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Notes from July 11, 2013 meeting

Committee Members Present
Faduma Ali, Angus Duncan, Andrea Durbin, John Fink, Jennifer Allen, Laura Gephart, Ann Gravatt, Carrie Hearne, Mike Houck, Tom Kelly, John McArthur, Guillermo Maciel, Holly Meyer, Linda Nettekoven, Jon Ostar, Chris Smith, Kent Snyder, Douglas Tsoi, Amy Qiu

Committee Members Absent
John Carroll, Brendon Haggerty 

Welcome and Announcements
Michael Armstrong, Senior Sustainability & Operations Manager at BPS, welcomed the group to the second CAP Update Steering Committee Meeting and introduced the Steering Committee Co-Chairs Kent Snyder and Douglas Tsoi.  

Steering Committee Membership Changes

  • Priya Premchandran moved to San Francisco and is unable to continue her role as a Steering Committee Member.
  • Brendon Haggerty is a new Steering Committee member.  He is Program Coordinator with Clark County Public Health and the Chair of the National Association of County and City Health Officials Climate Change Work Group.

Each person in the room briefly introduced themselves and stated their name and the organization they represent.

Equity Frame for CAP Update Project
Desiree Williams-Rajee, Equity Specialist at BPS, and Tim Lynch, Program Coordinator at Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability, lead an exercise to introduce the concept of equity which will be an overarching framework in the CAP and is a key concept in the Portland Plan (the City’s strategic plan). The Portland Plan’s definition of Equity.

Equity is when everyone has access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential. We have a shared fate as individuals within a community and as communities within society. All communities need the ability to shape their own present and future. Equity is both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Equity is the process, and a destination.  Climate change impacts are going to affect all of us.  We would like to make sure that we are creating a resilient city.  Our city will be more resilient if everyone is able to thrive.
  • The Coalition of Communities of Color report shows that in the realms of health, jobs, and education, communities of color are fairing far worse than other communities.  African Americans are worse off today than they were 30 years ago.  This shows us that race matters.  After taking this information into account, how do we come up with solutions for the future?  We know that we are going to have to address race.  In our work to update the CAP, we will review the plan through an equity lens and work to improve actions that can help address equity related gaps. 
  • Tim Lynch introduced an exercise to explore the difference between “equity” and “equality”.  He presented an image of three people of varying heights standing on equal sized boxes attempting to see a baseball game over a fence.  The taller people were able to see the game but the shortest person was not able to see the game.  Steering Committee members were asked to think about what equity would mean in the context of this picture. 

Equity versus Equality Image: Discussion Highlights

  • Place an extra block under the shortest person
  • Raise the fence so no one can see
  • Move the fence
  • Shorten the fence
  • Develop a non-profit to help the shortest person
  • Install hydraulic lifts
  • Remove the fence
  • Put the smaller person on the bigger person’s shoulders – strength of the community
  • It is assumed that the people in the image know each other - that they are friends or family.
  • It’s assumed that there are resources to put towards a solution.
  • The person who placed the boxes assumed that the people who were going to use the boxes would be the same height.

Desiree introduced the “4-Ps” worksheet.  The four Ps are: people, place, process, and power.  The worksheet outlined questions that can be asked to ensure multiple aspects of a potential policy or action are more fully explored, such as: Who has power? Who is impacted? Where are they located?

Steering Committee members brainstormed questions related to people, place, power and process for specific example actions from the 2009 CAP. 

Steering Committee Observations:

  • Many of the questions fit into all of the buckets (people, place, process, and power) versus one.
  • The urban tree canopy action language, in the 2009 CAP, is different than the Portland Plan language.
  • There are decision making process assumptions that are based on the way the City or County works.  The challenge is to think outside of the box.
  • Should we be focused on the implications of an action for the broader community or for specific communities?
  • How do we prioritize where investments are made?
  • Who are the people?
  • What is the process for engaging the people?
  • How are people involved in making decisions?

An equity lens, or a series of equity questions, were created for use in some of the City’s planning projects. This handout was distributed to Steering Committee members as a reference.

Proposed CAP Prioritization Criteria:

  • Michael Armstrong explained that equity considerations will be incorporated into the CAP Update process as it was in the Portland Plan.  Many of the CAP 2009 actions are underway, some are finished and others have not been started.  We will need to decide whether to keep current actions, delete them, or add new actions. 
  • City and County staff are busy compiling a long list of potential actions and the criteria may be able to narrow down the list of actions. 
  • Steering Committee members were asked to provide feedback on the following questions: What do you think we should pay attention to as we prioritize these actions?  Are these the right categories?  Are the weighted numbers appropriate?
  • Kyle Diesner, a Policy Analyst at BPS, distributed a handout and explained the proposed criteria.  The proposal considers the CAP actions on impact (equity, co-benefits, etc.) and feasibility (financial resources, City/County sphere of influence, political will).
  • Michele Crim, Sustainability Manger at BPS, added that City and County staff will rate the projects against the criteria.  Some of the CAP sections, such as Buildings & Energy, have technical advisory groups and will receive input on the prioritization from the technical advisors.  
  • Michael Armstrong explained that staff will rate the actions after receiving Steering Committee feedback and then bring the ratings back to the Steering Committee for feedback.

Steering Committee Feedback on the Proposed Criteria:

  • All the criteria numbers are positive.  Considered adding negative weighting options.
  • Natural systems related resilience needs to be prioritized. 
  • The adaptation-related language in the “Carbon Reduction/Adaptation” section of the criterion only refers to risks to people and needs to include natural systems. 
  • Separate “climate change preparation” and “carbon emission reduction” on the criteria form.  There are actions that achieve carbon emission reduction benefits that do not have preparation benefits and vice versa. 
  • Community need should be part of the equity scoring
  • Include a cost/benefit rating that prioritizes actions that have the largest carbon reduction at the least cost.
  • Projects with a high level of community engagement and community decision making should be prioritized.
  • There is a strong connection between the economic co-benefit criteria and the equity criteria, especially as it relates to missed opportunities.
  • The weighting multiplier numbers are what really matter.  Think about the multiplier numbers and bring options back to the Steering Committee. 
  • Political will determines who benefits.   
  • The feasibility criteria is problematic and it comes from the dominate culture’s perspective.  As such, the section regarding political will and/or public support should be deleted. 
  • It doesn’t make sense to poll the public on each action, whether or not an action has a political champion is the most important aspect.
  • The political will rating could stay but be rated lower.
  • Equity and carbon should be equal if we are serious about equity as an outcome.
  • Carbon should be rated a 10, and everything else should be rated a two or three.
  • The public should have a clear understanding of their part in the climate action plan process.
  • Equity should be a lens and not the result.
  • In order to get people to be part of the process, equity should be a huge part of the process and weighted highly.

The criteria discussion led into an exploration of the relationship between the Climate Action Plan and the Climate Change Preparation Strategy that is currently in development. City and County staff have had several conversations about the benefits and drawbacks of keeping the plans separate versus combining them. Feedback from the Steering Committee included:

  • If the work is being done concurrently we will have a better chance of identifying the areas of overlap if the plans are combined.
  • Mitigation has been the focus until relatively recently in the City.  It makes sense to put them together but it is important to make sure that they receive equal attention.  

Michele Crim made the point that the actions in the CAP are high level, but a lot of the equity work will be played out in how the actions are implemented.  Staff will figure out some mechanism to continue working on the criteria and share updates with the Steering Committee.

Timeline Update and Engagement Opportunities:
Michele Crim explained that the original Steering Committee time commitment was four meetings and as well as the time it took to read background materials and provide feedback etc.  This is meeting number two.  The City and County are looking for the group to function as a high level steering committee.  However, members will have opportunities to dive deeper into specific issues of interest.  She distributed a Steering Committee Engagement Form where members can inform staff of the CAP topics they are interested in and identify the level in which they would like to be involved. 

Engagement options consist of:

  • The Equity Work Group - This group of City and County staff and six grant funded community based organizations who are looking at CAP actions through an equity lens and making recommendations about how the City and County might change an action to incorporate equity, add equity related actions, and/or implement actions in a way that decreases disparities.
  • Work directly with staff – Meet with staff directly and share ideas about a particular topic on a one-on-one basis.
  • Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Meetings – The CAP topics that have advisory committees are likely to be: Climate Preparation, Land Use and Mobility, and Buildings & Energy. Steering Committee members can attend these advisory meetings.

Big Ideas (Discussion continued from first Steering Committee meeting):

  • Positive and inspirational visualization tools are needed to get to our carbon emission reduction goals.
  • Systems Mapping: Impacts from our actions (or non-action) may occur 25 years from now.  Apply this in the CAP (systems dynamics thinking).
  • Cost/benefit analysis of the actions to prioritize actions that have the greatest impact.
  • Replicate the Solarize model to other areas such as weatherization.
  • Leveraging support from the community, local organizations, and the private sector.
  • Maximize health co-benefits. For example, study the impact of energy retro-fits on health
  • Use the power of social media and video technology.
  • Focus on climate change education that includes experiential learning.
  • Report disparity issues in the climate plan (diabetes & asthma rates) and highlight how they are related to specific climate goals (such as increasing human powered transportation and decreasing pollen).
  • Develop climate related relationships betweenPortlandand the region's other cities - go beyond the liberal buy-in community with regards to this agenda.
  • City/County need to be in more of a climate action advocacy role.

Wrap-Up Next Steps:

  • Input from the Steering Committee will go to staff.  Staff is working to process input from different groups (Equity Work Group, Technical Advisory Groups, and the Steering Committee). Staff will draft updated actions and narratives and will present the updated plan for Steering Committee review.
  • Staff is in the process of setting up a website where CAP Update Project documents can be posted.  Staff will notify the Steering Committee of that website once it is live.
  • Visualization –Seattlehas done some work on visualizing their plans. Staff will shareSeattle’s work on the website.
  • Staff will work to revise the criteria proposal.
  • Please let us know if you are uncomfortable sharing your contact info with the group.