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Commissioner Rubio's Statement on Heat-Response Grant Recipient

News Article
We need to deliver cooling units as soon as next summer for those most at risk from extreme heat events triggered by climate change. Saving lives depends on the successful execution of this heat-response grant. And that’s the bottom line for me.
Published

After reading The Oregonian/OregonLive’s article on Sunday, I directed city attorneys and BPS staff to verify the information independently and to re-review Linda Woodley’s grant proposal on behalf of Diversifying Energy. Our fiduciary responsibility as a council and as partners in this work with PCEF is paramount – and we have done our due diligence as quickly and as thoroughly as possible given the project’s urgency. We need to deliver cooling units as soon as next summer for those most at risk from extreme heat events triggered by climate change.

As someone who has worked in the community for a long time, restorative justice is a value I believe in. Time and again we’ve seen how our justice system can be a barrier to someone’s ability to make changes and reestablish their life. However, even through this lens, and after giving Ms. Woodley the opportunity to respond, there remain concerning inconsistencies that call into question Diversifying Energy’s ability to get lifesaving cooling units to vulnerable Portlanders.

Saving lives depends on the successful execution of this heat-response grant. And that’s the bottom line for me: to move the dial on improving outcomes for the lives of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color, vulnerable and low-income residents, and core to that is to responsibly steward these valuable resources to meet the PCEF mission. I want to preserve public trust in this new, innovative program, so that it can continue funding climate action in frontline communities – work that will save more lives and build a more resilient city.

The decision-making authority for this grant now rests with City Council and so, at our first January meeting, I will bring a new ordinance to award the grant to Earth Advantage, pending a thorough completion of reference checks. I hope that they are still ready to be a partner in delivering these life-saving units for frontline community members.

Contact

Will Howell

Communications Director (Rubio)