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BPS News: Latest Climate Action Plan Progress Report shows Portland’s carbon emissions have dropped 26 percent per person since 1990


11 April 2012

Christine Llobregat
City of Portland
Tim Lynch
Multnomah County

Latest Climate Action Plan Progress Report shows Portland’s carbon emissions have dropped 26 percent per person since 1990

Mayor Sam Adams and County Chair Jeff Cogen share progress update on Climate Action Plan goals for Portland, Oregon

Portland, ORE. —The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Multnomah County Office of Sustainability have released a two-year progress report for Portland and Multnomah County’s 2009 Climate Action Plan. The guiding document for the City and County’s response to climate change, the Climate Action Plan is a three-year plan to put Portland on a path to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. The progress report was presented at today’s City Council meeting.

The progress report shows that total local carbon emissions continue to decline. By the end of 2010, emissions were 6 percent below 1990 levels, while national carbon emissions are up almost 12 percent over the same period. On a per person basis, Multnomah County carbon emissions have dropped 26 percent since 1990.  

"We’re making solid progress on our ambitious Climate Action Plan goals, in part because we’re creating a more connected city. Portlanders now have more low-carbon options to get to school and to work, more efficient ways to heat and power their homes and new ways to deal with household waste," said Sam Adams, mayor of Portland, Oregon. "I’m excited to see this progress continue as we implement the Portland Plan."

The report provides status updates on all of the actions called for in the Climate Action Plan. Highlights include:

Portland homes use 10 percent less energy per person compared to 1990, and a larger percentage of the energy that is used comes from clean energy sources like wind and solar.

  • Since 2009, more than 1,200 homes have been weatherized through Clean Energy Works Oregon and more than 1,400 homes and businesses have installed solar panels.

  • As of the end of 2011, total solar energy capacity in Multnomah County exceeded 14 Megawatts. If all those solar modules were arranged together, they would cover more than 24 football fields.

Nearly 150,000 households can now compost food scraps at the curb.

  • During the first five months of the city’s new curbside composting program, over 30,000 tons of yard debris and food scraps were kept out of the landfill where rotting food waste creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Imagine compost-carrying trailers (laid end-to-end without the trucks pulling them) that would stretch for more than 9 miles.


Despite a 26 percent increase in population, fewer gallons of gasoline were sold in Multnomah County in 2010 than in 1990.


  • This reduction due in part to developments that make it easier for people to walk, bike, or take transit.  For example, the City built nearly ten miles of Neighborhood Greenways in 2011, providing Portlanders with safer places to walk and bicycle. 

  • Since 2009, the number of bicyclists has increased by 14 percent.

Oregon’s architecture, engineering, and construction firms continue to design and build the world’s greenest buildings. Portland is home to nearly 150 certified green buildings, and has more LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified buildings than any other city in the U.S.  


  • In the past year, 2.3 acres of ecoroofs were constructed in Portland for a total of 7.3 acres (177 ecoroofs) since 2009. 

  • Portlanders have rolled up their sleeves to make a difference on climate change.

  • Over 7,000 trees were planted in Portland in 2011 through a variety of programs including partnerships with Friends of Trees and the Youth Conservation Crew. 

  • Over the past year, thousands of Portlanders attended City of Portland Fix-It Fairs where over 60 government and community organizations provided information, demonstrations and classes on weatherization, cutting energy bills, vegetable gardening, composting, tree-care and all season cycling.

  • Over 500 organizations and individuals have signed on to support the Multnomah Food Action Plan to promote the local food system.

"Our energy efficiency gains in Multnomah County have already saved taxpayers $1.3 million in annual utility costs while making us a healthier community," said Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen.  "We're encouraged by this report and remain committed to building on our gains because those savings go directly to our core mission—helping our most vulnerable people."

"No single action, nor single entity—public, private, non-profit, or individual—is responsible for these accomplishments,” added Susan Anderson, director, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "Instead, they are the result of many thousands of people, businesses and organizations taking action every day—at home, at work, and at play."

What does the Climate Action Plan call for?

To meet the ambitious and critical goals for carbon reduction, Portland and Multnomah County’s Climate Action Plan establishes 18 measurable 2030 objectives across eight primary focus areas:

  1. Buildings and Energy

  2. Urban Form and Mobility

  3. Consumption and Solid Waste

  4. Urban Forestry and Natural Systems

  5. Food and Agriculture

  6. Community Engagement

  7. Climate Change Preparation

  8. Local Government Operations

Within those focus areas, the 2009 Climate Action Plan outlines over 100 specific actions to be initiated by the end of 2012. Those actions are not intended to be an exhaustive list of every effort that Portland and Multnomah County will undertake to achieve our emission reduction goals.

In general, a majority of actions in the plan have moved forward. Approximately 12 percent of the actions slated for the first three years are completed; a further 58 percent are on track for completion; 24 percent are underway but face obstacles or are behind schedule; and the remaining 6 percent have not yet been initiated or little work has been done.

Greenhouse gas emissions are calculated using the Clean Air & Climate Protection protocol developed by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability."  Visit for more details.

Read more

The Year Two Progress Report and the complete Climate Action Plan are available at
Visit for more information about actions Portlanders can take to reduce personal carbon emissions every day.