April 2016 Equity Lens :: REDEFINE Update

Redefine Logo with tagline


The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) and our partners envision connected, balanced, healthy and thriving communities framed thRough:

  • Principles of Environmental Justice
  • Relational Worldview Model
  • Multiplicative Benefits and Sustainability Redefined
  • Seventh Generation Perspective
  • Social Cohesion

Members of the CCC have established this shared vision to guide our work in Redefine: The CCC’s Initiative for Climate and Environmental Justice.

We believe any environmental or climate initiative must lead with racial and economic equity, prevent harm, provide benefit, and ensure inclusive and accountable decision making. Keep reading to learn more about how we apply these principles. To see the 2016 Redefine Principles, please click here.


Tyee Khunamokwst: “Leading Together”: Cross Cultural Climate Justice Leaders—In December 2015, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), the CCC, and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon were awarded a grant from the Kresge Foundation to implement Tyee Khunamokwst: “Leading Together”: Cross Cultural Climate Justice Leaders.  Tyee Khunamokwst is our three-year climate resilience plan for the Portland metro region that articulates how communities of color can shape public processes related to climate resilience.  We prioritized cross cultural climate action capacity, housing justice, transportation justice, green infrastructure and disaster resilience.  Additionally, our collaborative is working with national grantees to make the case of anti-displacement as a pillar of climate resilience. To see the full and abbreviated version of the plan, please click here.

Advocacy Efforts

Again, members of the CCC jumped full force into 2016 short session, securing victories with Minimum Wage, Inclusionary Zoning, Coal to Clean, and more.  The CCC also pushed for three main bills with partners at Renew Oregon and Living Cully related to our climate and environmental justice work. To see detailed information on the CCC's 2016 Legislative Priorities, please click here.

Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan—With its passage, Oregon became the first state in the nation to phase coal out of its energy grid.  The legislation also doubles our use of renewables by 2040, creates a community solar program with a 10% low-income subscription target, and incentivizes additional electric vehicle infrastructure. Over the long run, given the high cost of coal infrastructure and maintenance, switching to renewables will reduce energy costs for ratepayers. Community solar allows residential and small commercial customers of Pacific Power and PGE to participate in the ownership of off-site solar projects which would be credited against their electricity bill.  It also directs the PUC to ensure that at least 10% of the overall community solar program capacity be provided to low and moderate income customers.

Cully Park—Verde is transforming a 25-acre brownfield in Portland’s largest and most diverse neighborhood (Cully) into a public park. This new community asset provides opportunities for healthy eating and active living, educates youth, creates jobs and sets a template for community development of environmental infrastructure. 

Healthy Climate Bill—The CCC supports a carbon pricing bill that ensures Oregon meets its statutory climate pollution reduction goals and holds major polluters accountable. Equitable climate policy means historically underserved communities are involved in decision making, are not harmed by climate change and policy solutions, and see revenues reinvested in ways that reduce disparities and create direct benefits and opportunities in our communities.

Check out Greenlining Institute’s report to see how California has reinvested carbon pricing revenue to address the priorities of low-income communities and communities of color. 

And on everyone’s mind? Air toxics in Portland. Cadmium and arsenic associated with glass manufacturing were detected first around Bullseye Glass (SE) and Uroboros Glass (NE).  As people of color and people with low-incomes, we have known for decades the burden of air pollution, toxics and particulate matter on our communities in Portland and globally. While no community should experience these risks, why have two “hot spots” of metals in certain neighborhoods finally drawn attention to air quality, yet the disproportionately higher risk in our communities of color and low-income communities due to diesel exhaust and other toxics have not? We are working with our partners at Beyond ToxicsCRAG Law Center, Neighbors for Clean Air, Oregon Environmental CouncilOPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, and others to ensure more than spot treatment. The State of Oregon must be accountable to the health of our communities. Contact the CCC, OPAL Oregon Environmental Justice, and Neighbors for Clean Air for upcoming workshops, resources, and advocacy opportunities.

How You Can Help

Where else can you lend your voice, experience and expertise? Through 2016 and 2017, we are poised to continue our fight in the legislature to:

  • ensure polluters pay for the harm they cause to our communities and environment;
  • provide equitable funding and representation for our communities;
  • regulate diesel and air toxics that compromise our health; and
  • expand use of clean energy technology to reduce environmental and financial inequities.

Do you have a story to tell related to the health of your community? Contact Maggie Tallmadge, Environmental Justice Manager, at maggie@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org.  The CCC will also develop a series of workshops on climate and environmental justice including concepts, root causes, solutions, and advocacy opportunities. Reach out and stay tuned for more details!