Oregon’s Latino leaders are raising the bar in green building

Stephen Aiguier is the founder of Green Hammer, an integrated design, build and energy firm based in Portland.

Stephen Aiguier is the founder of Green Hammer, an integrated design, build and energy firm based in Portland. You can reach him at Stephen@greenhammer.com or 503.804.1746.

There are more atrocities to account for, that’s just the abridged version, but it’s clear to me the United States has fostered a long history of disregard for the human rights of non-Anglo peoples. So as repulsive as it is, it shouldn’t be a shock that we still fight for basic human rights in this country today.

It was amidst the turmoil of the late 1970’s that PCUN formed to bring recognition to and fight for the human rights of the immigrant workers that the U.S. economic system has perpetually exploited. With three decades battling for social justice in Oregon, PCUN’s pursuit of Passive House — which is the most beneficial building performance standard from a health, comfort and energy payback perspective — makes perfect sense.

Our team at Green Hammer was warning about the complexities of taking on such a project with volunteer labor, but we had little idea as to how such a challenge would seem so trivial to such a tenacious and stalwart community. In the two years we’ve been collaborating with PCUN and PCUN’s architect Communitecture to complete this ambitious project, I’ve come to learn and be inspired by just how strong, cooperative and pure-of-heart people can be. It gives me hope about our country’s future, despite our mixed history.

To know that an organization like Capaces Leadership Institute exists and how it put together its new building — without debt and by the goodwill and volunteer time of hundreds of stakeholders — makes me proud to have played our part. It reminds me of the truth in the words of Cesar Chavez, the man who inspired us when he said "Si se puede!" Yes we can.

I look forward to seeing many of you on Aug. 25 to cut the ribbon and celebrate the grand opening of this extraordinarily capable Capaces Leadership Institute.

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