Students Dig Deep to Combat Climate Change

**En español abajo**

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.

“It gives me the experience to help people in need, and help people interested in [rain gardens],” says J’hane.

“And we are working with the environment,” Cierra adds.

The Cully Youth Rain Garden Project engages youth from Reynolds Learning Academy MYC program and Hacienda CDC Expresiones youth in hands-on projects that solve storm-water management problems in the Cully area. Students learn about watershed health, ecology and landscaping. During the rain garden installation, they put together all they have learned in class, while also getting their hands dirty.

Rain gardens are creatively designed to collect storm water, reduce flooding, sewage overflows, and pollution as well as provide habitat for native plants and fauna. In addition to the environmental benefits, the gardens provide a suite of benefits for homeowners: reducing damages and repair costs from flooding, reducing storm water utilities and enriching the landscape.

The program continues a partnership between Verde and Habitat for Humanity that started in 2014. Working together, the organizations find low-income homeowners who participate in other Habitat programming and are interested in having a rain garden in their yard. Verde’s Youth Rain Garden program models how environmental investments can be tied to social and economic outcomes for low-income, communities of color. This has been seen through environmental education for underserved youth and economic/environmental assets for low-income homeowners and environmental education for youth of color.

“We can use what we learn in different areas of our life,” said Cierra.

Both Cierra and J’hane are in their second year of participating in building rain gardens, and they feel confident in their abilities. Cierra talks about building her own rain garden, putting the skills she has learned on a resume, or even starting her own business.

The garden supplies, education materials and time spent planning the curriculum are all made possible by Verde’s funders, the Charlotte Martin Foundation, Metro Nature Education, CWSP Neighborhood to the River, Confluence Environmental Center Americorps, NW Area Foundation, Gray Family Foundation, and the Timbers. Thanks for teaching our youth to build resilient communities!

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Este invierno, jóvenes alrededor del vecindario están aprendiendo cómo enfrentar el cambio climático y desplazamiento en su comunidad; lo empieza con un jardín.

J’hane y Cierra son estudiantes de “Multnomah Youth Corps” (MYC) un programa de la escuela alternativa Reynolds Learning Academy. Cada semana, vienen por autobús escolar amarillo con sus compañeros para reunir con Verde y Columbia Slough Watershed Council a construir jardines de lluvia en tierra propiedad de personas de bajos ingresos.

“Me da la experiencia a ayudar a personas necesitadas, y ayudar a personas interesadas en jardines de lluvia,” dice J’hane.

“Y estamos trabajando con el medio ambiental,” añade Cierra.

El Programa de Jardines de Lluvia dirigido por Verde involucre jóvenes de MYC y Hacienda CDC Expresiones programa después de la escuela en proyectos reales que resuelven problemas de aguas pluviales en Cully. Estudiantes aprenden acerca de salud de cuencas, ecología y trabajos en la economía verde. Se suben las mangas y se ponen juntos todo lo que han aprendido por la construcción de un jardín de lluvia.

Jardines de lluvia están diseñados creativamente para recoger aguas pluviales y ayudan a reducir las inundaciones y la contaminación, así cómo promover hábitat para las plantas y la fauna nativas. Además, proveer beneficios por el dueño de casa porque reducen las dañas de las inundaciones, reducen costos del servicio público de aguas pluviales y hermosear la tierra.

El programa sigue un socio con Verde y Hábitat para la Humanidad. Las organizaciones escogen dueños de bajos ingresos que participan en los otros programas de Hábitat y los que están intestados en tener un jardín de lluvia.  El programa nos muestra que inversiones ambientales puedan resultar de beneficios sociales y económicas, como inversiones ambientales y económicas para los dueños de bajos ingresos y educación ambiental para jóvenes de color.

“Podemos aplicar lo que aprendimos en diferentes áreas de nuestra vida,” dice Cierra. J’hane y Cierra tienen dos años participando en este programa, y se sienten más confiadas en sus capacidades. Cierra sueña de construir su propio jardín de lluvia, poner las habilidades en un resumen o empezar su propia empresa.

Los materiales educativos, materiales y tiempo usado para preparar el plan de estudios se hacen posible nuestros financiadores, incluyendo Charlotte Martin Foundation, Metro Nature Education, CWSP Neighborhood to the River, Confluence Environmental Center Americorps, NW Area Foundation, Gray Family Foundation, y Timbers. Gracias para enseñar nuesto jóvenes a contsruir comunidades resistente.

 



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!

¡Hoy, celebramos! ¡Mañana, pa’lante!

Thanks to supporters like you, we have many election victories to celebrate!

Just minutes after the polls closed, local news agencies announced the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, Measure 26-201, passed by a strong margin: 63% to 35%!  This is truly a historic achievement by communities of color in coalition with mainstream environmental organizations, faith institutions, neighborhood associations, and more.

Defending and Uplifting Our Communities: Verde's Guide to Voting November 2018

***En español abajo.***

Portland Clean Energy Initiative: Yes on Measure 26-201

Verde supports the Portland Clean Energy Initiative because it ensures low-income communities and communities of color have access to the green energy revolution that is coming.

Low-income communities and communities-of-color have borne the burdens of the fossil-fuel economy and have fewer resources to be able to withstand the impacts of climate change. In addition, these communities have been left out of the city of Portland’s sustainability movement, and the Portland Clean Energy Initiative centers these communities to be the leaders in climate change adaptation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Verde presents the Living Cully Community Mobility Needs Assessment

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EVs, Uber and Lyft, Bird, Autonomous Vehicles - our options for getting around are quickly changing and expanding. Living Cully is interested in understanding how these new technologies can help Cully residents meet community needs. For this reason, Living Cully developed the “Living Cully Community Mobility Needs Assessment.”  

The assessment focuses on “Clean Mobility.” Clean Mobility refers to forms of transportation technology or programs that reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions. Examples of Clean Mobility are:

·        electric vehicles, e-bikes and e-scooters

·        car-ride programs such as Taxis, Lyft and Uber

·        car-share programs such as SmartCar, Car2Go and traditional car rental services

·        adequate transit programs

·        carpool programs

·        walking, biking and rolling

By investing in greater clean mobility options for Cully residents, we can take local action on climate change and make it easier for people to get around the city better.

During the spring and summer of 2018, Living Cully talked to over 120 Cully residents via surveys and focus groups about their transportation experiences and needs. The Assessment identifies four clean mobility recommendations to move forward in the Cully neighborhood.

·        Launch a Cully Neighborhood Shuttle Pilot

·        Provide More EV and E-bike Education

·        Research Alternatives to Financial and Technological Requirements for Clean Mobility Participation

·        Explore Utilizing Rideshare Credits for Senior Residents

Living Cully’s next step is to identify funding to move forward the communities’ recommendations. You can read the full Living Cully Community Mobility Assessment here.

Verde Leadership Transition

[Sent on behalf of Verde board co-chairs Desirée Williams-Rajee and Juan Muros]

Dear Verde Community,

On behalf of the Verde Board of Directors, we are excited to share our decision to hire Tony DeFalco as Verde’s next Executive Director, effective July 1. Our founder, Alan Hipolito, will take on a new role, Director of Special Projects, starting on that same date. We will celebrate Alan’s leadership and many accomplishments at the Cully Park celebration on June 30 (Stay tuned for more details).