Damon Motz-Storey (PCEF community coalition comment)
Portland, ORE. — Portland City Council made history today by appointing the first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee. These inaugural members will nominate the remaining four members of the nine-member committee, which is charged with reviewing proposals and selecting grant recipients for clean energy projects that will benefit communities of color and low-income households.
Stated Mayor Ted Wheeler, “The Portland Clean Energy Fund is a nationally acclaimed model for climate action and I am excited to have such a dynamic and talented slate of appointments on the PCEF committee to help ensure we get it right. This is an important milestone toward ensuring that all Portlanders, especially working families, have access to a green future with clean energy jobs.”
“We have such a committed and talented group of people joining the PCEF committee,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “I’m excited to see what comes next as we continue building a program that is the first of its kind in the nation, thanks to the community’s efforts.”
And Khanh Pham, Organizing Director at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and a leader in the PCEF community coalition, said, "We are thrilled to welcome these initial five Portlanders who have the expertise to lead the program to a successful launch. As the measure states, these individuals have a great depth and breadth of skills, are committed to the goals of the City's Climate Action Plan, and represent our racial and geographic diversity. We are so excited to support them as they start setting up the PCEF grant program and filling the final four spots on the committee."
ABOUT THE APPOINTEES
Each of the five Commissioners selected one nominee.
Maria Gabrielle Sipin, Mayor Wheeler’s choice, is a professional transportation planner and community health advocate whose work emphasizes the importance of investing in bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure and addressing displacement, safety, and accessibility for communities of color. She has experience working with people experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ youth in health care settings and continues to push for mobility justice and participatory budgeting through her grassroots nonprofit involvement.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz nominated Dr. Megan Horst, an Assistant Professor in the school of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University. She possesses substantial urban agriculture and local food systems expertise that is recognized both locally and nationally. Ms. Horst also brings a strong equity lens and experience in food justice work.
Michael Edden David Hill is a journeyman electrician who, in addition to experience in wind power design and deployment, also has expertise in construction management on one of the largest solar photo voltaic systems in the country. Mr. Hill, who was Commissioner Nick Fish’s choice, has a solid understanding of informal support ecosystems necessary to support paths through pre/apprenticeship programs.
Commissioner Hardesty nominated Shanice Brittany Clarke, the Director of Community Engagement at Portland Public Schools. Ms. Clarke offers deep community engagement experience, having worked directly with 75-100 community organizations annually that serve Portland’s diverse communities. In addition, Ms. Clark is a national delegate on the Climate Justice Alliance and is also a proud member of the Sunrise Movement, supporting their 4-year plan to make climate action an urgent priority in every corner of our home.
And Robin Wang, a seasoned business, nonprofit, and community leader with a passion for deploying capital and harnessing business to benefit the greater good, was nominated by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. As a former owner of a sustainable lifestyle business, Mr. Wang brings a wealth of expertise in both sustainability and small business operation. Mr. Wang is the executive director of a local community development financial institution that supports underbanked entrepreneurs and serves on Prosper Portland’s Council for Economic and Racial Equity.
These five appointments will run for four years, ending on September 25, 2023. Now that they have been confirmed, they will work to recommend four additional appointments for two-year terms.
About the Clean Energy Fund
The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits initiative was passed by 65% of voters in November 2018. It will provide a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in a manner that supports 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.
PCEF is anticipated to bring $54 – $71 million annually in new revenue for living wage jobs, sustainable agriculture, green infrastructure, and residential/commercial renewable and efficiency projects in the Portland area, including the development of a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the field of clean energy. Bringing together a diverse grant committee is the first of several milestones involving community members to prepare for PCEF’s first grant cycle anticipated to begin in Spring 2020.