September 2, 2022

In August, local, state, and federal officials met to discuss extreme heat impacts and community benefits of local farming. Officials included U.S. Senators from Oregon Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, Oregon State Representatives Khanh Pham, Zach Hudson, and Ricki Ruiz, and City of Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall.

Governor Kate Brown, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Senator Jeff Merkeley, and Senator Ron Wyden visit the Sunrise Center to discuss extreme heat impacts in East Multnomah County.

Officials visited the Sunrise Center, a multicultural and community-centered commercial kitchen and event space in Rockwood, that is regularly used as a community cooling center during extreme heat events and for warming in the winter. They also toured a nearby urban farm at Rockwood Village, operated by Mudbone Grown, hearing stories of how Multnomah County communities are adapting to the local impacts of the climate crisis and the tangible benefits that community-centered farms have for Gresham residents. 

Arthur Shavers and Shantae Johnson of Mudbone Grown speak with Governor Kate Brown, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Senator Jeff Merkeley, and Senator Ron Wyden about the resilience benefits of local community-centered farms in Multnomah County.

The following is a transcript of the above video, featuring Multnomah County Deborah Kafoury and federal and local officials who visited East Multnomah County. 

Chair Deborah Kafoury with Shantae Johnson and Arthur Shavers of Mudbone Grown in Rockwood Village

“We are so honored as Multnomah County today to have the EPA Administrator and to have our two U.S. Senators, and our Governor of Oregon here to see what we're doing.  

The federal government has recently passed some really aggressive new laws around climate change, dollars that will be coming to local communities. And so we wanted to show what we have done as a community and what more we could do with these new dollars that are going to come online. It will create jobs and also we’ll be able to provide plant starts to the families that live here. It was really exciting to be able to share my voice and my perspective on climate change, and farming and just to share some of our work. 

Climate change is real when it comes to agriculture. And so then you have folks that are depending on us, folks that participate in our community supported agriculture programs that are like, ‘well, how come we have less food now?’ We're pumping billions of dollars, billion with a ‘B’ into communities just like this so that we can mitigate climate pollution, but we can also adapt to the climate changes that we're seeing right now. Right here at the farm, if a heat pump breaks down, for example, or they want to install solar, they get significant tax credits right away.  

And I think it's really a doubling down of our efforts. But we can't do that alone as just Multnomah County. We need our partners at the federal level, at the state level, and then we need to listen to our community. We need to build these solutions together in partnership with community. But we’re really meeting the challenge head on.”

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