Happy February! Welcome to our monthly newsletter, where we highlight some of the amazing work our volunteer teams have been up to. Read on to learn about their accomplishments, how you can join a team, and opportunities to take action!
Fossil Fuel Resistance Team
Right now we’re helping get SB 1567: the Fuel Storage Seismic Vulnerability Bill passed through the Oregon Legislature short session! This bill is an important first step towards preparing the Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub to be more resilient in the face of the looming Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, and would require owners of storage tanks to submit risk mitigation plans on their facilities. A recent study showed that this densely-packed industrial zone poses an immense threat to our community. When the earthquake hits, it could trigger an oil spill as large as the catastrophic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, right in the urban center of Portland. This would cost upwards of $2 billion in damages and clean up costs.
We’re also hard at work in campaigns to fight the dangerous myth of “natural” gas. Did you know that cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to address climate change in the next 25 years? That’s why we’re developing educational materials to share with our legislators and neighbors about the dangers of methane gas. We’re also calling on Multnomah County to enact a ban on new buildings hooked up to fossil fuels and fighting the incessant greenwashing and misinformation campaigns coming from our local utilities, like NW Natural.
GET CONNECTED: We meet virtually every other Tuesday at 5:30pm. Our meeting next week (on Tues, Feb 22) is a special guest presentation on “Biofuels 101.” We’ll learn more about the various biodiesel, biogas, and biofuel projects being proposed in the region, if they’re really as “green” as they claim to be, and what it means for the next chapter in fighting fossil fuels in our region. Our next team meeting after that is on Tues, March 8. To get the zoom link and/or to sign up for an orientation to the team, reach out to one of our team leads, Melanie, at email@example.com
Our team follows the money, working as part of the national coalition StopTheMoneyPipeline (STMP). We call on financial institutions, insurance companies, and the government to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Most of the 350PDX Defund/Divest Team is working to Divest Oregon: Reinvest in a Fossil-Free Future, a statewide coalition we founded – now 85 organizations and hundreds of individual members strong! If you want to be engaged in Divest Oregon, or receive Divest Oregon action and meeting announcements, just join the coalition’s mailing list.
One current campaign of our national coalition, Stop the Money Pipeline (STMP), is Customers for Climate Justice. STMP is aiming to get 50,000 customers signed on to CEO Open Letters by the end of March. Want to be part of this national/local effort? Contact Sarah Lasoff and copy Jenifer so I can connect you with others on our team who are interested in the campaign. Let me know if you want to take on a local organizational role! Sarah is a Campaign Organizer for Stop the Money Pipeline staffer and a resident of Portland. Here is a 2-pager outlining the campaign vision, the C4CJ website is here, and our toolkit for partners to support the effort.
GET CONNECTED: There are no monthly meetings of the 350PDX Defund/Divest Team at this time. But the team is still active! The Defund/Divest Team is engaged in multiple efforts to divest local educational institutions. Reach out to Jenifer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a conversation about our team and to receive our weekly Defund/Divest team email. Click here to join the Divest Oregon team! Meetings are the third Wednesday of the month at 2 pm; workgroups meet during both day and evening.
Forest Defense Team
The Forest Defense Team works to fight climate change by advocating for forest management practices that increase carbon sequestration and storage, decrease forestry sector carbon emissions, and improve community and ecosystem resilience in the face of the changing climate. We are developing three new sub-teams to diversify our work and connect to more impacted communities:
- Protect Drinking Water from Industrial Logging: Team members are becoming more involved in the Forest Waters coalition – a network of residents and organizations from across the state working to bring protections for rivers and streams in our forests up to the level needed to safeguard clean water and forest communities from the joint challenge of climate change and industrial logging.
- Advocate for vigorous implement of ODF’s Climate Change and Carbon Plan (CCCP): This wonky crew read ODF’s draft two-year work plans and noticed they were seriously lacking urgency and specificity regarding implementing the CCCP. They prepared excellent comments for the Board of Forestry pointing out the need for better implementation plans.
- Increase Shade Equity in the City of Portland: A new citywide Shade Equity coalition is about to launch, and this team is helping research and write supporting documents, as well as helping organize and participate in the nascent campaign. We’re excited to be growin’ shade!
TAKE ACTION: 350PDX is proud to support the launch of a nationwide campaign pressuring the Biden Administration to protect mature and old growth forests on federally-managed land. Let the federal government know that it’s more important to manage old trees to sequester and store carbon than to cut them down.
City/County Watchdog Team
The City-County Watchdog Team is continuing our campaign to get environmental justice and climate action into Portland’s Charter. The City is undergoing this once-in-a-decade review process to update the Charter, a “rulebook” that defines the structure, powers, and functions of our city government. The Watchdog Team has been working with members of the Charter Review Commission and community partners – including the Portland Metro People’s Coalition and Sunrise PDX – to advocate for changes that will advance justice and equitable climate response in our city.
On January 29th, we co-hosted a forum to explore some of our charter reform priorities. In the forum, we talked about reforming the charter to end the dysfunctional commission form of government, change city elections to improve representation of marginalized communities on City Council, and creating a participatory budgeting process that would empower Portland residents to direct government spending. The Charter Review process happens in two phases, and the Charter Commission anticipates making their decisions on many of these Phase 1 concerns in the next month. We’ll be meeting with Charter Commissioners, writing letters, and showing up to give testimony urging the Commission to commit to the transformative changes that Portland needs. We’ll also be uplifting the urgency of a just response to the climate crisis through an Environmental Justice subgroup in Phase 2.
The recently-formed Creative Team amplifies and strengthens the work of the 350PDX campaign teams by developing a compelling narrative strategy. We use a “story-based strategy” method to help campaign teams take apart dominant narratives, investigate the myths we believe, build and participate in. And we pause to bring deeper intentionality to campaign words, imagery and assumptions. What’s our aim? To craft new stories that help reveal the future we all deserve!
We’re continuing our work with the Fossil Fuel Resistance Team’s campaign to fight the dangerous myth of “natural” gas. We’re also supporting the work of Divest Oregon, a coalition of more than 80 organizations calling on the Oregon Treasury to divest from fossil fuels. This month, the coalition is working with legislators to pass the Treasury Transparency Bill in the legislative session – HB 4115 – that would require the Treasury to publish its investments annually. Creative Team members are designing and posting Instagram and Twitter posts in support of the bill.
GET CONNECTED: Fill out this form to get on our roster.
Last month 350PDX Arts Team created beautiful free postcards. If you or your team want to support climate measures in our Salem legislature’s Short Session, we have stunning artful postcards to mail to our legislators. Please contact Donna (email@example.com) or Dineen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for as many as you need.
In January, we met with and supported several other 350PDX Teams with their work. Further details to come. In February and March, we’ll be finishing 350PDX sunflower umbrellas, further exploring the idea of lawn signs, revising our Mission Statement, and introducing a few other artful ideas currently waiting patiently backstage. We have eager workers ready to invite you in, and ready to jump into climate justice projects.
GET CONNECTED: Join us! Let us know if you’re interested. Next meeting is February 28, 7 PM, Zoom. Our team meets on the 4th Monday of the month. Can you join us? Please contact Chris (email@example.com) or Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org). And let us know of areas needing our support. Do you have ideas of your own?
The 350 Southwest Team will meet next Monday to take a deeper look at messaging and designs for our yard sign project. We have some ideas and have elicited others from the Art Team. We may produce these signs jointly with the Art Team in order to reduce costs and use muslin cloth rather than plastic as the base material. Our goal is to inspire hope and invite concerned people to participate in ways “large or small” by visiting to the 350PDX website.
If all goes smoothly, by March we’ll have a final timeline for messaging, design, production and distribution. Perhaps our signs will come into public view before summer! And if they’re popular, perhaps volunteers will get signs into other Portland neighborhoods. We also may resume regular southwest sign-waving vigils in March.
GET CONNECTED: Welcome, all newcomers and long-time participants! Join our monthly meetings, currently held on Zoom. Find our meeting listing on the 350PDX calendar. Our next meeting is Monday, Feb 21 at 6:30-8:00 p.m. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our email list or have coffee with one of us!
Washington County Team
350 Washington County is enjoying the energy of new members helping to get more projects underway:
- We are actively tracking bills in the Legislature short session.
- Everyone is invited to join us in a Fridays for the Future sign-waving from 9 to 10am at First and Main in Hillsboro this Friday, February 18th. We’ll have plenty of signs, or bring your own. We plan regular ongoing FFF events, including one on Earth Day, April 22.
- We’ve endorsed the efforts of our activist Washington County friends with PostPump, and we encourage others to do the same.
- We are continuing to remind local leaders how important mature trees in both urban and rural landscapes are to sequester carbon, host biodiversity and protect against excess heat events. We plan public outreach tabling on Saturday, April 23 at the Hillsboro Farmers Market.
- We’ll be working on weed cleanup and planting a pollinator garden with the Hillsboro community at Hillsboro’s Bagley Park as spring comes along, and hope to unveil our efforts around Earth Day.
- We’ll be partnering with SOLVE to lead at least one local trash pick up in honor of Earth Day. We are working to finalize an event on April 30 from 10:00 to noon.
GET CONNECTED: We always welcome newcomers to our 6:30pm second Tuesday (online for now) meetings and at all our events. Find our meeting and events listings on the 350PDX calendar. Our March meeting will be on Tuesday, March 8 , 6:30-8:00.
350PDX Staff – Brenna, Chris, Dineen, Indi, and Julia
350PDX Board & Team Leads