Distracting Cesar Chavez renames aside, city council has been remarkably productive on the important issue of sustainability today. This morning, it signed a contract to have six streetcars produced right here in Oregon. And this afternoon, council has voted to establish the Clean Energy Works Portland program, which will allow Portlanders to borrow money in order to insulate their homes, and build new furnaces for energy efficiency.

Simply: You get a loan to insulate your home, and you pay it back over time through tiny contributions on your energy bill. If you sell your house, you can pass on the loan to the buyer, as long as they agree.

The program is a partnership with the Energy Trust of Oregon, Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia, NW Natural, PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric, Worksystems, Inc., Multnomah County, and organized labor, community-based organizations, and employers. State representative Jules Bailey and County Commissioner Jeff Cogen showed up to praise the initiative:

BAILEY (RIGHT) AND COGEN (LEFT): Sustainability advocates...

"Make no mistake," said state representative Jules Bailey. "The eyes of the nation are on Portland right now."

"This really is a monumental day for Oregon," he said.

"There are certain things that come before this body that get a lot more media scrutiny than this here today," said county commissioner Jeff Cogen. "But arguably nothing is more important than this initiative today."

There's an estimated 100,000 homes in the Portland area that are completely un-insulated, Cogen said. But the energy savings of insulating those homes actually pays for the cost of doing it.

They're aiming for 500 single family homes this summer. So if you think you might qualify for the program, call the city's bureau of planning and sustainability for more information on (503) 823-7700 you can apply for it online.