Oak Leaf Park Reopens with Solar Array, New Mobile Homes

***en español abajo***

Building climate resilience requires making clean energy and energy efficiency investments with frontline communities.

March 2018, Verde published the Living Cully Community Energy plan to provide a blueprint towards that end. The plan outlines neighborhood-scale energy conservation and renewable energy projects that prevent displacement and build resilience by lowering utility bills, increasing social services, and preparing for emergencies.

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Most recently, Verde convened partners to explore an energy project at the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park, ultimately building a 10kW solar array at the park’s new community center. The solar array offsets 100% of the energy usage in the building. This is the second solar array that Verde has facilitated in the Cully neighborhood, the first a 76kW solar installation at St. Charles Church.

“The energy cost savings that the solar array provides allows us to keep overhead costs down and apply those resources to more directly support the populations we serve,” said Jordan Griffin, on-site manager at the Oak Leaf with non-profit owner St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County (SVDP).

Cully is home to six mobile home parks, where tenants’ energy burdens—the percent of month income directed towards utility costs—are typically higher than the city-wide average. This is especially true for older mobile homes that lack energy efficiency measures.

Verde seeks energy projects that support mobile home residents to lower energy burdens and prevent displacement. Verde was able to work closely with park owners St. Vincent de Paul, as the Oak Leaf Park is the first park in Multnomah County owned by a non-profit. SVDP purchased the park in 2017 after residents and community organizations came together to save the park from closure.

Verde worked with St. Vincent de Paul, BlueSky Solar, Energy Trust of Oregon, Neil Kelly and Bonneville Energy Foundation to explore a variety of energy options at the Oak Leaf Park. The team learned that direct solar installations were unfeasible based on the weight limits that manufactured houses can sustain, and community solar technology is not yet advanced enough to implement at this scale. The team ultimately landed on a solar array that would defray utility costs and amplify the services SVDP can provide at the new community center.

The solar array installation accompanied other park renovations. SVDP evaluated park conditions after taking over ownership in 2017, and determined it was necessary to replace all mobile units with new mobile homes. Providing new homes with significant upgrades and energy efficiency measures is just as important as providing clean energy investments, and will significantly lower utility costs. While upfront costs are high, replacing mobile homes are becoming more financially accessible thanks to Energy Trust of Oregon’s pilot program to retire old and deteriorating manufactured homes and replace them with energy-efficient homes.

During park renovations, Oak Leaf residents have been living off-site in temporary housing for almost a year. You are invited to join the Welcome Home celebration at the park 4556 NE Killingsworth on July 20th from 11 am - 2 pm.

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Construir resiliencia climática requiere hacer inversiones en energía limpia y eficiciencia energetica con las comunidades de primera línea.

En marzo de 2018, Verde publicó el plan de energia limpia de Cully para proporcionar un plan para ese fin. El plan describe la conservación de energía a nivel de vecindario y los proyectos de energía renovable que previenen el desplazamiento y crean resiliencia al reducir las facturas de servicios públicos, aumentar los servicios sociales y prepararse para emergencias.

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Más recientemente, Verde convocó a socios para explorar un proyecto de energía en el parque de casas móviles Oak Leaf, construyendo en última instancia, una instalación solar de 10kW en el nuevo centro comunitario del parque. La matriz solar compensa el 100% del uso de energía en el edificio. Esta es la segunda matriz solar que Verde ha facilitado en el vecindario de Cully, la primera instalación solar fue una de 76kW en la iglesia de St. Charles.

“El ahorro en costos de energía que provee la matriz solar nos permite mantener los costos generales bajos y aplicar esos recursos para apoyar más a las comunidades que servimos” dijo Jordan Griffin gerente en sitio de Oak Leaf con el propietario sin fines de lucro San Vicente de Paul del Condado de Lane (SVDP).

Cully es hogar para seis parques de casas móviles donde las cargas de energía de los inquilinos, el porcentaje del ingreso mensual dirigido a los costos de los servicios públicos, son generalmente más altos que el promedio de la ciudad. Esto es especialmente cierto para las casas móviles más antiguas que carecen de medidas de eficiencia energética.

Verde busca proyectos de energía que ayuden a los residentes de casas móviles a reducir las cargas de energía y evitar el desplazamiento. Verde pudo trabajar en estrecha colaboración con los propietarios de los parques de St. Vincent de Paul, ya que el Oak Leaf Park es el primer parque en el Condado de Multnomah que es propiedad de una organización sin fines de lucro. SVDP compró el parque en 2017 después de que los residentes y las organizaciones comunitarias se unieron para salvar el parque del cierre.

Verde busca proyectos de energía que ayuden a los residentes de casas móviles a reducir las cargas de energía y evitar el desplazamiento. Verde pudo trabajar en estrecha colaboración con los propietarios de los parques de San Vicente de Paul, ya que el Oak Leaf Park es el primer parque en el Condado de Multnomah que es propiedad de una organización sin fines de lucro. SVDP compró el parque en 2017 después de que los residentes y las organizaciones comunitarias se unieron para salvar el parque del cierre.

Verde trabajó con St. Vincent de Paul, BlueSky Solar, Energy Trust of Oregon, Neil Kelly y Bonneville Energy Foundation para explorar una variedad de opciones de energía en el Parque Oak Leaf. El equipo se enteró de que las instalaciones solares directas no eran factibles en función de los límites de peso que las casas manufacturadas pueden soportar, y la tecnología solar de la comunidad aún no está lo suficientemente avanzada para implementarse a esta escala. El equipo finalmente concluyó en una matriz solar que sufragaría los costos de servicios públicos y amplificaría los servicios que SVDP puede proporcionar en el nuevo centro comunitario.

La instalación de paneles solares acompañó otras remodelaciones del parque. SVDP evaluó las condiciones del parque después de hacerse cargo de la propiedad en 2017, y determinó que era necesario reemplazar todas las unidades móviles con nuevas casas móviles. Proporcionar nuevas viviendas con mejoras significativas y medidas de eficiencia energética es tan importante como proporcionar inversiones en energía limpia, y reducirá significativamente los costos de los servicios públicos. Si bien los costos iniciales son altos, las casas móviles de reemplazo se están volviendo más accesibles financieramente gracias al programa piloto de Energy Trust of Oregon para retirar casas prefabricadas deterioradas y antiguas y reemplazarlas con casas que ahorran energía.

Durante las renovaciones del parque, los residentes de Oak Leaf han estado viviendo fuera del sitio en viviendas temporales durante casi un año. Te invitamos a unirte a la celebración de Welcome Home en el parque 4556 NE Killingsworth el 20 de julio de 11 am a 2 pm.

Verde’s Position on HB 2020: Oregon’s Cap-and-Trade Program Fails to Address Harms to Frontline Communities

After careful consideration, Verde has determined that we cannot support HB 2020. While we appreciate the hard work legislators and other advocates put into the bill, especially to create elements centered on frontline communities and workers, we have concerns that the HB 2020 does not sufficiently address the potential harms it may cause to or exacerbate for those communities. We do not find that benefits and burdens of Oregon’s future cap-and-trade program are equitably balanced. Click below to read our full statement.

Verde stands ready to continue to provide analysis through an environmental justice lens throughout the future of the cap-and-trade program and we will hold policymakers accountable. Oregon must do right by its frontline communities. The following policy and program recommendations will forward this aim. Current aspects of the climate program that should be maintained or expanded include:

  • A declining cap on emissions.

  • Allocation of 40% of the Climate Investment Fund to impacted communities and 10% to tribes.

  • Few exemptions: marine, aviation, and railroad fuel — and a potential phase in of all of the aforementioned pollution sources—emissions attributable to landfills, cogeneration facilities operated by public universities or the Oregon Health and Sciences University, and fuel importers below a designated threshold.

  • Strong labor and procurement standards, derived through input from labor advocates.

Future modifications to the program should include the following:

  • A cap that achieves ‘net zero’ by 2050 with interim targets that help ensure a strong trajectory.

  • Ensure that governing bodies are vested with meaningful authority to make changes to the program and set policies.

  • A comprehensive study of market supply and demand balance, including the effect of current free allowance schema, as a precursor to rulemaking; continued monitoring and adjustment throughout the program must follow.

  • Excluding aggregation of multiple entities by a single holder.

  • Limitations on banking or carrying forward allowances including progressive cap adjustments that account for or retire a certain number of allowances in private holding to ensure continued and meaningful reductions throughout the program.

  • If Climate Investment Fund dollars are fully spent for tribes and impacted communities, an increase in the allocation along with funding prioritization for the full duration of the program (no sunset).

  • Expansion of the Highway Trust Fund to fund projects through the Transportation Decarbonization Investment Account such as transit, the transition of medium-, heavy- duty and off-road diesel vehicles, solutions to expand transportation options for rural or environmental justice communities, and relief for transportation burden; regular transportation burden analysis may be necessary to help prioritize funding.

  • Eliminate offsets or reduce compliance allotments for offsets while increasing the share of offset projects that must have “direct environmental benefit” in Oregon; in order to support projects that would otherwise qualify as offsets, increase Climate Investment Fund allocations for tribes and natural and working lands and prioritize these projects.

  • Produce a report in advance of rulemaking that details the impact of removing the Energy Facility Siting Council CO2 emissions standards. Consider reinstating the standards or developing an alternative method to address emissions through the siting process. Future climate policy work should include:

  • A 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

  • A climate authority or department grounded in environmental justice and governed by the Environmental Justice Taskforce (re-designated as a Commission) to ensure that Oregon’s climate, energy, and environmental policies lead with strong, community-focused analysis.

Future climate policy work should include:

  • A 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

  • A climate authority or department grounded in environmental justice and governed by the Environmental Justice Taskforce (re-designated as a Commission) to ensure that Oregon’s climate, energy, and environmental policies lead with strong, community-focused analysis.

Neighborhood youth get outside with Club Aves!

Written by Raina Brot-Goldberg, Environmental Educator and Confluence Environmental Center AmeriCorps Member

**En espanol abajo**

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This spring, Verde took Cully neighborhood youth outdoors to spend time exploring natural areas, develop skills and foster community with peers. At Verde, we believe all youth deserve access to environmental education and outdoor learning, regardless of race, income, immigration status, or neighborhood.   

“It feels nice to get outside, and away from it all,” said 11 year old Venessa on our first of four Club Aves trips of the Spring. Venessa and 19 other students were hiking around Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, where Metro guide Alejandra Cortes showed us native animal pelts and taught us how to use binoculars to find birds of prey.

Club Aves is an outdoor education afterschool program. Each month elementary school aged students from Hacienda CDC’s Expresiones program go on excursions to different natural spaces in the Portland Metro area to learn about native birds, animals and plants. This year we visited Smith and Bybee Wetlands natural area, toured the Portland Nature Sanctuary with the Audubon Society, “Canoed the Slough” with Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and hiked around the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Plankhouse.

Historically, Club Aves youth have lacked green spaces to play in. The majority of students live in the Cully neighborhood. Even after the community organized to build Cully Park, the neighborhood still lacks the environmental investments that define Portland’s inner city neighborhoods. High-traffic corridors, proximity to industrial areas and a low percentage of streets with sidewalks make it difficult to access the green spaces that do exist, like Cully Park and the Columbia Slough.

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Cully Neighborhood youth spend their time exploring natural areas, developing skills as naturalists all while fostering community with peers and growing their interest in the natural world. By partnering with Hacienda CDC, Club Aves increases access for neighborhood youth to natural spaces and promotes positive experiences outdoors.

Club Aves helps youth get outside to green spaces beyond neighborhood parks  by breaking down the barriers that limit everyday access to natural spaces, such as transportation and culturally relevant educational materials. On our trip to Smith and Bybee students expressed interest in returning back to the parks we had visited with their family. In response, we invited families to join our trip to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, where parents learned how to use binoculars alongside their kids. These moments of curiosity and enthusiasm are what define and shape positive environmental experiences.  Verde will continue addressing mental, physical, and social benefits of outside exploration through Club aves, making outdoor activities more accessible for youth and their families.

The Club Aves adventure supplies, excursions and time spent working on the project are all made  possible with the support from Hacienda CDC, US Fish and Wildlife, Metro Nature in Neighborhoods Education and Outdoor Experiences Grant, Confluence Environmental Center Americorps, Audubon Society of Portland and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. Thanks for helping our youth get outside and into nature!

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¡Los jóvenes del vecindario Salen con Club Aves!

Por Raina Brot-Goldberg

Esta primavera, Verde llevó a los jóvenes del Barrio Cully al aire libre para que pasaran tiempo explorando áreas naturales, desarrollar habilidades y fomentar la convivencia con sus compañeros. En Verde, nosotros creemos que todos los jóvenes merecen educación medioambiental, y aprendizaje al aire libre, sin importar su raza, ingresos, condición de inmigrantes, o Barrio.

“Se siente bien salir y alejarse de todo”, Dijo Venessa de 11 años En nuestro primero de cuatro viajes de Club Aves en la primavera. Venessa y otros 19 estudiantes Más hicieron caminatas alrededor del Área Natural de Humedales Smith y Bybee.Dónde la guía de Metro Alejandra Cortez Nos mostró pieles de animales Nativos y nos enseñó a usar binoculares Para encontrar aves de rapiña.

Club Aves es un programa de educación al aire libre después de la escuela. Cada mes, estudiantes en edad de escuela primaria del programa Expresiones de Hacienda CDC Van a excursiones a diferentes espacios naturales en el área metropolitana de Portland Para aprender sobre aves nativas, animales y plantas. Este año fuimos al Área Natural de Humedales Smith y Bybee.Recorrimos el santuario natural de Portland con la Sociedad Audubon, “fuimos en canoa a través del Slough” con el Concejo de la Cuenca del Columbia Slough, e hicimos una caminata por el Refugio de Vida Salvaje y Casa de Tablas de Ridgefiel.

Históricamente, la juventud de Club Aves ha carecido de espacios verdes en los que jugar. La mayoría de los estudiantes viven en el Barrio Cully. Aún después de que la comunidad se organizó para construir el Parque Cully, El vecindario sigue en carencia de las inversiones ambientales que definen los barrios urbanos del interior de Portland. Corredores de alto tráfico, Proximidad áreas industriales Y un bajo porcentaje de carreteras con acera hacen difícil El acceso a los espacios verdes existentes entre ellos el Parque Cully y el Columbia Slough.

La juventud del barrio Cully pasa su tiempo explorando áreas naturales, desarrollando habilidades como naturalistas Al mismo tiempo que fomentan la convivencia con sus compañeros y aumentan su interés por el mundo natural. Al asociarse con Hacienda CDC, Club Aves incrementa el acceso De la Juventud del barrio a espacios naturales y promueve experiencias positivas al aire libre.

Club Aves Ayuda a la juventud a salir a espacios verdes más allá de los parques del vecindario a través del rompimiento de las barreras que limitan el acceso cotidiano los espacios naturales, tales como transporte y materiales educativos culturalmente relevantes. En nuestro viaje al Área Natural de Humedales Smith y Bybee los estudiantes expresaron su interés en regresar con su familia a los parques que habíamos visitado. En respuesta a ello invitamos a las familias a unirse a nuestro viaje al Refugio de Vida Salvaje y Casa de Tablas de Ridgefiel, donde los padres aprendieron a usar binoculares al lado de sus hijos. Estos momentos de curiosidad y entusiasmo son lo que define y da forma a experiencias ambientales positivas. Verde continuará abordando beneficios mentales, físicos y sociales De la exploración externa a través de Club Aves, haciendo que las actividades al aire libre sean más accesibles para los jóvenes y sus familias.

La aventura de Club Aves sus suministros, excursiones y tiempo dedicado a trabajar en el proyecto son posibles gracias al apoyo de Hacienda CDC, US Fish and Wildlife, la beca en Educación de los vecindarios y Experiencia al aire libre de Metro Nature, Centro de Confluencia Ambiental Americorps, Sociedad Audubon de Portland y el Consejo de la cuenca del Columbia Slough. ¡Gracias por ayudar a nuestros jóvenes a salir y entrar en la naturaleza!


Asset Transfer from Enhabit kick-starts Affordable Small Home Program

Verde and Enhabit share goals of advancing Affordable Small Homes, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s), as one strategy to address the region’s affordable housing crisis. Enhabit is an Oregon non-profit dedicated to energy efficiency and, more recently, ADU’s. To help accelerate the development of affordable ADU programs envisioned by citywide community-based collaborators, Enhabit is providing its resources, designs, and engagement tools to Verde, a leader in catalyzing equity-first community building strategies.

Empowering Green Leaders to take Action // Empoderando Líderes Verdes para Tomar Acción

Everyone should have access to the tools and information they need in order to make the changes they want to see in their communities.

“When you attend programs [like Lideres Verdes] you learn that you have a power. You have the power to organize more people and make changes for your community,” said Melecia Torres, a 2019 Lideres Verdes participant, “It’s called empowerment.”

Students Dig Deep to Combat Climate Change

Students Dig Deep to Combat Climate Change

This winter, neighborhood youth are learning to confront climate change and displacement in their community; and it all begins with a garden.

J’hane and Cierra hop on a yellow school bus with the other Multnomah Youth Corps (MYC) students once a week to join Verde and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council in building rain gardens on the properties of low-income homeowners.

Celebrating a Year of Success

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On behalf of the Verde staff, board, and community, thank you for your support! This past year has been transformational for our organization. We’ve grown in many ways: read about it all in our very first annual report.

We completed construction of Cully Park, led an effort to secure the City of Portland’s first ordinance to protect vulnerable mobile home park residents from displacement, and passed the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, creating an annual fund of an estimated $30 million for renewable energy projects that support low-income communities and communities of color.

As an organization, we continue to innovate and perform in building environmental wealth in our communities and prevent displacement as those investments are made.


Bienvenidos a Raina!

Verde welcomes Raina Brot-Goldberg to our outreach team, our second Confluence Environmental Center AmeriCorps member. Raina will be working closely with our Education Coordinator Nestor Campos to support our youth programs. You will see her around coordinating our annual Cully Critter Cruise, leading field trips to the Columbia Slough natural areas, building solar panels with Cully youth, and rebooting the Club Aves neighborhood birding group!