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Portland Clean Energy Fund releases first draft of Climate Investment Plan

News Article
The five-year investment plan outlines PCEF’s commitment to climate justice.
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Portland, Ore.— The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) today released the preliminary draft of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund’s (PCEF) inaugural five-year Climate Investment Plan (CIP). The CIP outlines proposed funding allocations, strategies, and outcomes for program investments from 2023 through 2028. The preliminary draft serves as a launching point for public review, discussion, and is intended to solicit initial feedback.  

“PCEF Staff have been out in the community hearing and incorporating feedback and working hard to ensure the elements of this inaugural CIP reflect the priorities of the community it’s intended to serve,” said BPS Director Donnie Oliveira. “We are proud to share this preliminary draft and look forward to refining the plan over the next several months so we can get started on this important work.”

At the direction of Portland City Council, PCEF began developing the five-year CIP last October to set funding priorities and allocations to achieve major carbon-emissions reductions and build resilience in ways that benefit those most impacted by the climate crisis.

“We are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis here in our backyards every single season. And our frontline communities are feeling the impacts even more,” said PCEF Program Manager Sam Baraso. “It is an honor to work with community members to develop a plan that not only reduces harmful carbon emissions but does so in a way that makes all of us stronger and more resilient.”

Funding priorities

Programs and projects in the CIP must fall within one of the following categories defined in PCEF’s governing code (Portland City Code Chapter 7.07):

  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • Transportation decarbonization projects.
  • Green infrastructure projects.
  • Regenerative agriculture projects.
  • Climate jobs training, apprenticeships, and contractor development projects.
  • Organizational capacity building projects.
  • Other projects that reduce or sequester greenhouse gases (GHGs).

City Council directed PCEF to launch two strategic programs immediately based on timeliness, need, community impact, and greenhouse gas savings opportunity.

  • Growing an equitable tree canopy to support the City’s 2035 tree canopy cover goals – $40 million over five years.
  • Efficient and renewable energy upgrades in new and redeveloped regulated affordable multifamily housing – $60 million over five years.

The Portland City Council requested that PCEF develop these two strategic programs when they evaluated and updated the PCEF program in October 2022.

Three funding pathways

PCEF funds projects and programs through three different pathways: community responsive grants, strategic programs, and the green infrastructure maintenance reserve.

  • Community responsive grants are awarded for projects designed and implemented by community-based nonprofit organizations. These grants prioritize carbon-emissions reduction and climate workforce training projects that are led by, and serve, communities living on the frontlines of climate change. PCEF has successfully launched two grant funding cycles under the community responsive grants program, which have been publicly referred to as RFP #1 and RFP #2.
  • Strategic programs are targeted programs designed with input from community members and subject matter experts. These programs are outlined in the CIP and may be implemented through partnerships with nonprofit organizations, government entities, or businesses. These programs are selected based on shared City and community priorities, carbon emissions reduction opportunity, timeliness, need, and social impacts.
  • Green infrastructure maintenance reserve is funding for the long-term maintenance of green infrastructure to ensure the sequestration of carbon emissions in a manner that aligns with PCEF’s purpose.

Next steps

Members of the public can review the preliminary draft CIP on PCEF’s website. Comments can be submitted for consideration by:

PCEF will accept comments through April 7, 2023.

After considering comments on the preliminary draft, PCEF staff will refine a full draft of the CIP and publish it for public review and comment. The full draft will contain more detail on program elements and updated goals and strategies and will be presented to the PCEF Committee for deliberation and comment. The Committee will recommend a final CIP to City Council in summer 2023.

First in the nation

PCEF was the first climate-fund measure created and led by communities on the frontlines of climate change. The success of the measure was reliant upon the leadership of communities of color, deep relationship building, and a diverse coalition of supporters. As the PCEF program evolves, it is guided by a deep commitment to community engagement, accountability, and prioritizing those most impacted by a changing climate.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) develops creative and practical solutions to enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future. BPS collaborates with community partners to provide comprehensive land use, neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental planning, and urban design; research, policy and technical services to advance green building, energy efficiency and the use of solar and renewable energy, waste prevention, composting and recycling, and a sustainable food system; and policy and actions to address climate change.

About the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund

The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) initiative was passed by 65% of Portland voters in November 2018. It provides a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that our community's climate action efforts are implemented to support social, economic, and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, particularly communities of color and low-income residents. The initiative was supported by a broad coalition of groups and individuals and represents the first environmental initiative in Oregon led by communities of color.  

Contact

Elizabeth Stover

Senior Communications Strategist, Portland Clean Energy Fund