Those you who were on this list in the Spring probably already know I turned 80 in May. It was a milestone I met with pleasure and surprise–I hadn’t expected to see it–and I do feel it.
The previous November, my term on the 350PDX board ended. We don’t have a limit on the number of terms one can serve but I was ready to leave the responsibilities to other, younger folks. And six years seemed enough. There was a problem though, only six others were continuing and four of them had joined between one and six months earlier. I felt obligated to stay on awhile till they were on more solid ground so I accepted another 3-year term.
To my delight that situation has changed! We added two more great new members and, ten months later, the ones who were newbies last year are no longer. The board is both significantly younger and ethnically and racially diverse–with my departure 50% BIPOC! (We had recognized this deficiency from the board’s birth in 2014 and I am so proud we have figured out the path to get there).
So at the last board meeting, I resigned. In plenty of time for some outreach before the November annual meeting where the next election will take place. (Maybe you’d like to like to run? Info here)
I joined this endeavor called 350PDX in May 2013 when we all fit around a kitchen table and our resources consisted of ourselves and an envelope containing $52 in cash.
In June of that year, a team of us met with Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz to ask her to commit to supporting City divestment from fossil fuels. She agreed. I’ve been on what is now called the Defund/Divest Team ever since.
A month later in July, I had the pleasure of escorting Bill McKibben to City Hall for a meeting to discuss the climate crisis, fossil fuel divestment and the need to ‘keep it in the ground’ with then-Mayor Charlie Hales and other influentials.
I remember the day we took that envelope into a credit union and opened a checking account, but more important, in my eyes, was the day a friend told me about a lawyer who might agree to help us get our tax-exempt status. Michael Millender, at Tokon Torp, said yes and by Labor Day 2014, just in time for the Peoples’ Climate March, we had our 501(c)(3). Tokon Torp has remained our pro bono lawyers ever since, always there for us when we need legal advise.
It’s been quite a ride from that day around a kitchen table seven and a half years ago to an organization with six staff members and a three-room office, hundreds of activists and thousands on its email list, clout with the City of Portland and other governmental entities, as well as a seat at the table of a diverse group of coalitions, and a successful ballot measure
under its belt. I’m very grateful to have been on board.
If you’d like to honor my years with 350PDX, an extra donation would be the way I would hear your thanks the loudest.