Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Rubio announce $2.4 million climate change investment

Posted by on May 3rd, 2022 at 10:08 am

Part of the money would fund efforts to decarbonize the transportation sector and encourage zero-emission deliveries.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Carmen Rubio are calling a plan to spend $2.4 million an on climate change-related work an “unprecedented investment” that will enable them to “take accelerated, aggressive climate action rooted in racial justice.”

Rubio, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said in a press release this morning that, “Climate change is not stopping, or even slowing—and our opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience is fast closing.”

The funding will be included in the 2022-2023 BPS budget request and will include several transportation-related initiative, three new staff positions, and more.

Here’s where the money will go:

$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.

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$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.

Mayor Wheeler will host a public hearing this Thursday (5/5) on his proposed budget. The final 2022-23 budget will be adopted in June.

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Clem Fandango
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Clem Fandango

They say: “accelerated, aggressive climate action rooted in racial justice.”
I hear: “Jobs shuffling papers and writing reports for our friends.”

Dan
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Dan

I know the intent is good, but usually when you have to bend over backwards to tell people you’re not racist, it’s not a good sign

lvc
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lvc

~40 Nissan Leafs at 30K/each = 1,200,000
~160 cargo e-bikes @ 5.5K/each = 880,000
Hire a few of people to procure the vehicles and get them out the door.

Give them away to people from a suitably low income household who are willing to trade their suitably old and low MPG vehicle for one of the vehicles listed above. Recover a few bucks sending the old clunkers to a scrap yard.

That would accomplish more for climate change and social justice than whatever 2.4 million worth of reports and plans are going to do.

If the city would like to hire me, I’ll charge $100 to decide what “low income” and “suitably old and low MPG” mean.

SolarEclipse
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SolarEclipse

Mayor Wheeler,
How about not forcing the ~4,000 City employees back to having to commute downtown and thus increasing the City’s own carbon footprint?
I know some City employees and they’ve been very successful at getting their work done from home and see no point in having to slog a back to an office. Don’t be surprised at the exodus of employees not only from the City but other businesses that are forcing them to have rear-ends in their office chairs for no good reason.

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

Got a kick out of the recent WSJ article about the sophisticated spyware (they call it bossware) companies use to spy on their workers at home. Scary, but interesting.

Dwk
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Dwk

Not having 4000 people downtown that should be there is helping to kill downtown business.
I sort of want the people who work for the public to actually deal with the public.
The city is working so well with them at home isn’t it?

Transportation Engineer
Guest
Transportation Engineer

It wasn’t working BEFORE they started working from home. 1/2 of them are doing jobs that should not be done at all. All they are doing is costing us tax money that we can’t afford. Then they’ll get their lavish government pensions after a few years of shuffling papers and trying to look busy. Send most of them home so they can get useful work to help the world.

Transportation Engineer
Guest
Transportation Engineer

How about cutting the number of city employees in half? I guarantee there are more than that who could be cut and nobody would miss them. The city government would be just a dysfunctional as it is now, but would cost tax payers 1/2 as much. Win-win for tax payers.

Dan
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Dan

$2.4 million dollars? The PPB budget is over $200m/year. This is not a “defund the police” post, just commenting that a budget of 2.4 million doesn’t exactly scream “this is a top priority”. Kind of the opposite, in fact.

Ben G
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Ben G

Meanwhile a few posts below ODOT asks for a cool 120mil. 50x more so that way I-205 can be 2 lanes wider under the guise of Earthquake readiness and adding a few sidewalks. =/

dwk
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dwk

A city that can’t even pick up garbage is going to fix the climate…..

soren
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soren

…and our opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience is fast closing.”

No it’s not. Even after we exceed 2 C there will be plenty of opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. This kind of doomerism only makes taking action seem more impossible.