B = Builders GR = Grassroots P = Policy F = Financial
G = Green C = Culture E = Establishment R = Rising Star
Our oldest homegrown green group works macro and micro.
P G R
Signature move: The 43-year-old Oregon Environmental Council is enmeshed in initiatives ranging from a new carbon-reduction certification program for wineries to state and federal climate policy. Durbin, OEC’s executive director, isn’t afraid to throw elbows in this multifront fight. “I think I’ve got some vision—and a lot of energy,” the 41-year-old Northwest native says. Recently, her stewardship paid off in Multnomah County’s ban on BPA, on which OEC led the charge, and negotiations to close the coal-fired Boardman power plant.
What’s next: Durbin sits on Kitzhaber’s global warming commission, which plans to release a draft 10-year plan this spring. Meanwhile, she expects OEC to jump into February legislative battles over funding for state environmental agencies. (ZD)
The Portland Business Alliance’s CEO plays well with others.
Signature move: After inheriting the teethmarks bulldog-like predecessor Kim Kimbrough left on the legs of city officials, McDonough, an ex-journalist and energy-sector vet, defused much of the animus with her chipper, collaborative style. Over her seven-year reign, she’s turned PBA into a key player in discussions about education reform and jobs growth, rather than just old faves like taxes and regulations.
What’s next: With more than half of city council up for grabs, PBA will see if its endorsement serves as a coveted blessing (as it would most places) or the kiss of death (as it often has here). (ZD)
An architect brings the world to Portland—and vice-versa.
B F G P
Signature move: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, the city’s largest architecture firm, designed much of downtown. But as it neared five decades old, ZGF needed a jolt of boldness. Enter Sandoval, a 44-year-old Chinese-Filipino immigrant. “I left everything to come to the US,” the UO grad says now. “I went full monty.” His recent designs—like glimmering University of Oregon athletic complexes, downtown’s sleek 12 West, and hypergreen Port of Portland headquarters—shape an international vernacular with a marked Northwest accent. “People sometimes think of Portland as small and provincial,” he says, “but it can be global.”
What’s next: Selling new clients in Asia and elsewhere on Portland’s green values (and his own: “Where I grew up, we didn’t call it recycling, we called it surviving”). And at least one major project that’s hush-hush for now. (ZD)
A streetcar factory cheers blue-collar workers and eco-urbanists.
F G R
Signature move: In 2005, 11 years after she started as a temp at Clackamas’s burly Oregon Iron Works, this now-43-year-old Chicago native piloted the launch of that company’s United Streetcar subsidiary. As the only manufacturer of modern streetcars in the country (and with the Obama administration bullish on the technology), United and Oregon Iron Works have created 133 jobs and an all-American supply chain.
What’s next: As Oregon Iron Works’ VP for business development, she’ll help conquer other new frontiers—like building wave-power generators for deployment off the coast. (RR)
The charitable force makes the Standard the standard.
B F C E
Signature move: Speltz steers the insurance and finance giant’s charitable might. “Whenever I want to get a com-pany involved in a good idea, one of my first calls is to Bob,” says one prominent local. Besides $2.7 million in annual giving (as of 2011), Speltz pushes 2,500 workers to take volunteer roles, and trains qualified employees to serve on nonprofit boards—65 so far. “It’s about investing money wisely,” he says, “but also about putting scale and talent to work in different ways.”
What’s next: Off the clock, Speltz becomes chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust’s board this year, overseeing a nonprofit that aids 1,300 cultural organizations across the state. And as one of the more prominent gay corporate players in town, he plans to continue active roles with Basic Rights Oregon and other equality-focused organizations. (ZD)
“People think of Portland as small and provincial, but it can be global.”
—architect Gene Sandoval
Helen L. Ying
An Asian leader hopes to capture a Metro Council seat.
Signature move: From chairing the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference to helping the city create the Office of Equity, Ying has long been one of the guiding hands behind fast-growing Asian communities.
What’s next: Ex-congressman David Wu’s ignominious departure leaves our Pacific Rim city with an anemic representation of elected Asians. Ying hopes to start changing that with a spring campaign for an open Metro seat focused on equity for marginalized groups. (DP)