Job Opportunity: Chief Sustainability Officer | City of Portland

The City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) seeks a Chief Sustainability Officer, a key position at BPS and the City who will guide the way to a sustainable and equitable low-carbon future for Portland. The Chief Sustainability Officer will play a leading role in shaping and supporting the City of Portland’s climate and sustainability work as we encounter exciting new opportunities and complex new challenges. This position leads the City of Portland’s sustainability portfolio and staff including the climate action program; the clean air program; solid waste and recycling programming; and will work to stand up and help lead a new sustainability commission. The position will advance these programs while leading with racial equity and climate justice lenses. Portland is looking for a Chief Sustainability Officer who can effectively implement this work in collaboration with other bureaus, community partners, and impacted communities.
Roles & Responsibilities of the Chief Sustainability Officer

  • Maintain, develop, and grow robust relationships with current and new funders. Oversee development and allocation of resources and funding sufficient to ensure that BPS makes continuous progress towards climate and sustainability goals.
  • Provide oversight and direction as the bureau works to define success and develop metrics to monitor and assess progress towards achieving climate- and sustainability-related performance goals.
  • Direct the work of the City of Portland’s climate action, clean air, sustainability, and solid waste and recycling programs including development and implementation of plans, policies, and projects related to:
    1. Supporting and advancing climate justice.
    2. Reducing carbon emissions from buildings and the transportation sector.
    3. Preventing further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.
    4. Reducing air pollution and improving local air quality.
    5. Supporting a sustainability commission.
    6. Waste collection, waste reduction, recycling, composting.
  • Supervise and mentor managers implementing BPS work in these areas. 
  • Collaborate with land use and transportation planning programs to integrate climate and sustainability priorities into other citywide plans and initiatives. 
  • Convene and coordinates with other City bureaus to support and implement climate and sustainability work.
  • Represent climate action, clean air, sustainability, and solid waste and recycling work with City Council, external stakeholders, community organizations, and other partners to build support, understanding and problem-solving approaches. 
  • Serve as lead voice and ambassador for sustainability programming. 
  • Lead creation of a sustainability commission.
  • Serve on the Executive Management Team for the bureau.  

Although not required,  the ideal candidate has: 

  • 10+ years of senior level climate and sustainability experience, including supervisory responsibilities.
  • Proven experience securing funding for climate- and sustainability-related work.
  • Expertise in policy development and adherence including technical understanding about how municipal codes work, apply, and are implemented. 
  • An ability to navigate complexities and multi-disciplinary approaches/ intersectionality thinking (e.g., racial equity, climate justice, climate change, health equity, and urban planning) in sustainability work. 
  • Proven experience managing politically complex sustainability and climate projects from inception to adoption and implementation. 
  • A track record of developing and successfully adopting sustainability policies that center frontline or priority communities.
  • Demonstrated, effective experience working collaboratively with community-based organizations, a track record of operationalizing and implementing equity through planning, and an understanding of the need to capacitate partners. 
  • Experience managing and building effective teams, implementing change management, setting clear expectations and accountability for managers and staff, and aligning behind a shared vision while creating an operating environment for staff to do their best. 
  • Brings vision, passion, integrity, and humility to the work. 
  • Experience building trusting relationships internally and externally. Is relationship-oriented and collaborative.
  • Experience initiating and managing multi-agency projects and collaborating with private and public sector partners. 
  • A commitment to transparency and excellent communication skills, both speaking and written. The Chief Sustainability Officer’s voice is critical for the work and must be persuasive and build trust with different audiences – from City Council to other bureaus and community partners. 
  • A high-level of political acumen and experience balancing competing priorities between community leaders and elected officials within a complex and changing government structure. 

About the Bureau
The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability develops creative and practical solutions enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future. We are committed to advancing equity as a means of achieving prosperous, healthy, resilient communities. In collaboration with community partners, we provide; comprehensive land use, neighborhood, economic, historic and environmental planning, and urban design; policy and technical services to advance green building and a just transition to clean energy, waste prevention, composting and recycling, and a sustainable food system; policy to address climate change; policy, projects and outreach related to the Smart City PDX program and are responsible for administering the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund.

BPS values a diverse workforce and seeks ways to promote equity and inclusion within the organization. We encourage candidates with knowledge, ability and experience working with abroad range of individuals and diverse communities to apply. Although not required, BPS encourages candidates that can fluently speak more than one language to include that information in your resume. BPS offers an excellent benefits package, flexible work schedules and support for training and skills development in a positive, engaging, and creative work environment.

Studies have shown that women, non-binary people, and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all of the qualifications listed. BPS considers lived experience and transferrable skills as qualifying unless an item is labeled as required. We are most interested in finding the best candidates for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. We encourage you to apply.?? 

City of Portland Core Values: Anti-racism | Communication | Collaboration | Equity | Transparency | Fiscal Responsibility
These values guide our actions as we serve the community and engage our workforce. To learn more about the City’s core values, please click here.

Why work at the City of Portland?
The City of Portland workforce serves a population of over 650,000. We are culture- and solutions-driven, viewing every challenge as an opportunity to learn, improve, and share our expertise. We are committed to removing systemic barriers to resources, access, and opportunity. The City is a believer in all people and continues to actively recruit and retain diverse top talent every day. We offer a comprehensive benefits package, including but not limited to medical, dental, vision, basic life, short- and long-term disability coverage to eligible employees and their families. If you are open-minded, motivated, community-focused, and self-aware, please apply yourself at the City of Portland today.
The City of Portland also participates in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). For more information on the City of Portland’s benefits please click here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
As of October 18, 2021, all City employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This is required for all positions at the City of Portland. Proof of being fully vaccinated is required by date of hire. You may request an exception, for health or religious reasons, from getting the COVID-19 vaccine at the time a position is offered.

Work Location
Currently, many positions with the City of Portland are being performed remotely due to COVID.  In the future, current positions classified as “full-time remote” will: 1) become a remote/onsite mix or 2) revert to full-time at a city work location.

To Qualify

Applicants must specifically address and demonstrate in their cover letter and resume how their education, training and/or experience, meets each of the following minimum qualifications.

  1. Experience supporting, advancing, and leading climate and sustainability work through policy and program advocacy, development and implementation and knowledge of applicable federal, state, and local laws including public-policy requirements. 
  2. Experience managing and building effective teams, setting clear expectations and accountability for managers and staff, and aligning behind as shared vision while creating and operating an inclusive environment. 
  3. Experience communicating complex technical matters to non-technical individuals, including presenting to policy makers, both verbally and in writing.  
  4. Experience acquiring funding and building partnerships to support climate and sustainability work.  
  5. Experience applying the principles and methods of change management and the social, political, intergovernmental, and operational issues influencing operations.  
  6. Ability to collaborate with communities of color and people traditionally underrepresented and to navigate complexities and multi-disciplinary approaches (e.g., racial equity, climate justice, climate change, health equity, and urban planning) in sustainability work.  

Applicants must also possess:

  • Must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 per City/State mandate or have an approved exception by date of hire.

The Recruitment Process

An evaluation of each applicant’s training and experience, as demonstrated in their resume and cover letter, weighted 100%. Do not attach materials not requested. Only candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be placed on the equally ranked eligible list. You have 14 days from the notice of the examination results to let us know if you disagree with your results. Please read the City of Portland Administrative Rule 3.01 for complete information.  Additional evaluation for required certifications may be required prior to the establishment of the eligible list and/or final selection.
** PLEASE NOTE: The eligible list generated from this recruitment may be used to fill future vacancies**

Recruitment Activity Schedule:

  • Job Posting closes: 8/8/2022
  • Applications Reviewed: Week of: 8/15/2022
  • Eligible List / Notices Generated: week of 8/22/2022
  • Selection: week of 8/29/2022
  • Job Offer: Late September/early October

*Timeline is approximate and subject to change.
Applicant InstructionsApplicants must submit a professional résumé and cover letter online specifically focused on your qualifications for this position as identified in the “To Qualify” section of this announcement in accordance with the following Application Instructions:

Your résumé and cover letter will be the basis for our evaluation of your qualifications for this position.

  • Your cover letter should include details describing your education, training, certification and/or experience, and where obtained which clearly reflects your qualifications and ability to meet the minimum requirements listed in the “To Qualify” section of this announcement.
  • Your résumé should support the details described in the cover letter.
  • Salary Range/Equity Pay Analysis:  Please note per the Oregon State Pay Equity Law your salary is determined based on the experience and education listed in your resume/application. It is strongly encouraged to include any transferable experience (paid or unpaid regardless of how recent) to ensure your offer is reflective of all directly related and equivalent experience.
  • If you are requesting Veterans’ Preference, as identified below, please describe in your cover letter any transferrable skills obtained during your military service and how they relate to each of the required minimum qualifications under the “To Qualify” section above.
  • Do not attach documents not requested.

Please note, all completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than on the closing date and time of this recruitment.  All applications must be submitted via the City’s online application process.  Do not attach materials not requested.   E-mailed and/or faxed applications will not be accepted.Additional InformationWork Status: Non-citizen applicants must be authorized to work in the United States at the time of application.
Veterans’ Preference: If you are requesting Veterans’ Preference, attach a copy of your DD214/DD215 and/or Veterans Administration letter stating your disability to your profile, as well as checking the box identifying yourself as a Veteran. You must request Veterans’ Preference AND include a copy of your documentation for each recruitment to which you apply. Veterans’ Preference documentation must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM on the closing date of this recruitment.ADA, Pregnancy, and Religious Accommodations: If you identify as a person with a disability, are pregnant or nursing, or observe a religious practice(s), and would like to request a reasonable accommodation when applying for this job, please contact the Recruiter below for assistance. Equal Employment Opportunity: It is the policy of the City of Portland that no person shall be discriminated against based on race, religion, color, sex, marital status, family status, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or source of income. The City values diversity and encourages everyone who is interested in employment with the City to apply.
Did you know? The City of Portland offers “How to Apply Classes” that are free and review best practices for applying to the City.  Follow the link for the most recent list of scheduled dates
Karen Ehn, Senior Recruiter
Bureau of Human Resources

An Equal Opportunity Employer

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