Politics does funny things to people. One of the more intriguing transformations in the local power game: City Commissioner Randy Leonard—a bullnecked ex-firefighter and blue-collar union stalwart—is now the Council's official EnviroBoy.

This Saturday, Leonard will take his current obsession with biodiesel to Portland State University. The Beyond Oil Energy Independence Conference will feature six panel discussions; topics range from the esoteric ("Using the Oil and War Connection to Promote Peace") to the gloomily straightforward ("Global Warming in Oregon").

While various local officials will attend, Leonard would be justified in expected star treatment when he joins the "Economic Opportunities" panel. Leonard has pushed various city mandates on biodiesel use, and says he plans to emphasize how biodiesel is good for all of Oregon—from Eastern Oregon agro-conservatives to eco-liberal Portlanders. Expect the meeting to be heavy on the liberal, environmental Portland crowd and light on GOP-loving Canola farmers. ALICE JOY

WHAT: 'Beyond Oil' Energy Independence Conference

WHEN: Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:30am- 4pm

WHERE: Portland State University, Multicultural Center, Smith Memorial Union, R. 228