PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Presidential candidate Jay Inslee spoke in Portland Monday night about his signature issue — climate change and the environment.

Inslee, the Democratic governor of Washington, spoke at All Hands On Deck, an event to discuss ways to solve critical environmental problems through science and policy at the Old Church Concert Hall in Southwest Portland.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer also spoke at the event.

“Donald Trump is wrong when he says solving the climate change is costing jobs, when not solving the climate crisis cost jobs,” Inslee said.

Inslee said he’s going to sign bills promoting clean energy and getting rid of super pollutants.

Inslee has made climate change the centerpiece of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Before the speeches, protesters challenged Inslee’s commitment to preserving orcas, citing the threats to salmon on the Columbia River that are leading to the extinction of killer whales.

“They are magical, beautiful, important, key stone species,” protester Michelle said. “They to me are the last domino to climate change.”

They’re asking Inslee to remove four dams on the Lower Snack River. He passed a number of laws this year to improve the safety of whales through his orca task force, but the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society say it’s not enough.

Protesters rallied about the extinction of orcas outside an even where Jay Inslee spoke in Portland on July 8, 2019. (KOIN)

“The options that they have come up with to save salmon and to save orca are not ever going to save the southern residents that are going extinct,” Michelle said.

The governor did not address the protesters but says he has a clear path forward.

“We are going to be perseverant until we win this battle,” he said. “Until we get off of coal until we end the dominance of gas in our utility system.”