Portland, Ore. — The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) today announced a new name for its heat-response program — “Cooling Portland: A PCEF-Funded Climate resilience program.” While the purpose and process for the program remains the same, the name change better reflects the goals and ongoing efforts of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) and its partners to distribute efficient, portable heating and cooling units to Portlanders most at risk of adverse health complications due to excessive heat.
In its inaugural year, Cooling Portland set a goal of installing 3,000 units. This goal was surpassed with 3,100 units being installed in 2022. Building on this success, the program has increased this year’s target, aiming to install 4,000 units to eligible recipients in 2023.
"We are incredibly proud of the program's success in its debut year," said Cooling Portland Program Manager Jaimes Valdez. "Reaching this milestone puts us firmly on track to achieve our five-year goal of installing 15,000 units. More importantly, it reaffirms our commitment to improving the resilience of Portlanders who need it most in extreme climate events."
Cooling Portland’s partners and roles
Cooling Portland was designed to distribute 15,000 efficient heat pump/cooling units over a period of five years. To effectively accomplish that goal, responsibilities for the program are divided into three distinct roles:
- Grant manager: PCEF serves as Cooling Portland’s grant and program manager, providing administration and oversight of grant funds and selecting community distribution partners.
- Equipment purchasing partner: Earth Advantage was approved by the Portland City Council to serve as Cooling Portland’s equipment purchasing partner. Earth Advantage purchases and warehouses high-efficiency heat pump and air-conditioning units and distributes those units to community distribution partners (CDPs). Earth Advantage is also responsible for the contractual management of CDPs to ensure timely, accurate, and safe installation of units in the homes of vulnerable community members.
- Community Distribution Partners: CDPs directly serve the community — identifying and prioritizing recipients based on eligibility criteria, scheduling delivery, installing units, and providing education materials. CDPs fall into one-of-two categories: Housing providers or community-based organizations that provide other types of services.
Applications open for additional CDPs
In its second year, Cooling Portland is looking to increase capacity within the program by onboarding a few additional housing providers and community-based organizations that have the demonstrated capacity to serve Portlanders in this role. Applications opened Thursday, May 11 and will remain open until Friday, May 26. Successful onboarding of additional CDPs could increase the program's goal for units installed in 2023.
Cooling Portland provides efficient heat pump/cooling units to Portland’s low-income residents, prioritizing those most at risk of adverse health impacts of extreme heat.
Eligibility for the program requires recipients to live in the City of Portland and have an income that is 60% or less of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size. Priority is given to vulnerable populations, defined as those with low incomes who also have two or more of the following risk factors:
- Are over age 60
- Have medical conditions that increase risk of heat-related illness
- Are living alone
How to request a cooling unit
The CDPs are responsible for identifying and selecting recipients for the Cooling Portland program. To enquire about receiving a cooling unit, Portlanders should contact a participating CDP based on their individual circumstances.
Housing Provider CDPs: Portlanders living in a housing unit managed by one of the following participating housing providers should contact their property managers to determine their eligibility:
- Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare
- Central City Concern
- Home Forward
- Innovative Housing
- Northwest Housing Alternatives
- PCRI – Portland Community Reinvestment Inc.
- REACH CDC - Note : REACH CDC is only serving people who are homeowners eligible and participating in their Community Builders program. If you live in a rental property managed by REACH CDC, contact one of the community-based organizations below.
Housing providers are currently only serving people currently living in housing they manage.
Community-Based organizations: The following organizations are serving low-income Portlanders and have intake processes to determine eligibility and prioritization.
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.