Starting February 1st, the City of Portland will have a new chief sustainability officer and the person hired for the role might be familiar to many BikePortland readers. It’s Vivian Satterfield, a transportation and environmental justice activist who previously worked at nonprofits Verde NW and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.
You might also recall Satterfield from our podcast interview with her in October 2021. To have someone like Satterfield in this key role guiding the City of Portland’s strategy to battle climate change and reduce carbon emissions is a very promising bit of news.
According to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability the chief sustainability officer is responsible for Portland’s climate action programs. The job description specifically noted that her role would include, “Reducing carbon emissions from buildings and the transportation sector,” and “Collaborating with land use and transportation planning programs to integrate climate and sustainability priorities into other citywide plans and initiatives.” Given her experience on transportation issues and existing relationships with Bureau of Transportation staff, Satterfield is likely to hit the ground running at time when we desperately need action and progress on these fronts.
And for what it’s worth, Satterfield is also an everyday rider who gets to work on an electric bike.
Here’s to hoping she kicks Portland’s transportation-related climate change policies and projects into high gear! Congrats Vivian!
Vivian rocks! This is great news for our city.
Such great news for Portland!
Congrats to her, but I’m not jumping for joy b/c most sustainability officers in most organizations – even ones in Portland – tend to be sidelined. Their voices are drowned out and lost in the cacophony of everyday business. They have to push against established ways of doing business and don’t have the institutional muscle to overcome the inertia. Good luck to her, though.
How does this relate to the plan to remove “Sustainability” from the name and responsibilities of the Planning & Sustainability Commission? (Note: apparently the Planning & Sustainability Bureau retains the “Sustainability”).
My understanding is that going forward there will be a Planning Commission and a Sustainability Commission. Two separate commissions. But the bureau itself, BPS, will still include both topics.
Awesome news! Congrats, Vivian!
I know Jonathan is the eternal optimist, but IMO a sincere liberal environmental justice CV does not necessarily make her the City’s alt trans savior. That will be proven by actions and deeds, and the City Bureaucracy in Portland is designed to wear the best intentioned people down. It’s not even clear how much her job will revolve around transportation issues and if so what her influence on PBOT policy would be.
I believe Vivian will do this job well, including “reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector”. I do know some ex-BPS employees who might vouch for the “wear you down” comment, and hope that won’t be the case for her. I do think it is very important for BPS to address carbon in transportation, and not just by electrification, but also by changes in zoning (the main tool of planning) to allow and encourage dense building to create and expand sections of the city where people can mostly get around without a car.
Sustainability-The ability to maintain rates of resource harvest, pollution creation and resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely combined with the ability to support a defined level of economic activity indefinitely
Good luck with that