Commissioner Rubio and Mayor Wheeler Announce Historic Investments in Climate Work

Press Release
The Mayor’s proposed 2022-2023 budget will include nearly $2.4 million for climate work

Portland, Oregon – Ahead of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s full-budget 2022-2023 announcement, Commissioner Carmen Rubio announced that the Mayor’s proposed budget will include nearly $2.4 million to fund critical climate work. This unprecedented investment will enable the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to take accelerated, aggressive climate action rooted in racial justice.

“Climate change is not stopping, or even slowing—and our opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience is fast closing,” said Commissioner Rubio. “I am grateful that the Mayor supported the need for these investments now. Our talented team at the Bureau stands ready to put them to quick work.”

Rubio also cautioned that this allocation, which primarily comes from the City’s general fund, must be just the beginning of the City’s critical investments. Portland has a history of bold environmental leadership, and Rubio expressed hope that, “Portland’s investment will model responsible, local climate leadership at a time when so many states and the federal government continue to fail this basic moral test.”

"The effects of climate change are happening now. Portlanders are experiencing extreme heat in the summer and unprecedented low temperatures in the winter—we must do more. I am determined to keep Portland leaning forward in addressing the climate crisis," Mayor Wheeler said. "I am working closely with Commissioner Rubio to ensure we preserve Portland for future generations."

Among the Mayor’s proposed investments are:

  • $955,000 to confront how the built environment and transportation systems can mitigate the impact of climate change—especially on communities of color and low-income communities in East Portland. Examples of this work include creating more flood-, fire-, and heat-resilient built environments, and reducing extreme temperatures on high-traffic, wide streets like 82nd Avenue.
  • $721,000 to decarbonize our electric grid and our transportation sector. Examples include staff capacity to implement the communitywide green tariff provisions in HB 2021, advance community solar and solar plus battery storage projects, support the Portland Bureau of Transportation in implementing Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility (POEM) Task Force recommendations, develop code requirements for EV-ready infrastructure, and further investigate land-use tools to facilitate zero-emissions delivery vehicles in the Central City. 
  • $450,000 to fund staff support for climate and sustainability work in the Bureau. Specifically, this investment will fund three critical positions:
    • a coordinator to advance the Bureau’s policy work on reducing emissions from the manufacture, transport, installation, and disposal of building materials (known as embodied carbon)
    • a coordinator to assist in the development of policy around internal cost of carbon
    • a coordinator to help evaluate and improve the way we work with  Portlanders on climate policy.

These positions are critical to advancing urgently needed climate policy and to increase the opportunity for Portlanders to participate in policy development. This work will be a key part of a new Chief Sustainability Officer’s leadership. BPS will begin recruitment for this position later this year.

  • $250,000 to develop a Clean Air Action Plan. Currently, the city of Portland, and the entire Metro region, lacks a clean air action plan. This work will build upon previous planning efforts in coordination with the county and Metro. In addition, the City has released an RFP to help shape a clean industry hub - an effort to keep industrial and manufacturing jobs here in Portland while also improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.

Further details on these can be found in BPS’s full budget request.

About Commissioner Rubio

Commissioner Carmen Rubio joined the Portland City Council in January 2021. She oversees Portland Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Office for Community Technology, and the Office of Equity and Human Rights; has liaison responsibilities to the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, League of Oregon Cities, Metro Policy Advisory Committee, and Portland Community Media; and serves as Portland’s Arts and Culture Commissioner.


Will Howell

Communications Director (Rubio)