"Intern keeps sun shining on city"
By Owen Smith
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Lindsey Hardy had never been to the Pacific Northwest before she visited Oregon last year to interview in six cities for the RARE program.
RARE — Resource Assistance for Rural Environments — is a program administered by the University of Oregon’s Community Service Center that places participants in communities all across Oregon.
After interviews in Eugene, Lakeview, Umatilla, Rufus and Port Orford, Pendleton was the place that made Hardy feel most welcome.
“It was my first time in the Northwest and I got an entire tour of the state. I didn’t realize how diverse it was here. I got to Pendleton and thought, ‘This place is neat,’” Hardy said. “Everyone is so friendly. Within two hours I’d already spoken to all these people. And I was amazed by the Solarize Pendleton program.”
An environmental studies major at Ithaca College in New York, Hardy found a love of nature early in life growing up next to Adirondack Park.
“It’s something I’ve always been really passionate about,” Hardy said. “In Ithaca there were so many environmental issues being worked on. It really got me going.”
Now that she’s in Pendleton, Hardy has been responsible for helping the city gear up for phase two of Solarize Pendleton. It’s a program that has impressed Hardy, especially given the relatively small size of Pendleton.
“That’s not happening other places,” she said. “There was nothing even going on in the nation on that level. I think it’s very promising.”
Hardy said that phase two will have between 30 and 50 loans available to help homeowners who are looking to install a solar system.
To help supplement the Solarize Pendleton program, Hardy said she is looking into starting a weatherization program that could help people reduce their energy costs without the start-up expense associated with installing a solar system.
“One of the main reasons I want to do it is it opens up (greener living) to a broader section of the population,” Hardy said. “Weatherization is something where you can do something smaller and the payback is in a couple of years.”
Weatherizing your house also can make it much more comfortable to live in, because it should stabilize the indoor temperature throughout the house, she said.
While it’s a project she’s passionate about, Hardy leaves Pendleton in July and might not have time to get it under way.
“Right now I’m talking to people who are in the field,” she said. “We’re still just in the brainstorming phase.”
But, she added, that time constraint also makes her job feel meaningful.