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Rep. Earl Blumenauer rallies in Portland for resolution declaring climate change a national emergency.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty says Portland has already created a Green New Deal with its new surcharge on large retailers, which will support environmental and equity goals and provide green jobs training. Forty-five co-sponsors in the U.S. House have signed on to a proposal by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, which would declare climate change a national emergency.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and other local officials gave the joint resolution a boost during a Sunday, July 14, rally held at the Oregon Sierra Club, 1821 S.E. Ankeny St.

"First the resolution, and then the revolution," said Rep. Blumenauer. "The point I guess we need to make — again and again — is this is in fact a climate crisis."

To cheers, Hardesty suggested that Blumenauer tell his colleagues on Capitol Hill about Portland's newly-imposed Clean Energy Community Benefits program. The fund adds a 1% surcharge to large retailers, and is now expected to raise between $52 and $73 million annually due to an expansive judicial interpretation of what constitutes a "retailer."

"Portland has already created the new Green Deal," Hardesty said, noting it "very intentionally makes sure that corporations pay their fair share."

Blumenauer's resolution is somewhat symbolic in nature, as it wouldn't give the federal government any special emergency powers. But presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, have become high-profile supporters.

At the rally, other backers included Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, state Rep. Rob Nosse and newly-elected Portland Public Schools board member Michelle DePass.

"Communities of color have been environmentalists before it was cool," DePass told the Tribune. "This resolution is not only important for Portlanders, it's important for all Americans."

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, held a rally at the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club on Sunday, July 14.

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