Who We Are

Jobs, Interns and Fellows

At Center for Sustainable Economy, we seek talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to assist us with implementation of our core initiatives as well as expert support we provide to our partners. At this moment, we are offering two paid part-time internships in the summer of 2020. (Inquire with us if you are interested in an unpaid summer internship.) We are also offering three paid legal internships to law students seeking practical knowledge and hands-on experiential learning and training in public interest environmental law. Legal internships are completed under the close supervision of our staff attorney. (See below for more information.)For all of these positions, if you apply, we ask that you PLEASE fill out this anonymous survey so we can determine whether we are meeting our targets of getting as diverse a pool of applicants as possible.


Position Title: Legal internship

Date Posted: Nov. 1, 2019

Application Deadline: open until filled

Start and End Hours Compensation
10-14 weeks during the summer 2020 depending on specific availability ~20-25 hours per week (project-based) $1,500 / Month

Position Description: In 2020, the Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) is hiring up to three legal intern positions to support the Staff Attorney, Nicholas Caleb. The positions will be offered for Summer 2020, but opportunities to work during school semesters are available under the right circumstances.

The legal intern /externs will directly support CSE’s Staff Attorney in campaigns such as an Oregon Green New Deal, opposing the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export project, re-instating Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments, pioneering a Fossil Fuel Risk Bond program for Multnomah County, and more. Internships are expected to be full time and the work can be done remotely or in our office in Portland, Oregon. Caleb supervises the interns, providing them with legal and policy research projects and holding regular meetings to review and discuss their work. In addition, interns will be invited to meet with decision makers and coalition partners when opportunities arise, providing important networking experiences and opportunities for meaningful contributions to ongoing campaigns.

Compensation: $1500 per month; CSE is willing to support law students in securing additional funding or academic credit for their work.

The Center for Sustainable Economy is a Portland, Oregon based non-profit organization that works with partners to accelerate the transition to a just and sustainable society. CSE is member of the Oregon Just Transition Alliance and works in coalition with grassroots organizations and advocates across the United States. CSE straddles the divide between a think tank and a ‘do tank’.

From 2014-2019, CSE helped design and steward a novel environmental agenda that has set a new bar for climate action in the United States. After a successful grassroots campaign to defeat the Pembina propane export facility at the Port of Portland in 2015, CSE helped design the nation’s first ‘No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure’ resolution in Portland, Oregon. This led to the development and unanimous city council adoption of the Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments (“FFTZA”) in 2016, the first attempt in the United States to utilize local health and safety authority to prohibit all new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure through municipal code. CSE joined grassroots partners to intervene and defend the FFTZA against legal challenges, securing an important Oregon Court of Appeals ruling that the policy does not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause. With CSE’s help, Seattle, Tacoma, and Baltimore city governments adopted restrictions on new fossil fuel infrastructure, while other governments develop code.

In 2017, CSE’s Staff Attorney created the framework for Portland’s 100% Renewable Energy resolution, one of the most comprehensive, visionary, and equity-focused resolutions in the history of Portland City Council. Notably, the development of this policy coincided with a campaign at the Oregon Public Utility Commission to defeat Portland General Electric’s plans to build new gas-fired power plants to replace the retiring Boardman coal facility, demonstrating that even where local governments have limited direct authority, strong local policy combined with intelligent grassroots strategy can have large impacts. Portland’s 100% renewable policy is utilized as model policy by local governments across the country.

To Apply: Please fill out this anonymous diversity survey here. Then send a cover letter, resume, law school transcript (unofficial version OK), short writing sample (no more than 7 pages), and a list of three references (at least one legal) with email addresses and phone numbers to Nicholas Caleb at: nick.caleb@sustainable-economy.org. Please put “Legal Internship” in the subject line. We will consider applications during Spring 2020 until positions are filled.

Position Title: Fossil Fuel Resistance Internship

Date Posted: January 20, 2020 

Application Deadline: March 31, 2020

Start and End Hours Stipend 
June 1st – August 28, 2020 (exact dates flexible) 20 hrs / Wk.  $1,500 / Month


Position overview 

The Fossil Fuel Resistance Internship will be a collaborative position between CSE staff and our allies at Portland Harbor Community Coalition, an organization working to elevate the voices of those most impacted by the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. Over three months, the intern will assist CSE in our campaigns to challenge oil by rail coming to Portland, and to mobilize community support for policies limiting fossil fuel expansion and requiring polluters to pay for their health and environmental impacts. Collaborating directly with our Grassroots Organizer and staff at Portland Harbor Community Coalition, the intern will work at the intersection of climate and environmental justice, supporting campaigns for community benefits, resiliency, and a full cleanup of pollution in the Willamette River. 

About Center for Sustainable Economy

Center for Sustainable Economy straddles the divide between a think tank and a do tank. We conduct peer-reviewed research and develop innovative solutions such as new measures of progress and new policies to expedite the transition to renewable energy. We are also vocal advocates for change, using legislative and administrative processes, the courts, and grassroots mobilization to achieve our goals. 

Since 2016, we have been at the center of the No Fossil Fuels movement in Portland, helping  pass the landmark Portland Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments – the nation’s first ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure – and helping lead the fight against the  Zenith Energy tar sands by rail terminal. Our Climate Justice team includes three staff as well as contracted support and legal externs. 

Experiences gained

This position will focus on mobilizing community members through base-building, helping educate people about the hazards of local fossil fuel infrastructure and pollution, and supporting the collaborative campaigns of CSE, Portland Harbor Community Coalition and our allies in the climate justice movement. Your tasks will include attending weekly staff check-ins and other meetings, assisting with events and actions, producing written documents and giving oral testimony, helping create agendas and facilitating meetings, and recruiting and organizing community members to participate in public processes to win a safer, healthier, and fossil-free Portland.  

Desired skills

We seek a dedicated, curious, and motivated person, eager to work on issues of climate and social justice, and who is willing to jump in and be a part of the movement. We expect some familiarity with the goals and organizing models of the climate and environmental justice movements, but no direct organizing experience is required. 

Folks with lived experiences of climate and environmental injustices, such as people who identify as Black or African American, Native American or Indigenous, Immigrants or refugees, trans and gender nonconforming people, people experiencing houselessness, people from working-class backgrounds, and women are all encouraged to apply.


We work out of the co-working space, HatchLabs PDX in the Central Eastside of Portland. One day a week, we will also work from Portland Harbor Community Coalition’s offices in Northeast Portland. Some meetings and tasks can also be done remotely. 

Time commitment

This position begins on June 1st and goes until August 28th. Exact start and end dates are flexible. The position requires a maximum of 20 hours per week, which includes regular staff meetings, occasional evening meetings, and special events. We will work out a schedule with you that works for all of us at the beginning of your internship. 


We offer $1,500 per month (~ $18.75/hr) plus reimbursements for travelling costs. 

How to Apply

To apply, please send your resume, a writing sample, and a cover letter explaining your interest in working with CSE and Portland Harbor Community Coalition. Please send it to info@sustainable-economy.org. PLEASE BE SURE TO FILL OUT THIS ANONYMOUS SURVEY so we know if we are meeting our diversity targets.

We will review applications on a rolling basis. Application deadline is March 31.

Equal opportunity Employer Statement

Center for Sustainable Economy does not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, national origin, disability, political belief, marital status, age, sexual orientation, class, housing status, veteran status, physical size, or other legally protected status. 

Issue Background 

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns we have less than 12 years to dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s imperative that local communities lead in a just transition away from fossil fuels, by organizing and building power to win policies that can set a precedent for communities across the country. 

Portland is overdue for a 9.0 earthquake and climate change-induced flooding, yet much of Oregon’s fossil fuel infrastructure—from pipelines to oil and gas storage terminals—is situated on a narrow strip of land along the Willamette River that is not built to withstand such an earthquake or major flood, creating enormous risks to life, the economy, and the environment. In addition, air toxics emissions and pollution from other fossil fuel infrastructure in the region—such as oil trains and single occupancy vehicles—pose long-term health hazards in communities throughout the Portland area.

[Second paid internship to be posted soon. Check back later.]