Management and implementation of the new community benefits fund gets started with new staff.
The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF), which Portlanders overwhelmingly voted for last November, is becoming a reality! The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and our coalition partners are thrilled to announce the team that will get the PCEF programmatic work off the ground is getting hired – and off to work.
Meet the team
Sam Baraso has joined BPS as the program manager for PCEF and will be leading the design, development and ultimate implementation. Sam brings a wealth of government experience and community leadership to this new effort. He will work closely with other City staff, City Hall and members of the PCEF community coalition to establish the fund’s grant program and grant committee to start funding clean energy projects in 2020.
We also recently welcomed Jaimes Valdez to the PCEF team. In addition to being core program staff, Jaimes will play a significant role in leading policy development and strengthening our community partnerships. Jaimes has spent the past 15 years working to broaden opportunities for people to access the benefits of clean energy and achieve social and environmental goals.
Cady Lister, the third program staff, will join the team on July 8. Cady brings nearly 20 years of experience in renewable energy advocacy, community engagement and project management, including running programs that have delivered more than $100 million in grants, loans and training. An application review is currently underway for the fourth program staff recruitment. We anticipate having five or six staff on board by the end of the calendar year.
Community grant committee recruitment
On June 21, applications for the PCEF grant committee closed after remaining open for five weeks. Program staff are currently working with the Office of Community & Civic Life and City Hall to define a selection process that reflects the outcomes of the ballot initiative and community vision of the program. The Mayor and the City Commissioners will each appoint one member of the grant committee, and then those grant committee members will recommend the remaining four members for City Council’s appointment from the applicant pool.
While the immediate priority for the program is to get fully staffed and establish the nine-person grant committee, the next year will be incredibly busy one for the fund and our community. Efforts this fall will include engaging community members and hosting networking and capacity-building events. This is a critical step to ensure successful grant applications in 2020. Also, during the coming months, the grant committee and program staff will develop the policies, procedures, infrastructure and application timelines that enable a competitive funding process for next year.
The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) was created by a local ballot measure (Measure 26-201) passed in November 2018. PCEF is anticipated to bring $54 – $71 million in new revenue for green jobs and healthy homes for all Portlanders. The initiative aims to ensure that the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in a manner that supports social, economic and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, including the development of a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the field of clean energy.