City of Bend awarded grant for energy planning project

Will help create community climate action plan

BEND, Ore. - The City of Bend announced Monday it has qualified for a matching grant from Partners for Places, a national matching grant program that invests in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and the well-being of all residents. Funding will support the city working with the Bend community to increase energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The city of Bend, in partnership with The Environmental Center and The Oregon Community Foundation, submitted a proposal to Partners for Places in July for a project to engage diverse voices in creating a community climate action plan that balances equity, efficiency, economic development and meaningful climate benefits.

“We are honored to receive support from Partners for Places for this project and look forward to working with the community to create a climate action plan that fits Bend,” said Bend City Manager Eric King.

This project stems from a September 2016 Bend City Council Climate Action Resolution that established goals to reduce community-wide fossil fuel use by 40 percent by 2030 and 70 percent by 2050. Partners for Places will provide a $50,000 grant, pending success in raising a matching $50,000 from OCF Advised Funds, a program that allows OCF donors to identify causes that matter to them and recommend OCF grant support in collaboration with other donors.

“The good news is we are more than halfway to securing the local matching funds,” said Mike Riley, executive director of The Environmental Center, the nonprofit organization designated to receive the matching grant funds. “We have already received $27,500 for the project from OCF donor-advised funds.”

This project is planned to unfold over a two year period, at a cost of $175,000 per year.

Project funding for the first year will come from Partners for Places, OCF Advised Funds, funds raised by TEC from the community and the city’s budget.

The funds will allow the city to hire a new staff person to manage the project, conduct baseline studies including a community-scale greenhouse gas emissions inventory, form a council-appointed volunteer Climate Action Steering Committee, and contract outside support for a community planning process that will identify how to achieve fossil fuel reduction goals in the 2016 Bend City Council Climate Action Resolution.

The city plans to apply for additional funding for the second year to support community prioritization of climate actions, to develop targets and metrics for measuring progress, and to develop an implementation plan.

In addition to Bend, Partners for Places has committed to matching grant awards to teams from Cary, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; Lancaster, PA; Las Cruces, NM; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA, Salt Lake City, UT; and St. Louis, MO.

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