Mayor Ted Wheeler appointed the final four members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee during a City Council meeting at Portland Community College's Southeast campus Thursday, Nov. 7.
The final four committee appointees were recommended by the initial five committee members who were nominated — one each — by the five council members. The final appoints were made one day after the anniversary of Portland voters passing the Portland Clean Energy Initiative at the Nov. 6, 2018. general election.
"A year ago, community members and organizations took a stand for a green future by passing the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, a nationally acclaimed model for climate action," Wheeler said following the council meeting. "I'm excited to announce the final appointments to the talented inaugural committee. It signals progress towards implementing a vision where all Portlanders, especially working families, have access to a green future with clean energy, living wage jobs."
The City Council appointed the first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
The committee will help administer the fund that is anticipated to raise between $54 million and $71 million through a 1% city business license tax increase on large retailers doing business in Portland. The funds are to be spent on clean energy projects that primarily benefit marginalized communities.
Although it was approved by 65% of voters, the fund has proved controversial after the city ruled it applies to more types of businesses than supporters said during the campaign, including garbage collection companies, which are raising their fees to pay it. The Portland Business Alliance is in discussion with the council about businesses that should be exempt from the increase.
The four members appointed on Nov. 7 are:
• Faith Graham, director of the Network for Energy, Water, and Health in Affordable Buildings, a national social impact and learning network at the intersection of affordable housing and energy efficiency. Faith was the managing director of MPower Oregon from 2012-17 and brings decades of experience in sustainable and affordable housing work. As a lawyer, Faith brings valuable legal perspective as well as experience in contract negotiations and complex real estate transactions and financing arrangements.
• Andrea Hamberg, an environmental public health professional with both personal and professional experience in public agencies, nonprofits and small businesses committed to environmental justice. Andrea has worked within the environmental justice framework in her current position supervising the Healthy Homes and Communities Team at the Multnomah Co. Health Department as well as at the Oregon Health Authority, where she led the Oregon Climate and Health Program and coordinated the Oregon Health Impact Assessment Program.
• Jeffrey Moreland Jr., a contractor with professional experience in a range of contract types for local, state and federal government as well as private clients. Jeffrey's direct experience navigating complex contracting systems in multiple government and private systems brings critical insight and invaluable knowledge to designing PCEF to achieve its intended outcomes. Jeffrey also brings strong relationships within the contracting community and a deep understanding of the construction industry to the effort.
• Ranfis Villatoro, the Oregon State Coordinator for the Bluegreen Alliance where he works with labor and environmental organizations to advance climate solutions and create quality jobs. Ranfis has also worked as a community organizer for the Latino/immigrant community, including with Causa Oregon, Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality, CAPACES Leadership Institute and Voz Workers' Rights Education Project. Ranfis has valuable experience in grantmaking, fundraising, organizing, and advocating for workforce and contract equity through community benefit frameworks and agreements.
The council members and their nominees are:
• Mayor Ted Wheeler: Maria Gabrielle Sipin, a professional transportation planner, public health professional, and community health advocate with extensive experience working with low-income communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, and LGBTQ youth in clinical and community settings on mental health services, transportation access, and housing.
• Commissioner Amanda Fritz: Dr. Megan Horst, an Assistant Professor in the school of Urban Studies & Planning, Portland State University. She brings substantial urban agriculture and local food systems expertise that is recognized both locally and nationally. Ms. Horst also brings a strong equity lens and experience in food justice work.
• Commissioner Nick Fish: Michael David Edden Hill, a journeyman electrician who, in addition to experience in wind power design and deployment, also brings experience in construction management on one of the largest solar photo voltaic systems in the country. Edden Hill has a solid understanding of informal support ecosystem necessary to support paths through pre/apprenticeship programs.
• Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty: Shanice Brittany Clarke, the Director of Community Engagement at Portland Public Schools. She brings deep community engagement experience having worked directly with 75 to 100 community organizations annually that serve Portland's diverse communities. In addition, Clark is also a national delegate on the Climate Justice Alliance and currently sits on the boards of OPAL Environmental Justice and the Coalition for Women's Identities.
• Commissioner Chloe Eudaly: Robin Wang, a seasoned business, nonprofit, and community leader that with a passion for deploying capital to benefit underbanked communities. As a former owner of a small business focused on sustainable living, he brings a wealth of expertise in both sustainability and small business operation. Wang is also the executive Director of a local community development financial institution and volunteers on several boards.
"We have such a committed and talented group of people joining the PCEF committee,. I'm excited to see what comes next as we continue building a program that is the first of its kind in the nation, thanks to the community's efforts," Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who co-sponsored the measure before she was elected to the council, said of the first appointees.
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