The Cully neighborhood in NE Portland is one of Portland’s most racially diverse neighborhoods, with many children and families, and it’s a haven for urban farmers. But it is also home for some of Portland’s most polluting industries. Recently the Owens-Brockway glass recycling plant located in Cully has been in the cross-hairs of neighborhood and environmental justice activists, as well as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, for continuing to release harmful amounts of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and lead into the surrounding environment. This ongoing pollution impacts three nearby schools and a park where youth routinely play soccer and get exercise on playground equipment.
As Verde's Energy, Climate and Transportation Program Coordinator, Sergio Lopez is responsible for coordinating with Verde staff, community members, partner organizations and other stakeholders to represent the strategic direction of the organizations’ environmental justice values and policy priorities. Prior to Verde, Sergio has worked at BIKETOWN, coordinated with Cully community groups through the Community Cycling Center, and managed transportation equity programs at Forth. Sergio was born and raised in a low-income household in Southern California and spent his childhood summers in Jalisco and Michoacán, Mexico, where his parents are from. Growing up in a multi-cultural and unstable neighborhood, he is passionate about Verde's environmental justice goals. Sergio is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Ashley Bennett is a senior associate attorney with EarthJustice's Northwest regional office in Seattle.