Welcome to the first installment of Sustainability Staff Spotlight, a series introducing you to the South Portland Sustainability Office team. This week we’re featuring a good ol’ Q & A with Cashel Stewart, our sustainable transportation coordinator, who has worked in the sustainability office since January 2021.

Cashel spearheads efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s transportation sector, which make up an estimated 32 percent of our citywide emissions.

Mia: What has been your most rewarding experience or project in your position so far?

South Portland Sustainable Transportation Coordinator Cashel Stewart charges a municipal vehicle at the charging station outside the planning department in South Portland last October. Shawn Patrick Ouellette photo/Press Herald

Cashel: I think it’s the Cash Corner Traffic Calming Study because it was such a collaborative process with the community. We did two surveys that went out to every member of the community and between those surveys we were setting up traffic calming installations and all the while I was getting calls and meeting people in the street.

I was getting to know the community very directly and hearing their concerns and making changes based on what they were saying. It is rewarding to hear the difference that you’re making directly from those who are impacted. I hope the study yields some permanent results for Cash Corner. I also love the city staff. There’s so many great, inspiring people I work with in South Portland and that has made it exciting to come to work every day.

Mia: What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?


Cashel: There’s a lot going on in the realm of electric vehicle (EV) charging right now. We have 12 city-owned chargers and about 40 chargers overall in the city, but we are hoping to double that this year. We want to build out an accessible network of chargers through incentives and grants to help create an EV culture in SoPo. I can definitely see 2022 being a big turning point for people making the leap to EVs, especially as gas prices skyrocket. I think it is becoming increasingly evident that a slight lifestyle change can save you so much money and reduce emissions, and I’m excited at the possibilities that come with that realization.

Mia: Why is sustainability in South Portland so important?

Cashel: The most obvious is the fact that we’re a coastal community right on Casco Bay, which makes us super susceptible to sea level rise and other climate threats. We are already seeing climate change manifest in many different ways such as hotter days and storms that are more frequent, random and severe. I think that seeing those changes happening in our community have really woken up a lot of people to wanting to do something, myself included.

Mia: What makes you proud to work for South Portland?

Cashel: South Portland is small but mighty in what it’s doing, and we’ve been demonstrating ourselves as leaders in the Maine community and beyond as a city committed to climate action. One Climate Future is the grand example, but all our policies and programs are well researched and, in some ways, groundbreaking for Maine.

Mia: How can South Portland residents interact with you/your work?


Cashel: Email me. I’m always up for a one on one or talking with people about their ideas, concerns, anything. I’m available — and even antsy — to meet up with community members.

Get in touch with Cashel at cstewart@southportland.org.

In addition to working for the city, Cashel loves spending time in South Portland (and it shows). Here are some of his favorite spots around the city.

Favorite coffee shop: Rwanda Bean

Favorite restaurant: Caribbean Taste (specifically the jerk chicken which Cashel describes as “divine”)

Favorite local business: GoGoRefill

Favorite place to recreate: Willard Beach

Stay tuned for more features on sustainability staff in future columns.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the sustainability office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability. Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corp fellow serving with the sustainability office. She can be reached at mambroiggio@southportland.org.

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