Portland, Ore.— On Wednesday, Sept. 27, City Council unanimously approved the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund’s (PCEF) inaugural five-year Climate Investment Plan (CIP). This proposal will invest more than $750 million in programs that advance climate justice and support the City of Portland’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The CIP represents a pivotal step forward in advancing a climate-resilient Portland.
“As we continue to face unprecedented climate disasters, the Climate Investment Plan will deliver highly impactful programs that advance climate action while strengthening the communities hit first and hardest by extreme climate events,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “It is more urgent than ever to build on the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund’s mission to reduce and remove the systemic barriers that have left climate-justice solutions out of the reach of too many Portlanders for far too long.”
The CIP outlines strategies and outcomes for community-led clean energy projects and climate solutions from 2023 through 2028. Grounded in climate research, deep community engagement, and multiple rounds of input from residents, businesses, subject matter experts, government partners, and community organizations, the CIP ensures the solutions address the needs of Portland residents most impacted by a rapidly changing climate. The PCEF Committee recommended the CIP to City Council on July 20, 2023.
“There is no other fund like PCEF anywhere else in the country,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “We're leading the way in designing climate solutions with and for community who is on the frontlines of climate change. And because of this, of course, this program is being watched by many, many people all across the nation and therefore we have to do it right.”
“The City of Portland has long been an international leader in climate action,” said BPS Director Donnie Oliveira. “Today’s unanimous approval from City Council further commits us to that role and establishes the City as an example of how to implement climate-justice solutions by, and for frontline communities.”
“Our city has seen and felt the impacts of our changing environment, especially during the last few years,” said PCEF Program Manager, Sam Baraso. “Already, the programs PCEF has launched over the last two years have shown substantial community benefits. We’re looking forward to working collaboratively with community, industry, and public and private partners to implement the CIP.”
With today’s unanimous approval of the CIP, PCEF staff will begin the process of issuing the program’s third Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit applications for Community Responsive Grants. The next round of Community Responsive Grants (RFP 3) will be open for applications later this year.
In addition to Community Responsive Grants, PCEF will issue RFPs for strategic programs within each of the seven eligible funding categories in the CIP:
- 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.
These RFPs will roll out as each strategic program is developed. Prior to the adoption of the CIP, 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.
Details about Community Responsive Grants and Strategic Programs can be found on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s website.
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.