The broad network of groups backing the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative (known as the Portland Clean Energy Fund) held a press conference today outside Portland City Hall to announce they had collected over 60,000 signatures for the initiative in under two months. With support from hundreds of volunteers, the Portland Clean Energy Fund collected 25,000 more signatures than needed to qualify for the November election. The large number of signatures gathered exceeded the campaign’s goals and reflects the strong level of support for the Portland Clean Energy Fund at a time when measures to promote renewable energy are being rolled back at the federal level.
“Portlanders have shown us that they share our goal of bringing opportunity through good paying jobs in clean energy and renewable energy infrastructure like solar power to Portland’s most underserved communities,” said chief petitioner Reverend E.D. Mondainé, president of the NAACP Portland Branch and Pastor of the Celebration Tabernacle Church in North Portland.
“Right now corporations are experiencing record profits while many communities in Portland are experiencing record poverty,” said Khanh Pham, Manager of Immigrant Organizing at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). “This measure will make billion-dollar corporations share some of those record profits with Portlanders who need it most.”
The Portland Clean Energy Fund would raise more than $30 million per year to support new solar power and other renewable energy, energy efficiency housing upgrades, and other climate resiliency efforts. The measure includes living-wage job training for low-income Portlanders and people of color. The Portland Clean Energy Fund would be funded by a 1 percent business license surcharge that would only apply to mega-retailers with more than $1 billion per year in nation-wide gross revenue.
34,156 Portland voter signatures are required to qualify a city initiative for the ballot. Supporters are confident that the more than 60,000 signatures collected will be more than sufficient to qualify.