Gateway project aims to become ‘one-stop shop’ for energy-saving needs

Find out why a computer expert is spearheading an effort she says will help outer East Portland folks save time, energy, and money …

Hazelwood Neighborhood Chair Arlene Kimura welcomes guests to the “Reenergizing Gateway” kickoff meeting, held at IRCO.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
People from around the area filtered into the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), 10301 NE Glisan Street, on the morning of March 9, as a meeting hosted by the Gateway EcoDistrict was about to get underway.

“We’re here for the ‘Growing Gateway EcoDistrict Reenergizing Gateway Project’,” explained the group’s director, Colleen Gifford.

> East Portland News has covered the Gateway EcoDistrict, including this story in 2012.  CLICK HERE to read it.

Illustrations of ecological projects are laid out for guests to view during the meeting.

Coming off a 25 year career in Information Technology in the utilities industry, Gifford said that she sought to make a change. “I wanted to learn more about the ‘sustainable’ side of the business. At Mt. Hood Community College, I became certified as a Sustainable Building Advisor, and I opened a company called ABC Sustainable Solutions.”

While in school, she learned about the just-starting Gateway EcoDistrict, Gifford told East Portland News. “As a 27-year resident of Gateway, I discovered that I have a real passion for helping my community, and the people here in my community. I want to help our community grow in a sustainable manner, and help as many people as I can.”

Colleen Gifford welcomes attendees to the kick off of the “Growing Gateway Eco-district Reenergizing Gateway Project”.

About the program
“The first phase is about helping low-income seniors with small weatherization projects in their home.  We’re doing this, thanks to a grant from the East Portland Action Plan.

“Today we hope to let people know that we exist,” Gifford explained.  “And, we hope to have participants sign up to help us to the weatherization for them.”

She added, “We are looking for volunteers; we’re looking for the low income seniors that need the help.

The “Reenergizing Project” of Gateway EcoDistrict will help folks connect with both commercial vendors and government entities, Colleen Gifford says.

Phase Two, Gifford noted, is the “Reenergizing Project”.

“This first phase is no cost, thanks to the EPAP Grant. The second phase will be put partnering with the Portland Development Commission, Energy Trust of Oregon, Clean Energy Works of Oregon, and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability.”

Their idea is to become the “trusted organization” that helps residents and business people use to “connect all those bureaucracies” – and provide “one-stop shopping”.

“We’ll be able to help people here save time, energy – and ultimately money – when they’re making energy-saving improvements.”

Other topics during the morning session also included ideas for growing participation in the Gateway EcoDistrict, and about their work with Friends of Gateway Green.

Some of the PSU students involved in the project greet one another, as the program gets underway.

Nearly 40 Portland State University students are working with the project, Gifford added. “We’re working to get the entire community involved. Come join us!”

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE to open their home page.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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