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About the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund

Purpose, goals, timeline, and frequently asked questions about PCEF.

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Purpose

The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) was created by a local ballot measure (#26-201) that is anticipated to bring $44 - $61 million in new revenue for green jobs and healthy homes for all Portlanders. The ballot measure passed with 65 percent of voters in support, making it Oregon's first-ever environmental initiative created and led by communities of color.

In the face of climate change and federal inaction, PCEF offers a community-led vision, grounded in justice and equity, that builds citywide resilience and opportunity. The initiative ensures that the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in a manner that supports social, economic and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, including the development of a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the field of clean energy.

For information on tax filings and revenue collections of the Clean Energy Surcharge (Portland City Code Section 7.02, Business License Law), please visit the City’s Revenue Division’s website.

Funding a clean energy future for underserved communities

Climate change has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income residents. The Fund prioritizes these communities living on the "frontlines" of climate change with clean energy funding, job training programs and green infrastructure projects. This will help ensure they are prepared for a changing climate as we move toward our goal of an 80-percent reduction in carbon emissions and transitioning to 100-percent renewable energy in Portland.

The program is funded through a 1% surcharge on the retail sales of certain large retailers within Portland. The Fund finances programs that meet the following priorities:

  • Clean energy projects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
  • Regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure projects.
  • Clean energy jobs training.
  • Programs that both reduce greenhouse gases and promote economic, social and environmental benefits.
A pie chart showing the allocation of funds, 40 to 60% for clean energy programs, 20 to 25% for workforce development, 10 to 15% for green infrastructure, and 5% for innovation

All PCEF projects prioritize Portland’s underserved populations and neighborhoods, including communities of color and low-income residents. Examples of community benefits include solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades on multifamily housing, new workforce training programs in clean energy manufacturing and installation, shared food gardens, and increased tree canopy in heavily concreted neighborhoods.

Community benefits committee and City staffing

The Fund is overseen by a nine-member Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Committee made up of experts and community members. The PCEF Committee will make funding recommendations to the Mayor and City Council and evaluate the effectiveness of the Fund achieving the goals of the initiative.

Per the initiative, membership of this committee must reflect the racial, ethnic and economic diversity of the City of Portland; include at least two residents living east of 82nd Avenue; and possess significant experience in the types of projects supported by the Fund. Project staff are housed at the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Timeline

The community coalition that created and led the ballot measure is working together with the City of Portland to implement a successful and standard-setting grant program that faithfully reflects the will of Portland voters. Program design and development is expected to take 18 months, with a goal of launching the Fund and beginning grant awards in Fall 2020.

A graphic showing the timeline of the fund

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Background

Supporters of the ballot measure

The ballot measure campaign was supported by over 200 community organizations, major affordable housing and homelessness service providers and advocates, Business for a Better Portland, the Oregon Food Bank, 16 neighborhood associations, the faith community and elected officials.

The Steering Committee of the community coalition, who developed the measure and are now working with the City to implement the Fund, includes the NAACP Portland Branch, Native American Youth and Family Center, Coalition of Communities of Color, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Verde, 350 PDX, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Audubon Society of Portland, Columbia Riverkeeper and the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.