The Portland Clean Energy Initiative: What Happens Now?


Portland voters made history in November 2018: Measure 26-201 passed by 65%, making the Portland Clean Energy Initiative the first-ever Oregon environmental initiative created and led by communities of color. Oregon PSR was pleased to support this incredible measure by gathering signatures, getting out the vote, adding staff capacity to the campaign’s Steering Committee, field team, and communications team as well as publishing a new report detailing the initiative's remedies to existing health inequities.

Now, the City of Portland is working with the coalition that passed Measure 26-201 to implement this first-of-its-kind climate justice initiative. Leaders from communities on the frontlines of climate change continue to be at the helm of this innovative effort to fund green jobs and healthy homes for all Portlanders.

Here’s what to expect as the Portland Clean Energy Fund gets off the ground:

  • Program staff will be hired by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to support and run the clean energy grant program
  • Diverse residents of Portland will be recruited to fill a nine-person grant committee to review applications for clean energy projects and submit recommendations to Portland City Council for which projects to fund
  • Billion-dollar retailers will begin to pay into the program and money will become available for projects beginning in 2020
  • New estimates from the City Revenue Division project $50 million or more every year for green job training, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, urban green infrastructure including community gardens and tree canopy planting, and more
  • Communities of color and low-income Portlanders will be prioritized in receiving benefits from projects, as required by the text of Measure 26-201

Oregon PSR will continue to support the leadership of communities on the frontlines of climate change as we implement this historic initiative and share our success story with other cities around the world who seek to act on climate change using a justice- and equity-based model.

Article written by Damon Motz-Storey, Oregon PSR Clean Energy Organizer.