2020 Model the Way Award Winners

By Joshua Baker

Thanks so much to those of you who were able to attend Model the Way and also to everyone who was there in spirit! We had a great celebration and are grateful to have had the opportunity to share the stories and amazing work of our award winners with all of you! If you missed the event, don’t fret-simply read on to learn more about the awardees and their awesome work! You can also watch a recording of the entire event here.

Daredevil Award: Green Bridge Coffee

Green Bridge owner Joel Stenberg inside their Lloyd cafe.

First off, we have our Daredevil Award winner, Green Bridge Coffee. In our book, a Daredevil is someone who comes up with new ways to solve the complex challenges that our community faces. While doing so, they are not afraid to take risks on bold, new ideas and disrupt the status quo. Right off the bat, Green Bridge set out to create a coffee shop business with a heart and to make a difference in the Lloyd. After they set up the cafe in the neighborhood they got to work with Lloyd Community Association members and created a fundraiser for R2DToo, the local houseless rest area, and have been at it since.

Giving back to the community is something they routinely advocate for and they consistently encourage this of other small businesses in the Lloyd. In accepting the Daredevil Award at Model the Way, owner Joel Stenberg said “at Green Bridge, we believe we will succeed if we can answer one question: what would it look like for a for-profit business to build into its DNA the desire to serve their community?” We think they’ve answered this question for themselves because since their start in 2017 they have worked with 22 nonprofits, raised over $50,000, and have told over 75,000 people about the amazing work their nonprofit partners are doing every day! They disrupt the status quo by showing others how to give generously AND they run a profitable business. Green Bridge Coffee, congratulations on not being afraid to take risks and for making such a huge difference in the process!

Game Changer: Lee Kilbourn

Lee Kilbourn showing HPP residents what can be diverted from going to landfills.

The Game Changer Award goes to individuals or grassroots groups who are thought leaders in sustainability projects. They lead the way on new approaches and inspire people around them to rise to the challenge too. This year we have two Game Changers. Our first Game Changer is Lee Kilbourn! Lee resides in Holladay Park Plaza (HPP), a senior living facility in Lloyd. When Covid-19 hit, Holladay Park Plaza’s sustainability efforts declined. Just like other senior living facilities, HHP closed its dining venues and all meals were delivered to residents’ doors. Green recyclable containers could no longer be used and nothing could be reused. Residents were surrounded by plastic clamshells, paper bags, and drink containers.

Right away Lee, the Recycling Guru at HPP and a Portland Master Recycler, took on the two-part problem. The first part was identifying what was trash and what was recyclable. The second part was spreading the word to HPP’s 250+ residents about what was recyclable and how to get things into the recycling stream. Lee mentioned at Model the Way “one of my personal goals for at least 60 years living in Oregon has been to reduce the volume of stuff going to landfills.” He has definitely accomplished this because through Lee’s efforts, thousands of polystyrene clamshells have been saved from the landfills and thousands of redeemable cans and bottles are transported to collection centers! Thanks for leading the way, Lee!

Game Changer: Harriet Tubman Middle School Environmental Justice Club

Harriet Tubman Middle School EJC making their voices heard.

Our second Games Changers was the 2019-20 Harriet Tubman Middle School Environmental Justice Club (EJC). The middle school students of Harriet Tubman’s EJC, including Malina Yuen and Adah Crandall who joined us for Model the Way, advocate for policies and projects that combat climate change and environmental injustice in their school and in the city. When the club learned more about the I-5 widening project they were very concerned about the air quality implications for their school and nearby neighbors, and they became some of the most vocal critics of the proposed project. They worked diligently to organize fellow students, parents, and neighbors; prepared and delivered testimony for state and local government hearings, spoke at rallies, testified to task forces at metro, organized youth climate strikes, and even moderated a Portland Mayoral debate at Revolution Hall. ODOT has had to rethink parts of the project and this is in part because of the Harriet Tubman EJC. Also, several of the members took a trip to Salem to lobby in favor of House Bill 2007 which would regulate diesel emissions. The bill ended up getting passed last year which empowered them even more to continue their efforts! Portland is lucky to have such passionate young adults!

Bedrock Award: Lloyd Center

Lloyd Center providing space and assistance for community food donations.

The Bedrock Award goes to a dependable and solid leader in the Lloyd community whose work is purposeful, collaborative, and provides foundational support for initiatives that emphasize climate, resilience and equity. This year’s winner was the Lloyd Center which has been a cornerstone of the NE Portland community for 60 years. As a longstanding community partner and gathering place, they have been instrumental in supporting efforts to improve livability, sustainability and create opportunities for people in Lloyd. They support creative use of retail space for small, locally owned, BIPOC businesses and they provide storefronts for non-profits such as NAACP, Project Lemonade, and the B Store project.

As General Manager Allie Stewart mentioned at Model the Way, “Following the Covid-19 mandated shut down in Oregon, we worked diligently with our community partners to provide crucial relief for local families during the difficult and uncertain times.” This includes partnering with the Salvation Army in providing food boxes for hundreds of families, supported the Red Cross in offering space to host blood drives and continuously host community events featuring minority, women, and locally owned businesses as they work to recognize and dismantle institutional bias and racism.

Collaborator Award: Conserve Energy

Conserve Energy’s has completed LAMP LED retrofits around Portland, including many at our city’s Fire & Rescue stations.

The Collaborator Award goes to someone who has a proven ability to serve the community by building projects and providing resources to support the growth of inclusive, sustainable, and creative partnerships. This year, Michael Reunert of Conserve Energy joined us for Model the Way to claim this award! A licensed general contractor in Oregon and Washington, Conserve Energy, LLC specializes in Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency projects. They have completed thousands of turn-key projects involving LED lighting and controls, HVAC systems, and refrigeration.

For the past three years, Conserve Energy has been Lloyd EcoDistrict’s partner in the LAMP program, a one of a kind values-driven triple bottom line LED retrofit program. Their patience and persistence in working with Lloyd EcoDistrict to co-create and fine-tune a program that would deliver conventional benefits of LED lighting retrofits and share profits back to the community exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and partnering that this award seeks to acknowledge. Through the LAMP program, Conserve has helped reduce CO2 emissions by about 760 tons each year! Customers are also saving 1.6 million hours of electricity annually which equates to $132,000 of savings on their electricity bill. Thanks for being great partners and collaborators, Conserve Energy!

Congrats to all the winners!

Wow, as usual, we have had some great nominees and awardees this year! Congratulations to each one and thank you so much for all of your hard work, passion, and dedication towards making our local community a more sustainable, equitable, and overall more AMAZING place to live for everyone. You have all moved mountains and it really shows- we truly can’t thank you enough! We hope to see you at another event before too long and until then, stay safe out there everyone and keep up your awesome work!