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New methodology protocols affect carbon emissions data for Multnomah County

Trends from 1990 to 2017 show that Portland must do more to reduce emissions over next decade.

Portland’s carbon emissions inventory shows where to focus carbon mitigation efforts and whether we are on track with emission reduction goals. Since the 2017 Climate Action Plan progress report, staff have worked to update all the annual records in accordance with the new Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emission Inventories to align with the Paris Agreement (limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius). A newly released climate data report shows the new numbers. 

By updating protocols, Portland stays in alignment with other cities around the world, enabling better tracking against long range goals with greater confidence. Updating protocols is a challenge for cities and can create discrepancies with previously reported emissions. For example, to move to the global reporting protocol, Portland had to update accounting methods for emissions from landfilled waste, wastewater treatment, and fugitive emissions. This required finding new data sources all the way back to the 1990 baseline to consistently compare data year over year.

The City of Portland uses multiple emission protocols to compare results and better refine estimates of emissions produced locally. By reviewing data using different protocols, Portland can make up for gaps in individual methodologies. For example, Portland reports electricity sector emissions by greenhouse gas, a level of detail only available for the Northwest Power Pool, although as discussed above, those emissions are lower than the emissions from Portland’s two electric utilities. Therefore, the use of multiple protocols allows Portland to better understand what’s happening locally.

The time required to find and evaluate new data sets for a protocol change delays the frequency of emissions inventory reporting. Changes to protocols that affect data collection and carbon accounting limit comparability with previously reported data using older methodologies. With a baseline year of 1990, protocol changes create substantial new work as more than 20 years of inventories need to be consistently updated.

A success story and a warning

Despite 26 years of climate planning and mitigation, local carbon emission reductions in Multnomah County have hit a plateau, at around 15% below 1990 levels. This is a success story and a warning. The reductions to date are impressive given population growth since 1990, 38% more people and 34% more jobs. Collectively we have reduced per-person emissions in Portland by 38% since 1990, although it is clear reduction efforts need to rapidly accelerate.

Transportation sector emissions are increasing dramatically, currently 8% over 1990 levels, and 14% over their lowest levels in 2012. Portland has experienced year over year increases in transportation related emissions for the past five years, with transportation emissions growing faster than population growth over the same period.

The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report in October 2018 which projected that limiting warming to the 1.5°C target will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this, Portland must reduce our local emissions by 35% in the next 11 years, a daunting task.

New carbon emissions inventory reports on trends from 1990 to 2017

Today, carbon emissions from Multnomah County total 7,700,000 Metric Tons CO2e, which is a 15% reduction from 1990 levels. This decline reflects the continued growth of renewable energy resources like wind and solar in the Pacific Northwest, investments in transit and bike infrastructure, dense and walkable neighborhoods, renewable transportation fuels, as well as the transition from fuel oil to natural gas for heating. This means that a person living in Portland today produces 38% fewer carbon emissions than they would have in 1990. 

Read the full report.

Check your own emissions

Households and businesses can assess their own carbon emissions by using free online tools, like the Cool Climate Network’s calculators: 

MEDIA RELEASE: Portland City Council votes to appoint first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee

Inaugural members bring a wealth of experience in renewable energy, business and workforce development, urban food production and community outreach to meet the needs of communities of color and low-income households through climate action.

September 25, 2019

CONTACT:

Eden Dabbs
L: 503-823-9908 / C: 503-260-3301
eden.dabbs@portlandoregon.gov

Damon Motz-Storey (PCEF community coalition comment) 
C: 303-913-5634 
damon@oregonpsr.org

Portland, ORE. — Portland City Council made history today by appointing the first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee. These inaugural members will nominate the remaining four members of the nine-member committee, which is charged with reviewing proposals and selecting grant recipients for clean energy projects that will benefit communities of color and low-income households.

Stated Mayor Ted Wheeler, “The Portland Clean Energy Fund is a nationally acclaimed model for climate action and I am excited to have such a dynamic and talented slate of appointments on the PCEF committee to help ensure we get it right. This is an important milestone toward ensuring that all Portlanders, especially working families, have access to a green future with clean energy jobs.”

“We have such a committed and talented group of people joining the PCEF committee,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “I’m excited to see what comes next as we continue building a program that is the first of its kind in the nation, thanks to the community’s efforts.”

And Khanh Pham, Organizing Director at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and a leader in the PCEF community coalition, said, "We are thrilled to welcome these initial five Portlanders who have the expertise to lead the program to a successful launch. As the measure states, these individuals have a great depth and breadth of skills, are committed to the goals of the City's Climate Action Plan, and represent our racial and geographic diversity. We are so excited to support them as they start setting up the PCEF grant program and filling the final four spots on the committee."

About the appointees

Each of the five Commissioners selected one nominee.

Maria Gabrielle Sipin, Mayor Wheeler’s choice, is a professional transportation planner and community health advocate whose work emphasizes the importance of investing in bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure and addressing displacement, safety, and accessibility for communities of color. She has experience working with people experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ youth in health care settings and continues to push for mobility justice and participatory budgeting through her grassroots nonprofit involvement.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz nominated Dr. Megan Horst, an Assistant Professor in the school of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University. She possesses substantial urban agriculture and local food systems expertise that is recognized both locally and nationally. Ms. Horst also brings a strong equity lens and experience in food justice work.

Michael Edden David Hill is a journeyman electrician who, in addition to experience in wind power design and deployment, also has expertise in construction management on one of the largest solar photo voltaic systems in the country. Mr. Hill, who was Commissioner Nick Fish’s choice, has a solid understanding of informal support ecosystems necessary to support paths through pre/apprenticeship programs.

Commissioner Hardesty nominated Shanice Brittany Clarke, the Director of Community Engagement at Portland Public Schools. Ms. Clarke offers deep community engagement experience, having worked directly with 75-100 community organizations annually that serve Portland’s diverse communities. In addition, Ms. Clark is a national delegate on the Climate Justice Alliance and is also a proud member of the Sunrise Movement, supporting their 4-year plan to make climate action an urgent priority in every corner of our home.

And Robin Wang, a seasoned business, nonprofit, and community leader with a passion for deploying capital and harnessing business to benefit the greater good, was nominated by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. As a former owner of a sustainable lifestyle business, Mr. Wang brings a wealth of expertise in both sustainability and small business operation. Mr. Wang is the executive director of a local community development financial institution that supports underbanked entrepreneurs and serves on Prosper Portland’s Council for Economic and Racial Equity.

These five appointments will run for four years, ending on September 25, 2023. Now that they have been confirmed, they will work to recommend four additional appointments for two-year terms.     

About the Clean Energy Fund

The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits initiative was passed by 65% of voters in November 2018. It will provide a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in a manner that supports social, economic and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, particularly communities of color and low-income residents. The initiative was supported by a broad coalition of groups and individuals and represents the first environmental initiative in Oregon led by communities of color.

PCEF is anticipated to bring $54 – $71 million annually in new revenue for living wage jobs, sustainable agriculture, green infrastructure, and residential/commercial renewable and efficiency projects in the Portland area, including the development of a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the field of clean energy. Bringing together a diverse grant committee is the first of several milestones involving community members to prepare for PCEF’s first grant cycle anticipated to begin in Spring 2020.

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PSC News: October 8, 2019 Meeting Information and Documents

Design Overlay Zone Amendments – Briefing; Transportation System Plan – Briefi

Agenda

  • Design Overlay Zone Amendments – Briefing
  • Transportation System Plan – Briefing

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/classification/3687.

For background information, see the PSC website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/psc, call 503-823-7700 or email psc@portlandoregon.gov.

Meeting playback on Channel 30 are scheduled to start the Friday following the meeting. Starting times may occur earlier for meetings over three hours long, and meetings may be shown at additional times as scheduling requires.

Channel 30 (closed-caption)
Friday at 3 p.m. | Sunday at 7:00 a.m. | Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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The City of Portland is committed to providing meaningful access and will make reasonable accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or provide other services. When possible, please contact us at least three (3) business days before the meeting at 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868 or Oregon Relay Service 711.

503-823-7700: Traducción o interpretación | Chuyển Ngữ hoặc Phiên Dịch | 翻译或传译 | Turjumida ama Fasiraadda | Письменный или устный перевод | Traducere sau Interpretare | Письмовий або усний переклад | 翻訳または通訳 | ການແປພາສາ ຫຼື ການອະທິບາຍ | الترجمة التحريرية أو الشفهية | www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/71701

Portland joins countries and cities around the world to cut down the distribution of single-use plastic

Portland restaurants can only provide single-use plastic items by request, not by default.

Plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, etc

Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once. Let that sink in.

“These non-recyclable single-use plastic items are piling up in garbage cans, on Portland’s streets and in our waterways,” said City of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “We’ve heard from the Portland community and thank the restaurants who have already taken action over the past year to stop automatically offering single-use plastic items. By working together, we can reduce waste and keep Portland beautiful.”  

Last summer, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability worked with local stakeholders on a waste reduction policy to address single-use plastics. The result: As of Oct. 1, 2019, businesses in Portland cannot include plastic straws, stirrers, utensils or individually packaged condiments in a customer’s order for dine-in, drive-through, take-out or delivery. These items can only be provided upon customer request. 

“Last week our bureau released a new climate data report. We are committed to working with Portlanders to set priorities for climate action, and waste reduction plays a role in that,” said Andrea Durbin, director, City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. “This new policy will reduce plastic litter and the demand for energy and resources, including fossil fuels, needed to make single-use items.” 

All retail food and beverage establishments are required to comply, including sit-down and fast food restaurants, food carts, bars, coffee and tea shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, hotels and motels, caterers and food service contractors. This includes educational, medical and governmental institutions that provide food and beverages. The only exception is for meals provided as part of a social service to vulnerable populations, including free or reduced-price meals provided by school systems, homeless shelters and programs that deliver meals to the elderly. 

Community helped to draft an inclusive “by-request” policy instead of a complete ban

In summer 2018, local restaurants, wholesalers, a medical facility, American Disability Act (ADA) advocates, and environmental advocates considered plastics reduction at a series of meetings. Partners from Multnomah County, Prosper Portland and the City of Portland Bureau of Equity and Human Rights were also at the table. 

“Participating in the City’s single-use disposables policy is a given for Burgerville,” said Hillary Barbour, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Burgerville. “We were early adopters of innovative packaging, recycling waste oil into biodiesel, and offsetting 100% of our energy use with green power. Implementing this initiative at all 41 Burgerville locations throughout Oregon and Washington brings us closer to our vision for the Pacific Northwest to be the healthiest region on the planet.”

BPS then worked with Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office to research the policies of other cities, conduct a series of workgroup meetings, analyze community feedback and land on a more inclusive “by-request” policy recommendation. Since some customers would find it difficult or impossible to drink without a plastic straw, the “by-request” approach respects the disability community’s needs while achieving waste reduction. 

Portland food retailers were notified twice over the summer

The City of Portland sent affected businesses notification letters in June and September 2019. 
See the September notification, which included a sign for customers, in English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and Korean.  

For more details, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/reduceplastic 
 
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Portland City Council to formally appoint nominees to the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee

Commissioners to vote on their nominees Wednesday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m

September 24, 2019

CONTACT:

Eden Dabbs
L: 503-823-9908 / C: 503-260-3301
eden.dabbs@portlandoregon.gov

Damon Motz-Storey (PCEF community coalition comment)
C: 303-913-5634
damon@oregonpsr.org

Media Advisory

WHAT: Formal appointment of initial five (of nine) PCEF Fund Committee members by City Council

WHO: The following five community members have been nominated by members of City Council:

City Council member

Nominee

Ted Wheeler  

Maria Gabrielle Sipin

Amanda Fritz

Megan Horst  

Nick Fish

Michael David Edden Hill

Jo Ann Hardesty

Shanice Brittany Clarke

Chloe Eudaly  

Robin Wang

As required by the community-led ballot measure that created PCEF, membership of this committee will reflect the racial, ethnic and economic diversity of the City of Portland, include at least two residents living east of 82nd Ave and possess significant experience in the types of projects supported by the fund, including residential and commercial renewable energy/energy efficiency, workforce development, promoting minority and women-owned businesses, local food and green infrastructure, and innovative financing tools.

These five appointments will run for four years, ending on September 25, 2023. Upon confirmation, they will work to recommend four additional appointments for two-year terms.  

WHEN: Wednesday, September 25, 3:30 p.m., time certain

WHERE: Portland City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave

WHY: The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits initiative was passed by 65% of voters in November 2018. It will provide a consistent, long-term funding source and oversight structure to ensure that the City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is implemented in a manner that supports social, economic and environmental benefits for all Portlanders, particularly communities of color and low-income residents. The initiative was supported by a broad coalition of groups and individuals and represents the first environmental initiative in Oregon led by communities of color.

PCEF is anticipated to bring $54 – $71 million annually in new revenue for living wage jobs, sustainable agriculture, green infrastructure, and residential/commercial renewable and efficiency projects in the Portland area, including the development of a diverse and well-trained workforce and contractor pool in the field of clean energy. Bringing together a diverse grant committee is the first of several milestones involving community members to prepare for PCEF’s first grant cycle anticipated to begin in Spring 2020.

After the initiative passed, it was codified in Portland City Code Chapter 7.07, including a requirement to establish a Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee. For the first Committee, each City Council member (including the Mayor) nominated a Committee member and those five Committee members, once appointed, shall then recommend four additional members to the Mayor for appointment. Over 100 applicants applied to the sit on the committee and were evaluated by community members and city staff. The evaluation criteria were based on their depth of experience in key areas and demonstrated commitment to Climate Action Plan goals and community empowerment.

The Committee will be tasked with reviewing applications for funding and awarding grants for community clean energy projects. It will also maintain a public website of information on the committee’s activities, membership, and policies. Upon completion of a committee member’s term of service, new committee members will be appointed for four-year terms by the Mayor.

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