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BPS News: City of Portland accelerates climate protection work


For immediate release

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Roy Kaufmann  |  503-823-4799  |  Roy.Kaufmann@

Julia Thompson  |  503-823-0229  |



City of Portland accelerates climate protection work

Mayor Sam Adams and City Council commit to near-term actions and long-term goals

Portland, OR — The City of Portland today adopted the Climate Action Plan, a three-year plan to put Portland and Multnomah Climate Action Plan CoverCounty on a path to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. As of 2008, local carbon emissions were 19 percent below 1990 levels on a per capita basis and one percent below 1990 levels in absolute terms. This compares to a 14 percent increase in total emissions nationally.

"Portland’s good work to reduce carbon emissions over the years sets us apart from the rest of the country," said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. "But it’s clear that our efforts so far are nowhere near enough. As the world mobilizes to fight climate change, Portland is poised to seize a historic opportunity to be at the forefront of a global economic transformation. We have everything to lose by ignoring climate change and everything to gain by pioneering the solutions to it. I’m committed to seeing our community and our businesses lead the way."

In 1993 the City of Portland became the first local government in the United States to adopt a plan to reduce carbon emissions.  In 2001, Multnomah County joined the City of Portland to adopt a joint plan, the Local Action Plan on Global Warming, that set a goal of reducing carbon emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. This compares to a target of a 7percent reduction for the United States by 2008 to 2012 under the never-ratified Kyoto Protocol.

Since 1990 Portland’s recycling rate has tripled, the number of bicyclists crossing bridges has increased five-fold, and bus ridership has doubled.

“We now need to achieve the same transformation in the performance of our homes and buildings and in making our neighborhoods walkable and lively,” said Susan Anderson, the lead author of the original 1993 plan and now the director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

"This Climate Action Plan is also an economic development strategy that supports our efforts to build regional prosperity by innovating in green jobs, especially in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy," says Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen. "I'm proud of the success our community has already achieved in greenhouse gas emission reductions and proud of the partnership between Multnomah County and the City of Portland in planning for climate prosperity."

The Climate Action Plan commits the City and Multnomah County to 93 actions over the next three years and establishes 18 objectives for 2030. A second resolution also adopted today directs City bureaus to begin implementing 15 of the new initiatives called for in the plan, including establishing a tax credit for businesses that install ecoroofs and solar panels together and including the carbon-reduction goals in major City planning processes like the Transportation System Plan and Portland Plan. 

The plan was developed over the past two years, and a draft plan was released for public comment in April 2009. Eight town hall meetings were held between April and July, and more than 600 individuals, businesses and organizations provided comments on the draft plan. Comments tended to be supportive of the direction of the plan, while suggesting modifications to nearly every action. In particular, respondents urged the City and County to be more attentive to four areas: social equity, public health, the larger regional context of the proposed actions, and adaptation to the changing climate, especially with respect to the role of natural systems. The final draft plan incorporates significant changes in response to the comments.

Testifying at City Council today were: David Bragdon, Metro Council President; Leslie Carlson, Portland/Multnomah County Sustainable Development Commission co-chair; Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County Commissioner; Angus Duncan, Oregon Global Warming Commission chair; Christine Ervin, Climate Action Plan Steering Committee; Gillian Floren, Greenlight Greater Portland, Vice President for Marketing and Business Retention; Fred Hansen, TriMet General Manager; Mike Houck, Portland/Multnomah County Sustainable Development Commission and Director, Urban Greenspace Institute; Ruben Plantico, Director of Sustainability, Portland General Electric; Maurice Rahming, O’Neill Electric.

The updated Climate Action Plan and summary of revisions is available at

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution to adopt the Climate Action Plan on Thursday, October 29, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. in the Multnomah County Building.


About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS)

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) integrates strategic planning, land-use policy and community development based on sustainability principles and practices. BPS develops and implements policies and programs to provide environmental, economic and social benefits to residents, businesses and government.