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City of Bend, partners raise funds for climate action plan

To boost energy efficiency, cut fossil fuel use

Bend Climate Resolution receives more...

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Comments from city official, Environmental Center director)

More funding has been secured to implement the Bend climate action resolution. The new round of funding brings the project's total amount raised to $125,000.

The latest grant is from the Oregon Community Foundation, which foundation leaders say comes from donations.

Gillian Ockner, senior policy advisor for the city, said Tuesday the resolution is a goal set by the city to reduce fossil fuel use in Bend.

Ockner said city leaders want to involve the community in the planning process.

"And get people from around the community to decide what the appropriate course of action is for us," Ockner said. "That will allow us to reduce our fossil fuel use, while also realizing economic, social and environmental benefits for our community,"

Bend is partnering with other agencies to get this project done, and gathering different points of view to help shape Bend's environmental impact moving forward.

One of the organizations that has been with the city every step of the way is The Environmental Center, which has contributed $25,000 to the fund, gathered from donations.

Mike Riley, executive director of The Environmental Center, said he believes the city's goal of reducing fossil fuel emissions by 40 percent in 2030 is definitely attainable, but he believes it starts at the grassroots level.

"Climate pollution comes from everywhere. We are all part of it, myself included, and we need to do our part here in Bend to make a difference," Riley said. "Just as cities all over the country, and all over the world need to do. So this is -- it starts at home. Bend's doing its part to reduce emissions, because we are part of the solution, just as we are a part of the problem."

Now the city can move forward with the project, and as Ockner said Tuesday, they plan to add another staff member to head up this project.

"We are going to need an additional staff person. The climate resolution calls for additional staff to help us realize that goal," Ockner said. "And I think it will be a benefit to have someone who is really dedicated to thinking carefully about designing a process and implementing a process that brings many voices to the table."

The city's goal is to have a energy action plan in place by the fall of 2019.

For more information on the climate action resolution, click here.

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Here's the city's news release on Tuesday announcing the new funding:

The City of Bend and The Environmental Center announced Tuesday they have secured additional matching grant funds, completing the fundraising needed to move forward on a climate action plan. 

The Oregon Community Foundation  announced Tuesday that its “OCF Advised Funds” donors have recommended awarding matching grants that total $50,000. This meets the required match for a $50,000 grant from national funder Partners for Places.

The combined funding will support the city’s work with the Bend community to increase energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption, the city said in its announcement.

“The donor families that partner with the Oregon Community Foundation are pleased to help the community of Bend invest in a healthy environment through greater community engagement,” said Fran Willis, OCF donor relations officer.

OCF’s Advised Funds program allows OCF donors to identify causes that matter to them and recommend OCF grant support in collaboration with other donors. Partners for Places is a national matching grant program that invests in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well-being of all residents.

The City of Bend, in partnership with The Environmental Center, 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 so grateful to the OCF donor families who have matched the Partners for Places grant award we received this fall. It is further indication of the shared value in Oregon of protecting our environment while supporting our communities. We are excited to begin the process of identifying the appropriate course of action for Bend to meet its fossil fuel reduction goals while providing economic, social and environmental benefits to the Bend community,” said city Senior Policy Analyst Gillian Ockner.

The 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.

The project is planned to unfold over a two-year period, at a cost of $175,000 per year. Funding for year one will come from multiple sources: $50,000 from the city's budget, $50,000 from Partners for Places, $50,000 from OCF Advised Funds and $25,000 from community donations to The Environmental Center. 

With first-year funding now secured, the city can move forward with key steps in developing the plan called for in the Bend City Council Resolution. One key step is for the city to hire a Sustainability Coordinator to manage a volunteer advisory committee and a public process to involve the community. The goal is a community-endorsed energy action plan by fall of 2019.


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