Portlanders pass clean energy fund to benefit low-income people and communities of color


two children walking out of a home to school in the morning

On November 6, Portland residents passed the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (Measure 26-201), also known as the Portland Clean Energy Initiative.

The program will generate money from a tax on certain large retailers and will fund clean energy projects like energy efficiency, home weatherization and solar, as well as green energy job training. This fund is intentionally designed to support projects that benefit low-income individuals and communities of color.

The passage of the initiative—the first of its kind created and led by communities of color—shows the commitment and excitement Portlanders have for clean energy and how it can be used as one way to improve the lives of disadvantaged and minority communities. The ballot measure was led by a coalition of community-based organizations, including Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Coalition of Communities of Color, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Portland Branch, Native American Youth and Family Center, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and Verde.

Now that the initiative has passed, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is charged with assisting a 9-member committee in getting started. The committee members are selected by the Mayor and City Council. The tax will begin to be levied on January 1, 2019, though the City of Portland Revenue Division has until May to identify the impacted businesses.

It’s too early to know exactly how Energy Trust may work with the Portland Clean Energy Fund. People and businesses working with the Portland Clean Energy Fund may also be eligible for Energy Trust services and incentives, although it will take some time to understand the rules of the program and the intersections with Energy Trust programs and offers. We look forward to helping customers navigate available incentives and support from both Portland Clean Energy Fund and Energy Trust.