Portland is about to benefit from $750 million in funding focused on climate action and environmental justice, and the plan guiding the city’s investment was developed with insight from Portland State faculty and students.
The Portland City Council unanimously approved the Portland Clean Energy Fund’s Climate Investment Plan on Sept. 27. Associate Professor of Urban Studies Megan Horst and Maria Sipin ‘18, spent the last year working with the Portland Clean Energy Fund to produce and refine the climate investment plan.
“PCEF is a program Portlanders should be proud of,” Horst said. “There was nearly a year of deep and wide community engagement, involving residents, leaders, and city agency staff, and I think this plan is truly a ‘people’s plan’ in that way. As a global climate justice leader, we are forging a new way of doing things. Other cities and states are starting to create their own climate-resilient programs informed by the work we are doing.”
The Climate Investment Plan will fund community-responsive grants for nonprofits and 15 strategic programming areas over the next 5 years, particularly prioritizing communities already feeling the negative impacts of climate change — including low-income populations, communities of color, and people experiencing disabilities. Projects range from improvements to Portland’s transportation system and clean energy upgrades to those communities most impacted by climate change to planting more trees in areas vulnerable to heat and supporting a more diverse workforce in green career pathways.
Horst noted that while the plan’s approval is something to celebrate, the funding is only a fraction of what the city needs to invest in order to meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal.
PSU will continue to play a role in this critical work, with opportunities for faculty, staff, students and alumni to contribute to research, implementation and evaluation of programming that’s funded by the plan.
“PCEF’s benefits will reach so many areas of Portland, even beyond the priority populations,” Horst added. “The diversity of investments in this five-year plan can jumpstart a longer-term model for locally funding clean energy projects.”
Check out the Climate Investment Plan here.