Building and protecting our infrastructure in a changing climate
Last week, Portland City Council adopted the Climate Change Preparation Strategy and the associated Risk and Vulnerabilities Assessment. These documents identify how climate change will affect the Portland region and what actions are needed to protect our community.
The strategy and background report explore the impacts of climate change on various sectors, including people, infrastructure, and natural systems likes rivers and wetlands. The strategy identifies more than 80 actions to build climate resilience into City of Portland and Multnomah County policies, operations, services and infrastructure over the coming years.
Predictions for Portland’s climate future include warmer winters with heavier rainstorms and hotter, drier summers with more high-heat days.
Technical experts from Environmental Services worked on the Climate Change Preparation Strategy. Environmental Services’ wastewater and stormwater infrastructure is valued at over $13.2 billion. Those facilities help keep Portlanders safe and healthy, and protect our environment.
Changing climate conditions pose risks to our stormwater facilities and sewage treatment system. They are also a threat to the health of our urban forests, streams and rivers – the natural infrastructure we rely on for clean water.
The bureau is already implementing solutions, and will continue to do so. One solution is our use of green infrastructure, like green street planters, ecoroofs, trees and wetlands to manage stormwater. That's part of our regular business, but green infrastructure also provides climate-related benefits, including:
- Helping to cool and clean our rivers and streams, which are projected to get warmer with climate change.
- Soaking up water from more extreme rain events to help protect the capacity of our sewer pipes.
- Helping capture CO2 and move the city closer to the Climate Action Plan targets for carbon reduction. Check out this post about green infrastructure and carbon sequestration.
Read more about the Climate Change Preparation Strategy in this news release from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Visit Portland’s Climate Preparation and Action website to learn more about the Climate Action Plan update project and other existing climate efforts.