Transportation justice advocate Vivian Satterfield is city’s new chief sustainability officer

Vivian Satterfield in 2021. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

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!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Pamela
Pamela
1 year ago

Hooray!

Steve B
Steve B
1 year ago

Vivian rocks! This is great news for our city.

joan
1 year ago

Such great news for Portland!

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

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.

Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan
1 year ago

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”).

Atreus
Atreus
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Linehan

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.

katew
katew
1 year ago

Awesome news! Congrats, Vivian!

FDUP
FDUP
1 year ago

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.

Doug Klotz
Doug Klotz
1 year ago
Reply to  FDUP

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.

Granpa
Granpa
1 year ago

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

Coreball
9 months ago

While I applaud her success, I can’t really jump for glee because sustainability officers, especially in Portland, are often overlooked. In the midst of the din of daily life, their words get lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, they lack the organizational clout to overturn entrenched commercial practices. However, I hope the best for her.

Hello Neighbor
4 months ago

That’s great to hear! Vivian Satterfield, a transportation justice advocate, has been appointed as the new chief sustainability officer for a city. This is a significant development as it demonstrates the city’s commitment to sustainability and equitable transportation.