In 2009-2010, the Youth Commission worked with the Mayor’s Office, Portland Public Schools, and TriMet to expand the YouthPass program to all 14,000 students in Portland Public High Schools. The Youth Commission remains committed to expanding the program to all middle and high school students throughout Multnomah County. The committee continues to work with those school districts and private schools on funding options and included meetings with Sen. Jeff Merkely’s office to identify potential federal solutions. At a past winter retreat, the committee opted to broaden its scope of work to include other ways youth can positively affect environmental concerns, changing their name to the Sustainability committee. This focus includes expanding transportation options, discussing transportation barriers for youth, and environmental justice.
In the 2012-2013 year, the Sustainability Committee commenced and solidified a partnership with OPAL (Organizing People Activating Leaders). OPAL is a nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental justice issues. With OPAL, the Sustainability Committee worked on the expansion of YouthPass to East County youth, as well as broader transit justice issues in East Portland and County. We also connected with a Youth Commission in San Francisco to share strategies on how to move forward with our campaign. Additionally, we started meeting with TriMet, through their Transit Equity Advisory Committee.
Trimet's Youth Pass creates riders of the future, Oregonian guest opinion piece written by Sustainability Committee Co-Chair Jose Lopez-Delgado and Nicole Johnson, OPAL's youth organizer (April 2013)