for why it did so, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals ruled on Thursday."

Mentions: Comprehensive Plan


The Oregonian — Feb. 3, 2022

Golden West Hotel, Portland’s ‘Black cultural hub’ before falling into disrepair, makes case for national recognition

"Rising five stories on a main boulevard, with striking dormer windows at the top, it was the largest, most luxurious, Black-operated hotel in the country..."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Willamette Week — Feb. 3, 2022

Land Use Board of Appeals Says City Needs Stronger Argument to Deny Permit for Zenith Energy

"The ruling puts the burden back on the city to further justify its decision."

Mentions: Comprehensive Plan


OPB — Feb. 3, 2022

Land-use board says Portland can deny Zenith oil-by-rail terminal, but more evidence needed

"The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals says the city of Portland has the authority to deny a key approval for a controversial oil-by-rail terminal, but the city needs to provide more evidence to back up its denial last year."

Mentions: Comprehensive Plan


Portland Mercury — Feb. 3, 2022

Oregon Land Use Board Affirms Portland's Right to Deny Zenith Permit

"Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) will uphold the city of Portland’s decision to deny Zenith Energy an operational permit as long as the city can provide additional evidence on why the operations of the oil transportation facility conflict with Portland’s environmental goals."

Mentions: Comprehensive Plan


The Oregonian — Jan. 28, 2022

Portland City Council votes to allow affordable housing, design changes in historic neighborhoods

"The council approved six updates to the city’s historic resources code, which dictates what changes can be made to homes or property in neighborhoods that have received 'historic' designation."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


KPTV — Jan. 27, 2022

Portland City Council votes to change rules regarding federal historic landmarks

"The city of Portland can now take a federal historic landmark and allow changes to be made to it."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Portland Mercury — Jan. 26, 2022

Portland Energy Fund Updates Grant Review Process After Controversy

"After public scrutiny of a grant recipient, Portland’s green energy grant program is bolstering its proposal review process ahead of its second year of funding."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


KGW — Jan. 26, 2022

'There's a lot of work to do right now': Downtown Portland businesses eye return of shoppers

"Business leaders say foot traffic around downtown is slow to return, but they are optimistic about what the summer will bring."

Mentions: Green Loop


The Skanner — Jan. 20, 2022

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

"Blumenauer argued Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, the Golden West Hotel, and Mt. Olivet Baptist Church should be included on the national list..."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Willamette Week — Jan. 19, 2022

Hundreds of Portlanders Are Living in Their Cars. Here’s How They Do It.

"About 30 people call this swath of city-owned Delta Park home. Some sleep in tents, but most reside in vehicles ranging from subcompact cars to full-size RVs. This encampment is illegal, but city officials look the other way."

Mentions: BPS City Planner Eric Engstrom quoted


Portland Business Journal — Jan. 14, 2022

PBJ Interview: How to make a smarter city with Portland's open data guy

"We are trying to promote the idea of digital justice around technology and information where technology and information should serve fairly to everyone regardless of who you are. I’m a technologist. I love the idea of having technology helping others."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


Portland Tribune — Jan. 8, 2022

2021 delivered 'warning signs of things to come' for Northwest summers

"June's unprecedented heat didn't just send people into a frenzy to buy portable AC units. It also delivered a brutal wake-up call that climate change is here."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The Oregonian — Jan. 6, 2022

Portland officials yank $12M award from unqualified clean energy firm, vow to improve vetting for future grants

"The Portland City Council on Wednesday rescinded a nearly $12 million award to a local nonprofit that the city planned to entrust to carry out life-saving work, citing an investigation by The Oregonian..."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The Oregonian — Dec. 19, 2021

Editorial: Cleaning up a Portland Clean Energy Fund mess

"Such poor vetting of the largest grant that the young program has ever awarded should trigger immediate changes. To the city’s credit, once Kavanaugh’s story was published, staffers acted quickly to verify Kavanaugh’s findings and explore options."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Willamette Week — Dec. 2, 2021

The rift over Ridwell in Portland trash hauling

"... breaks down the issue, answering questions like, why aren't trash haulers allowed to pick up items like batteries and light bulbs? And if other jurisdictions in the metro area have told Ridwell to stop its operations?"

Mentions: Portland Garbage, Recycling and Compost program


Willamette Week — Dec. 1, 2021

Who’s Afraid of a Ridwell Box?

"In October 2020, Ridwell asked the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability for permission to operate in Portland. On Dec. 8, the industry association that represents Portland’s nine franchised trash haulers emailed the bureau to object."

Mentions: Portland Garbage, Recycling and Compost program


Smart Cities Dive — Nov. 23, 2021

Smart cities grapple with equity issues heightened by the pandemic

"City leaders aim to help bridge the digital divide while providing better access to education, transportation, jobs and community engagement opportunities."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


Smart Cities Dive — Nov. 17, 2021

The future of smart cities: Leaders forecast more digitally just governance

"Over the next five years, smart cities will emphasize digital justice, community trust and data-led decisions, city leaders say."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


OPB/Think Out Loud — Nov. 9, 2021

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability proposes surcharge to reduce air pollution

"... really we can’t forget about our environment and the very real public health emergency that’s before us. That’s that Portland residents are at a very high risk for adverse health effects from air toxins." - Commissioner Rubio 

Mentions: Clean Air Fee


Portland Monthly — Nov. 5, 2021

Portland City Council Considers Changes to Its Historic Preservation Plan

"Under the proposed updates in the Historic Resources Code Project, developers would be able to demolish structures in several more situations, including in single-dwelling zones on federally designated historic districts on the National Register—but only if the demolition of the building could create housing that is more affordable or for more people."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code ProjectResidential Infill Project and PSC


KOIN — Nov. 3, 2021

Historic Districts: preserving culture or perpetuating segregation?

"This ongoing contentious debate has captured Portland residents attention since 2017 and is now being brought to Portland City Hall."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


The Oregonian — Nov. 2, 2021

Portland weighs changes to historic landmark designations 

"Residents ... have been polarized by the issue of historic preservation. The city council will review and possibly change some of those rules in the coming weeks."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Portland Tribune — Oct. 26, 2021

Portland: Air pollution surcharge would cost biz $2M yearly

"The proposed 'Clean Air Surcharge' would raise funds from 72 facilities across the city with state air quality permits."

Mentions: Clean Air Fee, Commissioner Rubio quoted


Portland Tribune — Oct. 25, 2021

Portland Clean Energy Fund's unspent cash hits $169 million

"The 1% surcharge on large retailers has collected significantly more revenue than originally expected."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


OPB — Oct. 25, 2021

Upgrades to old buildings can help with Northwest climate goals, but at a high cost

"Retrofitting programs make a difference in the Northwest, but the results are not enough to meet climate goals."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


KGW — Oct. 21, 2021

Portland gave out $3 million in prepaid debit cards for free Internet — but it is unclear how the money was spent

"A KGW investigation found the government program aimed at providing connectivity for low-income residents and people of color had structural flaws."

Mentions: Smart City PDX


Sightline Institute —Oct. 19, 2021

Bogus "Historic" Districts: The New Exclusionary Zoning?

"Interlocking loopholes would let homeowners in richer parts of Portland veto city council's maps - but there’s a fix."

Mentions: Historic Resources Code Project


Investigate West — Oct. 8, 2021

Cleaner buildings? We need to spend billions

"Retrofitting programs across Cascadia make a difference, but results are probably too small and too slow."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Land Matters Podcast — Sept. 29, 2021

Season 2 Episode 7: Addressing Structural Racism in Urban Planning

"The planners’ initiative is part of a reckoning about structural racism in American society—economic forces, institutions, and interactions that have discrimination baked in."

Mentions: History of exclusionary zoning in Portland


The Oregonian — Sept. 29, 2021

Portland’s massive clean energy fund plans $100M spending spree to fight climate change, promote racial and social justice

"Portland city officials are preparing to bankroll a new bonanza of clean energy projects and jobs geared toward the city’s historically marginalized communities."

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


Portland Tribune — Sept. 22, 2021

Multi-cultural, high density district planned in SW Portland

"The city's vision for the westside includes high density housing, transit focused development as part of the West Town Center Plan."

Mentions: West Portland Town Center Plan


Portland Tribune — Sept. 10, 2021

My view: More climate action needed for underserved Portlanders

"After being excluded from environmental funding for decades, communities of color and our allies came together to prioritize solutions that would be led by and benefit those most impacted by climate change." - Rep. Khanh Pham

Mentions: Portland Clean Energy Fund


The New York Times — Sept. 1, 2021

Sustainability Advocates Ask: Why Demolish When You Can Deconstruct?

"More cities are adopting deconstruction ordinances that require older homes to be taken down for salvageable parts, but they face challenges in trying to expand their efforts."

Mentions: Portland's Deconstruction program


Portland Tribune — Aug. 17, 2021

Our View: Prioritize investments to fight the climate crisis before it's too late

"For decades, the city of Portland has been a climate change leader. But the last couple of months have offered tragic and sobering reminders that we are living in a climate-altered world." - Commissioner Carmen Rubio and BPS Director Andrea Durbin

Mentions: Climate Emergency Declaration, EV-ready infrastructure


Sightline Institute — Aug. 1, 2021

We ran the rent numbers on Portland's 7 newly legal home options

"After a seven-year campaign, Portland on Sunday formally lifted a series of 97-year-old bans on seven different types of homes."

Mentions: Residential Infill Project


Waste Dive — July 16, 2021

City hiring woes and solutions; New $16B pitch for recycling infrastructure

"...leaders in Portland, Oregon, seek to widen their worker candidate pools."

Mentions: Waste Equity Workplan


Bloomberg Philanthropies — July 14, 2021

Bloomberg Philanthropies Recognizes 16 U.S. Cities For Using Data Most Effectively

"Data-informed strategies have enabled these newly Certified cities to increase resident satisfaction, reduce carbon emissions, address homelessness, and more."

Mentions: Portland's use of data to improve public services and engagement and increase transparency.


C40 Cities — July 8, 2021

A ‘Letter to Nature’ in Portland from Mayor Ted Wheeler

"Nature breathes life into our cities. As part of a new campaign to highlight the importance of urban nature to our everyday lives, C40 has invited ... thought leaders from cities around the world to write a ‘Letter to Nature’."

Mentions: Environmental Overlay Zones, Climate Action