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Portland City Council approves changes to Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund program structure

News Article
Proposed near-term PCEF community investments include $40 million for urban tree canopy, $60 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to multi-family housing, and more.

Portland, Ore.— Today, in a unanimous vote, Portland City Council approved amendments to City Code Chapter 7.07, which defines the program structure of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF). The changes were first proposed by Commissioner Carmen Rubio on Sept. 15, 2022.

“Now that these code changes are approved, PCEF will be able to implement the necessary streamlined processes, accountability mechanisms, planning and measurement framework and administrative capacity,” said Commissioner Rubio.  “These are the essential building blocks that PCEF needs to deliver carbon reduction and green workforce training projects that are led by, and serve, Portland communities living on the frontlines of climate change.”

What do these code changes mean for PCEF’s priority populations?

The new legislation enables PCEF to make investments at a greater scale, while continuing to prioritize low-income communities and communities of color. The approved code amendments also enable more targeted funding in geographic areas of the city, such as east Portland, that have fewer neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations available to implement PCEF projects.

With today’s approval by Council, the changes direct that:  

  1. PCEF staff, with guidance from the PCEF Committee, develop and implement Strategic Initiatives 1 (Tree Canopy Improvements - $40 million investment) and 2 (Efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in new and redeveloped affordable multi-family housing - $60 million investment). PCEF staff must work closely with internal and external stakeholders to develop the initiatives and then incorporate the initiatives into the first Climate Investment Plan (CIP).
  2. The PCEF Committee recommend to City Council the first CIP, which will set funding priorities and funding levels for the expenditures for PCEF investments.
  3. The program’s administrative cap increases from 5% to 12%. Administrative expenses include salaries and benefits for program staff, as well as overhead expenses related to managing the program and activities related to public outreach and communication. 

Eligibility for grants and contracts

With the code changes, PCEF will have the ability to distribute funds through both grants and contracts. Grants will be limited to nonprofits and government entities, whereas contract administration opportunities will be open to nonprofits, government entities, and for-profit businesses. Eligibility will be further defined in the CIP.

For updates and notifications of community conversations and other opportunities to participate in the work of PCEF, sign up to receive email updates.  

Read an FAQ on this topic. 

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.