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Local carbon emissions down 35 percent per person. City and County release draft 2015 Climate Action Plan proposing next steps.

Community comments welcome on draft plan for City of Portland and Multnomah County to cut carbon 80 percent by 2050. Public comment period open through April 10, 2015.

CAP Cover Image

News from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

CONTACTS
Julia Thompson  |  503-823-0229  |  Julia.Thompson@portlandoregon.gov
Christine Llobregat  |  503-823-7007  |  Christine.Llobregat@portlandoregon.gov


Portland, ORE. — Today the City of Portland and Multnomah County released the draft 2015 Climate Action Plan for public comment. The draft plan provides a roadmap for the community to achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

In 1993, Portland was the first city in the United States to create a local action plan for cutting carbon. The 2015 draft plan builds on Portland’s 20+ year legacy of climate action with ambitious new policies, fresh research on consumption choices and engagement with community leaders serving low-income households and communities of color to help ensure that all Portlanders benefit from the City and County’s climate action efforts.

“I have spoken to city leaders around the world who are amazed that Portland has had a Climate Action Plan since 2009,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Many other cities are just now contemplating such a plan. As we look at the 2015 draft, two things come to mind: How incredibly far we’ve come. And how much more work is ahead of us.”

“Climate change is our generation’s greatest environmental challenge,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “The Climate Action Plan charts a course for us to continue working toward reducing emissions. But it also helps us prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change, especially the vulnerable members of our community who will suffer the most. I am committed to doing what we can now to achieve a low carbon future and be prepared for the impacts of hotter, drier summers and warmer winters.”

Attend an open house event in March

The City of Portland and Multnomah County welcome feedback from the community through Apr. 10, 2015. Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/climate to read the draft 2015 Climate Action Plan and complete the online comment form.

Open houses are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, March 19, 2015, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Velo Cult Bike Shop, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., Portland, OR 97213
  • Tuesday, March 24, 2015, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 North Albina St., Portland, OR 97217

Following community input and revisions, the draft plan will be considered for adoption by the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission, Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and the Portland City Council.

As global leaders grapple with the concerns and opportunities the changing climate presents, Portland has become an international destination for planners and decision-makers seeking proven strategies for climate action. Since 2010, more than 160 delegations from around the world have come to Portland to speak with business and government leaders to understand how Portland has lowered emissions while welcoming growth and creating a more livable community. Portland and Multnomah County now have 12,000 clean tech jobs, an increase of 25 percent in the last 15 years.

Highlights of the draft Climate Action Plan

  • This summer TriMet will open Tilikum Crossing: Bridge of the People, the largest bridge in the United States to carry people on transit, bikes and on foot, but no cars. To accommodate the potential for higher river levels from climate change, the height of the bridge above the water was increased. The draft plan calls for continued investments that expand active transportation options throughout Portland and ensure those infrastructure investments are resilient to the impacts of climate change. 
  • Over the last five years, Portland residents have installed more than 2,000 solar systems and more than 2,000 homeowners have insulated their houses. The draft plan calls for doubling solar installations through efforts like community solar and continuing to weatherize homes at a faster rate than ever.
  • This spring the Portland City Council will consider an energy tracking and reporting policy for large commercial buildings. If adopted, the City will work with building owners and managers to access resources to improve the energy performance of Portland’s largest 1,000 commercial buildings.
  • Recent changes to garbage and composting service have led to a 37 percent reduction in garbage headed to the landfill. Residential bills are down two years in a row, while Portland’s recycling rate has reached 70 percent, one of the highest in the nation. The draft plan focuses on reaching renters and large multifamily communities to get those numbers even higher.
  • The draft plan also proposes to broaden the City’s work on waste to look at “upstream” opportunities to make more efficient use of existing goods, vehicles and buildings, such as car-sharing and short-term rentals. Other new business models are emerging to make it easier for people to rent, borrow, repair, and reuse everyday goods.

The 2015 Climate Action Plan includes new areas of focus

Advancing equity: Portland is changing. More than half of the students in Portland Public Schools, for example, are people of color. Low-income communities and people of color in Multnomah County are likely to experience the impacts of climate change more acutely, including increased air pollution and heat waves.

At the same time, these communities historically have not had the same access to the kinds of services and infrastructure that make low-carbon choices easier and affordable, such as frequent transit service and adequate sidewalks in East Portland or energy efficiency programs that benefit renters. From transportation investments and economic opportunities to tree plantings and policy engagement, the 2015 draft plan prioritizes actions that reduce disparities and ensure that under-served and under-represented communities share in the benefits of climate action work.

“Certain populations, including low-income households, communities of color, linguistically isolated households, renters and older adults may be less able to prepare for and recover from impacts from climate change,” said Claudia Arana Colen, health equity coordinator, Upstream Public Health. “I am pleased to see the needs of vulnerable populations prioritized, and expect Portland and Multnomah County to deliver on their commitments to these communities as they implement this plan.”

Exploring consumption: For the first time, the Climate Action Plan includes a consumption-based inventory, tallying carbon emissions associated with all of the goods and services that are produced elsewhere and consumed in Multnomah County. This inventory considers carbon emissions from the full lifecycle of goods and services, including production, transportation, wholesale and retail, use and disposal. Global carbon emissions as a result of local consumer demand are larger than the volume of emissions produced locally.

The addition of the consumption-based inventory offers insight into a wider range of opportunities to reduce carbon. Residents, for example, can shift purchases toward goods that are durable and repairable. Businesses have opportunities throughout their supply chains to choose lower-carbon options, and new business models like car-sharing are emerging to make it easier to borrow, repair and reuse everyday goods.

How to comment

  1. Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/climate for more information about the new plan, and to read specific chapters or download the full draft plan.
  2. Comments on the draft 2015 City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan are due by April 10, 2015.
  3. Share your feedback on the draft plan using this online form.

Comments are also accepted by:
Email to: climate@portlandoregon.gov

Postal mail to:

RE: 2015 Climate Action Plan
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Avenue, #7100
Portland, OR 97201

Additional statements from City of Portland and Multnomah County

“Total carbon emissions in the U.S. are up 7 percent since 1990. Here, in Portland and Multnomah County, we’ve cut total emissions by 14 percent, with 30 percent more people and over 75,000 more jobs. Clearly we are headed in a different direction," said Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. “The investments that have helped us cut energy use and reduce carbon emissions are the same things that make people want to live here: Creating walkable neighborhoods with shopping, restaurants and parks; investing in transit and bike facilities; and making our homes and buildings more efficient and comfortable.”

“Climate change is a threat to the health and wellbeing of our entire community, but will fall hardest on those most vulnerable to climate change impacts including older adults, children, people in poverty and people of color” said John Wasiutynski, director of the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability. “The County is committed to working with the communities we serve to ensure they are empowered to protect themselves and benefit from climate solutions.”
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Portland City Council Adopts West Quadrant Plan

Long-range plan for the west side of the Central City provides direction for economic activity and growth, access to the Willamette River and an exciting urban waterfront, habitat restoration, more housing diversity and livability

On March 5, 2015, the Portland City Council voted to adopt the West Quadrant Plan, which sets direction for a long-range plan for Central City districts west of the Willamette River, including Downtown, the West End, Goose Hollow, the Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, South Waterfront and South Downtown/University. 


“This plan welcomes change, growth and development, but also seeks to preserve character, livability and important historic and environmental resources,” said Mayor Charlie Hales at the start of the second public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan Recommended Draft. “The plan lays out a detailed and balanced roadmap and builds on the successes and key directions from the 1972 Downtown Plan and 1988 Central City Plans.”


Commissioners discuss proposed amendments to the West Quadrant PlanAt the first public hearing on the West Quadrant Plan on February 4, Council received oral and written communications from more than 100 people. At the March 5 hearing, about a dozen Portlanders testified on amendments to the plan, which were introduced by Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fritz and Novick, and City planners. The package included amendments for habitat restoration, Waterfront Park, the Greenway Trail, bridgehead heights, the Pearl District Waterfront and Goose Hollow Residential Overlays.

Waterfront Park, housing bonuses and Pearl District Greenway top issues

The liveliest discussions between commissioners were around updating the master plan for Waterfront Park — with Commissioner Fritz passionately advocating for resources to go to unmet park needs in East Portland — and height bonuses for affordable housing along the Pearl District Waterfront.

The vote to adopt was four to one, with Fritz the single nay vote. “We haven’t gotten to the right endpoint with the Pearl Greenway and Waterfront Park,” she explained.

Commissioner Saltzman, a strong affordable housing advocate, noted, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of about height. I see it as an opportunity for more affordable housing. We’ll be coming back in May with more information about bonuses and affordable housing, and I feel good we’ll get those bonuses in time.”

All the commissioners acknowledged the tremendous amount of work on the part of the project Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the Planning and Sustainability Commission, community members who participated in the process and testified to City Council, and City bureaus who collaborated to craft the plan.


“So much of what the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability does is act as the nexus; bringing together the best ideas of the community and other bureaus’ work,” said BPS Director Susan Anderson. “Staff have had hundreds of conversations with residents, businesses and our bureau partners to develop this plan.”


Thanking his fellow commissioners for their willingness to work through every detail of the plan, Mayor Hales acknowledged “the amazing thoughtful community testimony. Reflecting on my work here and around the country, I don’t think we understand how high caliber the work is here in Portland. … Good work is being done here.”

Other features of the plan

The West Quadrant Plan aims to improve livability, stimulate economic development, and increase connections and access in and around the Central City with the Green Loop, a 10-mile walking and biking open space path. The plan also includes actions to activate the waterfront and restore habitat in the Willamette River for fish, wildlife and people. And it ensures a more resilient Central City in response to global environmental changes and challenges.

Next steps

By adopting the plan, Council approved specific policy directions for the West Quadrant. Now staff will begin writing the code to implement the plan, which will be rolled up into the Central City 2035 Plan, along with the N/NE Quadrant Plan (completed in 2012) and the SE Quadrant Plan (in progress), and submitted to City Council in 2016 as the first amendment to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. 

PSC News: March 17, 2015 Meeting Recap and Documents

Terminal 6 Environmental Overlay Zone Boundary and Code Amendment — briefing

Agenda

  • Terminal 6 Environmental Overlay Zone Boundary and Code Amendment — briefing

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.

Future of the Powell-Division Corridor is Taking Shape

Powell-Division Transit and Development Project gathers community feedback in the Jade District and Midway; interactive mapping tool allows for virtual commenting

Community OutreachEvery day tens of thousands of people ride TriMet bus lines 4 and 9 between Portland and Gresham to connect to Portland’s Central City, Downtown Gresham, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center and many places in between. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is collaborating with Metro, TriMet, the City of Gresham, ODOT and Multnomah County on the Powell-Division Transit and Development Project to provide faster, more reliable high capacity transit to more Portlanders, especially those living, working or going to school in East Portland.

The project team has been conducting extensive outreach, focusing on the needs and interests of East and Southeast Portland and Gresham residents as well as the many immigrant and refugee and limited English proficiency (LEP) populations in the area. In addition to focus groups and youth outreach, the City of Portland and Metro recently partnered with the Jade District and Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement to host community workshops at local businesses at East Garden restaurant on SE Division and 124th and at Fubonn on SE 82nd Ave. Successful and lively events, the Jade District workshop on February 28 included live translation services for Cantonese and Vietnamese speakers provided by community leaders Rosaline Hui and Thao Tran, respectively. A joint Powell-Division and Mixed Use Zones Project open house was also held at Cleveland High School on March 10.

P-D Route Option

Community outreach has also been supported by Metro’s new interactive map tool, which asked participants to share their preferences for alignments and station area planning. Metro received more than 1,500 comments between February 13 and March 4, 2015, which were shared with the project's Steering Committee in advance of their March 16 meeting. Representatives from the Tongan community, the Russian Speaking Network and the Latino Network all spoke at the meeting, and youth organizers shared insights they gained while canvassing businesses in the City of Gresham. The project team is looking forward to them continuing their work as they move west into the City of Portland. Additional focus groups are slated for April and May, and staff will schedule presentations and discussions with Neighborhood Associations during that time as well.

At the same meeting the Steering Committee, which includes community and government agency representatives, reached consensus on the most promising route options for the new high-capacity transit services slated for the Powell-Division corridor. The new bus rapid transit service will travel from the Central City across the Tilikum Crossing, up Powell Blvd to either 50th, 52nd or 82nd Avenues, where it will head north to Division St. It will then travel on Division to Gresham, where it will connect to Mount Hood Community College. The Steering Committee expressed strong support for 82nd Ave as the north-south crossing, but some cautioned that additional engineering, design and traffic studies need to be completed to better understand the opportunities and challenges. Further refinements to the design will take place as the team moves into project development and completes additional engineering and traffic studies.

PSC News: March 24, 2015 Meeting Recap and Documents

Comprehensive Plan — work session

Agenda

  • Comprehensive Plan — work session

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.