It begins when a small group comes together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges and opportunities of peak oil, climate change and economic stagnation?
Transition PDX is committed to building resilient communities
that are prepared to embrace a lower energy future
with cooperation and creativity.
These are the principles that guide the way TPDX works. These continue to develop and evolve:
There are also some specific principles that deal with the organizational structure:
There are also some specific principles on fundraising for projects:
And finally, a principle on how we evolve the principles:
We make changes to these Principles where necessary, but only with a high level of consensus.
To raise public awareness of the issues associated with climate change and the peaking of global oil supplies, encouraging communities in the Portland metro area to adopt the Transition Model in order to unleash the collective genius of the local community to answer the following question:
To inspire communities to consider the Transition Model through talks, film screenings, DVDs, books, websites, blogs, publications, PR, radio, television, and the arts.
To encourage communities to adopt and adapt the Transition Model as their response to climate change and peak oil by providing advice, guidance, training and consulting.
To support Transition Initiatives by:
To train communities and individuals in all aspects of the Transition concept
Transition PDX is loosely organized into a network of groups comprised of people coming together to explore how the Transition model can be applied in the Portland, Oregon area. These include a number of Working Groups and Transition Neighborhood Groups, plus a Coordinating Group to provide overall direction and coordination. In addition, ad hoc study groups are formed from time to time.
The Coordinating Group works to craft the overall vision and mission of Transition PDX; determine what actions are needed to move the organization forward; and coordinate the overall network of Transition PDX groups.
Communications & Outreach — Works to raise awareness and spread the word about the local Transition movement via electronic and print publications, event planning and publicity, speakers bureau, and other public education projects. Contact: becky.pdx at gmail dot com
Community Health — Aims to build neighborhood alternative and other health resources as an important part of resilience. This working group is just getting underway. For dates and locations of meetings and for more info, Contact: barbaraw at tpdx dot net.
Community Preparedness — Meets usually on 4th Tuesdays to develop and implement programs on preparedness for both short-term and longer-term emergencies. Come and help spread awareness about both household preparedness and organizing neighbors for mutual support in an emergency of whatever kind. The Community Preparedness group has its own mailing list, which you can subscribe to by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: liz at tpdx dot net
Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) — This group is working to develop an Energy Descent Action Plan that will show how to move toward a resilient Portland area. Contact: jameyharris at gmail dot com
Food — Committed to community and collaborative action in building a locally resilient food system that is dedicated to food equity as well as the health and protection of both our precious environmental resources and our neighborhoods. The group is currently embarking on a new initiative, the Median Farms project, and invites you to join them for food issues and fun. For dates and locations of monthly meetings and outreach projects and for more info, Contact: Barbara G, splendiforus at hotmail dot com.
Heart & Soul — This group focuses on the psychological, spiritual and emotional aspects of energy descent. The group is currently on hiatus, but if you are interested in helping facilitate and coordinate meetings, Contact: Zeratha, mooglicious at gmail dot com
Planning & Policy — Replaced by the Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) group.
Transition Neighborhoods — This group meets periodically to share ideas, resources and support for moving toward greater resilience and closer community in Portland neighborhoods. Anyone wanting to work at their neighborhood level is welcome. The group also works to bring the Transition Inititiative model to neighborhoods as yet without a Transition neighborhood group. Contact: Jim, jnewcomer at tpdx dot net
Neighborhood groups aim to bring the Transition message of building community, connectedness and resilience against climate change, rising energy costs and economic insecurity to specific neighborhoods in the Portland metro area. For help starting one in your area, come to the Transition Neighborhoods group above.
Transition Sunnyside — Meets 2nd Mondays under the umbrella of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Sustainabilty Committee. All Sunnyside residents and interested visitors are invited to attend. Current focus is on emergency preparedness for the entire neighborhood, and we have pilots happening on several blocks as well. Meeting Place: Southeast Uplift Offices, 3524 SE Main Street. Time: 6:00-7:30 pm. Contact: reuben at tpdx dot net
Transition Westside — Works to bring the tradition of the Transition movement to the west side of the Willamette River. The group hopes to inspire a grassroots burgeoning of people who are prepared for emergencies, in community with their neighbors, and resilient against coming problems. They prefer to partner with other established groups involved in food security, housing, healthcare, permaculture, etc. The group generally meets 2nd Sunday for a potluck and program. Everyone is welcome! Usual Meeting Place: Friends West Side Church, 7425 SW 52 Ave. (occasional meetings are held elsewhere). Time: 5:30-8:30 pm. Contact: Kelly, kjsreece at comcast dot net
Transition Woodstock Area — Covers Woodstock and surrounding neighborhoods (e.g. Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington, Creston-Kenilworth, Eastmoreland, Reed, Foster-Powell) in Southeast Portland. TWA meets 2nd Thursdays from September to May for film screenings, talks, workshops and potlucks. During the summer the group meets on different dates and locations for various hands-on projects and workshops. Everyone is welcome! The group has its own mailing list, which you can subscribe to by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Usual Meeting Place: Trinity United Methodist Church, 3915 SE Steele Street. Usual time: 7:00-9:00 pm. Contact: liz at tpdx dot net
Transition Outer Eastside — Includes area known as East Portland (east of 82nd, more or less) and Gresham. The group meets as part of the East Portland Action Plan and/or the EastCo Gardening group. Contact: jeremy at tpdx dot net
Transition Companion Study Group — The Transition Companion, sequel to the Transition Handbook, was released in late 2011. A study group is in progress with the aim of furthering understanding of the ingredients of the Transition model and how it can help Transition PDX move forward. The full title is The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times by Rob Hopkins. Contact: Jim, jnewcomer at tpdx dot net about the study group.
The Heart and Soul Group focuses on the psychological, spiritual and emotional aspects of energy descent and community building. This is done through creating a safe and supportive space for exploring:
PLEASE NOTE: the H+S group is currently dormant. If folks are interested in helping manage, coordinate or facilitate these meetings please contact Zeratha at firstname.lastname@example.org
We meet the first Tuesday of every month from 6:30-8:30pm in the Che Room at the St. Francis Church located at SE 12th and Oak in Portland, Oregon. All are welcome to attend and participate. We ask that you recognize the following ground rules for the H+S meetings:
This will initially be just about Portland but as more information as it becomes available for other cities or counties.
1. Go to www.portlandmaps.com and type in your address…
If you need any assistance in locating your neighborhood association you can call the ONI office at 503-823-4519 or our City/County Information and Referral Line at 503-823-4000.
Searchable Database of Neighborhood Associations, Neighborhood Business Associations, District Neighborhood Coalitions & Neighborhood Offices, and ONI staff. Advanced Searches - find contacts across Neighborhood Associations and Business Associations, such as finding Land Use Chairs for all of the Neighborhood Associations. We also have MS Excel spreadsheets of neighborhood and business association officers (i.e. all Presidents or all land use chairs.)
Specific lists of officers
Printable January 2010 Neighborhood Directory (PDF Document, 1,506kb) PDF version of the current Neighborhood Directory. We post a new PDF every three months. For in-between updates and the most up-to-date contact information, please use the Searchable Database link above.
Searchable Database of Neighborhood Associations, Neighborhood Business Associations, District Neighborhood Coalitions & Neighborhood Offices, and ONI staff.
Advanced Searches - find contacts across Neighborhood Associations and Business Associations, such as finding Land Use Chairs for all of the Neighborhood Associations.
We also have MS Excel spreadsheets of neighborhood and business association officers (i.e. all Presidents or all land use chairs.)
The following comes from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhoods_of_Portland,_Oregon
There are 95 officially recognized Portland, Oregon neighborhoods. Each is represented by a volunteer-based neighborhood association which serves as a liaison between residents of the neighborhood and the city government, as coordinated by the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI). The city provides funding to this "network of neighborhoods" through seven neighborhood district coalitions, geographical groupings of neighborhood associations.
Each neighborhood association defines its own boundaries, which may include areas outside of Portland city limits and (if mutually agreed) areas that overlap with other neighborhoods. Neighborhoods may span boundaries between the five sections (N, NE, SE, SW, and NW) of the city as well. The segmentation adopted here is based on ONI's district coalition model, under which each neighborhood is part of at most one coalition (though some neighborhoods are not included in any).
These are in Northwest Portland, except Arlington Heights, Goose Hollow, Portland Downtown, and Sylvan-Highlands, which are in Southwest Portland.
All are in Southwest Portland.
Most lie entirely within North Portland. Bridgeton and Hayden Island are split between North and Northeast sections. East Columbia is in Northeast Portland.
Most lie entirely within Northeast Portland. Boise, Eliot, Piedmont and Humboldt include areas in North Portland.
All lie within Northeast Portland.
Argay, Parkrose, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Wilkes, and Woodland Park are in Northeast Portland. Glenfair and Hazelwood are split between Northeast and Southeast sections. Centennial, Lents, Mill Park, Pleasant Valley, and Powellhurst-Gilbert are in Southeast Portland.
All are entirely within Southeast Portland, except Center, Laurelhurst, Kerns, and Montavilla, which are split between Northeast and Southeast sections.
Healy Heights lies within Southwest Portland. The Lloyd District is in Northeast Portland.
These 12 Ingredients have grown out of the observation of what seemed to work in the early Transition Initiatives. They don’t take you from A to Z but rather from A to C, which is as far as we’ve got with the model today. These Steps don’t necessarily follow each other logically in the order they are set out here; every Transition Initiative weaves through them differently. The 12 Ingredients are still evolving, in part shaped by your experience of using them.
It is important to realize that they are not meant to be prescriptive. You do not have to follow them religiously, step by step, you can use the ones that seem useful, add new ones you come up with, and disregard others that don’t work for you.
This stage puts a core team in place to drive the project forward during the initial phases. We recommend that you form your Steering Group with the aim of getting through Steps 2 – 5, and agree that once a minimum of 4 sub-groups (see Step 5) are formed, the Steering Group disbands and reforms with a person from each of those groups. This requires a degree of humility, but is very important to put the success of the project above the individuals involved. Ultimately your Steering Group should be made up of 1 representative from each working sub-group.
This stage will identify your key allies, build crucial networks and prepare the community in general for the launch of your Transition initiative. For an effective Energy Descent Action plan to evolve, its participants have to understand the potential effects of both Peak Oil and Climate Change – the former demanding a drive to increase community resilience, the latter a reduction in carbon footprint.
Screenings of key movies (Inconvenient Truth, End of Suburbia, Crude Awakening, Power of Community) along with panels of “experts” to answer questions at the end of each, are very effective. Talks by experts in their field of Climate Change, Peak Oil and community solutions can also be very inspiring. Articles in local papers, interviews on local radio, presentations to existing groups, including schools, are also part of the toolkit to get people aware of the issues, and ready to start thinking of solutions.
This stage is about networking with existing groups and individuals, making clear to them that the Transition Initiative is designed to incorporate their previous efforts and future inputs by looking at the future in a new way. Acknowledge and honor the work they do, and stress that they have a vital role to play. Give them a concise and accessible overview of Peak Oil, what it means, how it relates to Climate Change, how it might affect the community in question, and the key challenges it presents. Set out your thinking about how a Transition Initiative might be able to act as a catalyst for getting the community to explore solutions and to begin thinking about grassroots mitigation strategies.
This stage creates a memorable milestone to mark the project’s “coming of age”, moves it right into the community at large, builds a momentum to propel your initiative forward for the next period of its work and celebrates your community’s desire to take action. In terms of timing, we suggest this take place about 6 months to a year after your first “awareness-raising” event.
The Official Unleashing of Transition Town Totnes was held in September 2006, preceded by about 10 months of talks, film screenings and events.
Your unleashing will need to bring people up to speed on Peak Oil and Climate Change, but in a spirit of “we can do something about this” rather than a doom and gloom scenario. One item of content that we’ve seen work very well is a presentation on the practical and psychological barriers to personal change – after all, this is all about what we do as individuals. It needn’t be just talks, it could include music, food, dance - whatever you feel reflects your community’s intention to embark on this collective adventure.
Part of the process of developing an Energy Descent Action Plan is tapping into the collective genius of the community. Crucial for this is to set up a number of smaller groups to focus on specific aspects of the process. Each of these groups will develop their own ways of working and their own activities, but will all fall under the umbrella of the project as a whole.
Ideally, working groups are needed for all aspects of life that your community needs to sustain itself and thrive. Examples of these are: food, waste, energy, education, youth, local economics, transport, water, local government.
Each of your working groups looks at their area and tries to determine the best ways of building community resilience and reducing their carbon footprint. Their solutions will form the backbone of the Energy Descent Action Plan.
We’ve found Open Space Technology to be a highly effective approach to running meetings for Transition Initiatives. In theory it ought not to work. A large group of people comes together to explore a particular topic or issue, with no agenda, no timetable, no obvious coordinator and no minute takers. However, by the end of each meeting, everyone has said what they needed to, extensive notes have been taken, lots of networking has had taken place, and a huge number of ideas have been identified, and visions set out.
The essential reading on Open Space is Harrison Owen’s Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, and you will also find Peggy Holman and Tom Devane’s The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future an invaluable reference on the wider range of such tools.
It is essential that you avoid any sense that your project is just a talking shop where people sit around and draw up wish lists. Your project needs, from an early stage, to begin to create practical, high visibility manifestations in your community. These will significantly enhance people’s perceptions of the project and also their willingness to participate. There’s a difficult balance to achieve here during these early stages. You need to demonstrate visible progress, without embarking on projects that will ultimately have no place on the Energy Descent Action Plan.
If we are to respond to Peak Oil and Climate Change by moving to a lower energy future and relocalizing our communities, then we’ll need many of the skills that our grandparents took for granted. One of the most useful things a Transition Initiative can do is to reverse the “great deskilling” of the last 40 years by offering training in a range of skills.
Research among the older members of our communities is instructive – after all, they lived before the throwaway society took hold and they understand what a lower energy society might look like.
Some examples of courses: recycling grey water, cooking, bicycle maintenance, natural building, herbal medicines, basic home energy efficiency, practical food growing, harvesting rainwater, composting waste (the list is endless).
Your Great Reskilling program will give people a powerful realization of their own ability to solve problems, to achieve practical results and to work cooperatively alongside other people. They’ll also appreciate that learning can be fun!
Whatever the degree of groundswell your Transition Initiative manages to generate, however many practical projects you’ve initiated, and however wonderful your Energy Descent Plan is, you will not progress far unless you have cultivated a positive and productive relationship with your local government authority. Whether it is planning issues, funding or networking, you need them on board. Contrary to your expectations, you may well find that you are pushing against an open door.
For those of us born in the 1960s when the cheap oil party was in full swing, it is very hard to picture a life with less oil. Every year of my life (except for the oil crises of the 70s) has been underpinned by more energy than the previous years. In order to rebuild a picture of a lower energy society, we have to engage with those who directly remember the transition to the age of Cheap Oil, especially the period between 1930 and 1960.
While you clearly want to avoid any sense that what you are advocating is ‘going back’ or ‘returning’ to some dim distant past, there is much to be learnt from how things were done in the past, what the invisible connections between the different elements of society were, and how daily life was supported when less oil was available. Finding these things out can be deeply illuminating, and can lead to our feeling much more connected to place when we are developing our Transition Initiatives.
Although you may start out developing your Transition Initiative with a clear idea of where it will go, it will inevitably go elsewhere. If you try and hold onto a rigid vision, it will begin to sap your energy and appear to stall. Your role is not to come up with all the answers, but to act as a catalyst for the community to design their own transition.
If you keep your focus on the key design criteria – building community resilience and reducing the carbon footprint – you’ll watch as the collective genius of the community enables a feasible, practicable and highly inventive solution to emerge.
At the moment there is only one completed Energy Descent Action Plan, the one done for Kinsale in Ireland. Although this was a student-led project, it did a very good job of producing a template that other communities could follow in designing pathways away from oil dependency. Some people find the term ‘Energy Descent’ too negative, and have chosen to call their EDAP an “Energy Transition Pathway" or a "Community Vision Plan".
Whatever it is called, the EDAP sets out a vision of a powered-down, resilient, relocalized future, and then backcasts, in a series of practical steps, creating a map to get there from here. Every community’s EDAP will be different, both in content and style. However, they will explore a wide range of areas as well as energy: energy descent is an issue which affects every aspect of our lives.
We have identified the following 10 steps in the process of creating an EDAP:
Step 1. Establish a baseline. This involves collecting some basic data on the current practices of your community, whether in terms of energy consumption, food miles or amount of food consumed. You could spend years collecting this information, but you aren’t trying to build a detailed picture, just getting a few key indicators around how your place functions in terms of arable land, transport, health provision etc. Your working groups may have identified some of this information.
Step 2: Get hold of any community strategy plans that are produced by your local government. Their plans are likely to have timescales and elements that you need to take into account, and they will also be a useful source of information and data. You will need to decide how to integrate your EDAP with their existing plans.
Step 3: The overall vision. What would your community look like in 15 or 20 years if we were emitting drastically less CO2, using drastically less non-renewable energy, and it was well on the way to rebuilding resilience in all critical aspects of life? This process will use information gathered in your Open Space Days, from Transition Tales and a range of other visioning days, to create an overall sense of what the town could be like. Allow yourselves to dream.
Step 4: Detailed visioning. For each of the working groups on food, health, energy etc.(although this is trickier for Heart and Soul groups for example), what would their area look like in detail within the context of the vision set out above.
Step 5: Backcast in detail. The working groups then list out a timeline of the milestones, prerequisites, activities and processes that need to be in place if the vision is to be achieved. This is also the point to define the resilience indicators that will tell you if your community is moving in the right direction.
Step 6: Transition Tales. Alongside the process above, the Transition Tales group produces articles, stories, pictures and representations of the visioned community, giving a tangible sense through a variety of creative media, of what this powered down world might look like. These will be woven into the EDAP.
Step 7: Pull together the backcasts into an overall plan. Next the different groups’ timelines are combined together to ensure their coherence. This might be done on a big wall with post-it notes to ensure that, for example, the Food Group haven’t planned to turn into a market garden the same car park that the Health & Medicine Group want to turn into a health center.
Step 8: Create a first draft. Merge the overall plan and the Transition Tales into one cohesive whole, with each area of the plan beginning with a short summary of the state of play in 2009, followed by a year-by-year program for action as identified in the backcasting process. Once complete, pass the document out for review and consultation.
Step 9: Finalize the EDAP. Integrate the feedback into the EDAP. Realistically, this document won't ever be "final" - it will be continually updated and augmented as conditions change and ideas emerge.
Step 10: Celebrate! Always a good thing to do.
This is a living process and we won't know how close it is to reality until a few groups have gone through it. The Transition Network is planning to support this process by providing elements such as a set of standard resilience indicators, and an overarching master timeline covering energy, climate, food etc.
Videos of the 12 Steps to Transition
YouTube has videos of Rob presenting the 12 Steps at the Transition Network conference in May 2007.http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rob+hopkins+twelve+steps
The 12 Steps set out a plan of action and you may be forgiven for assuming that Step 12 is the end of the process. On the contrary, it is with the completion of Step 12 that your initiative really begins! The EDAP sets out the work you will be doing in the future and in theory once you reach that stage, your initiative’s job becomes the implementation of the EDAP.
In response to the pressures of Peak Oil, Climate Change, the economic crisis, some pioneering communities in the UK, Ireland and beyond are taking an integrated and inclusive approach to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their ability to withstand the fundamental shift that will accompany Peak Oil.
This document provides an overview of these initiatives for transitioning to a lower energy future and to greater levels of community resilience.
This document comes to you from the Transition Network, a charity recently formed to build upon the groundbreaking work done by Kinsale, Totnes and the other early adopters of the Transition model.
Our mission is to inspire, inform, support, network and train communities as they consider, adopt and implement a Transition Initiative. We're building a range of materials, training courses, events, tools & techniques, resources and a general support capability to help these communities.
It's early days, so we have a long way to go. But we understand how massive the task is, and we're giving it everything we've got. Recent funding from Tudor Trust has given us a firm foundation for our work.
Why Transition initiatives are necessary
The two toughest challenges facing humankind at the start of this 21st century are Climate Change and Peak Oil. The former is well documented and very visible in the media. Peak Oil, however, remains under the radar for most people. Yet Peak Oil, heralding the era of ever-declining fossil fuel availability, may well challenge the economic and social stability that is essential if we are to mitigate the threats posed by Climate Change.
Table of contents from this PDF
Comprehensive document (1MB pdf) about embarking on a transition journey. This constantly updated document is 50 pages in length, jampacked with sparkling nuggets of plagiarised brilliance and one exceedingly boring (but necessary) section.
‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground.
‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. The Transition movement is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun.
‘In Transition’ has been shown in communities around the world to enthusiastic audiences, and is now available as a special edition 2 disc DVD set, beautifully packaged in entirely compostable packaging, featuring the film itself (with subtitles in Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano,and Nederlands) and an embarrassment of outtakes and extras, with interviews, films about Transition you’ve been searching high and low for quality copies of, and other gems. It is a must-have for anyone with an interest in this new take on responding to the challenges of the 21st century. You can watch the film, in full, here;
Transition PDX is delighted to announce a two day training workshop designed for people who are thinking of creating or participating in a Transition Initiative or have already begun. Come and explore the heart of Transition.
|When: Friday, April 9th & Saturday, April 10th, 2010 from 9:00am - 5:00pm
Venue: Main Meeting Room • Sunnyside Methodist Church • 3520 SE Yamhill Street • Portland • OR 97214
Cost: $200 ($40 deposit to secure your place) - please inquire about scholarships
Registration: Contact Leslee Lewis - ? 503-282-6054 • email@example.com
Information: www.transitionus.org/event/training-transition-pdx-april-2010 • www.thedirt.org/tpdx/T4T_2010
The Training for Transition course is designed to introduce you to a community engagement model for responding and adapting to the threats of climate change, fossil fuel dependence and economic instability. This training will follow the Transition model in paying attention to both the outer work and the inner work necessary for a successful transition process. The course is participatory, action-learning-based and fun, with participants invited to share their own experience and learn from Transition and other projects represented in the group.
David Johnson was involved in a think tank set up by Rob Hopkins in the early days of the Transition Initiative in England, and since moving to Portland has been in the central group helping to bring the Transition approach the city. David has a particular interest in the inner aspects of Transition work and is also on the Board of Transition US.
Lena Soots from Vancouver, BC, is a community educator and facilitator with a focus on community sustainability and resilience. She is currently an Instructor and Research Associate with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University and a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education. Lena’s current research is in transformative community learning and exploring the inner and outer dimensions of change.
In addition to the groups and neighborhoods, we also have shared projects and day long events.
Please also check out our calendar for scheduled upcoming events - www.thedirt.org/tpdx/calendar
Jeremy O’Leary, GCGIS, Liz Bryant, Jim Newcomer, PhD, Harriet Cooke, MD, MPH,
Kelly Reece, JD, MEd, Don MacGillivray, BArch, Michael Wade, Leah Maka Grey, Carol McCreary, MA, MS
Transition PDX – a group committed to building resilient, sustainable and just communities that can adapt to challenging times – held a series of discussions about the draft Portland Plan in November. This document contains the results of our work together. Following these general comments are our specific recommendations to the Plan’s goals, objectives, and actions.
In general, despite the Plan’s commendable emphasis on equity and its many innovative, aspirational goals for education, the local economy, and neighborhoods, it falls short in some fundamental ways.
Most notably, the Plan assumes economic growth. Growth, however, is far from guaranteed (aside from its undesirable impact on the natural world). In a recent City-sponsored talk, energy expert Richard Heinberg joined the National Intelligence Council and some prominent economists in predicting a future characterized by declining tax revenues, persistent high unemployment, falling household income, increased demand for social services, higher energy costs and continued financial system instability.
These are serious problems, brought into focus by Occupy Portland. To ignore them is perilous. In 2007 the City’s own Peak Oil Task Force Report described the potential for an oil shock and outlined various adverse economic effects in three economic scenarios. In the present case, it would be prudent for the City to plan for more than one economic scenario.
Second, in relation to the Plan’s equity framework, research shows that healthy, prosperous communities have narrower income disparities. While the Plan identifies the existence of income disparities, it cites few specific goals, objectives or measures to help remedy this. Economic and environmental shocks will hit our poorest citizens hardest. The Portland Plan and new Office of Equity need to consciously identify ways to work toward narrowing disparities in income, housing, food, health care, and emergency preparedness.
Third, critically missing from the Portland Plan is adequate attention to emergency preparedness. While we are aware that planning is ongoing for infrastructure issues and first response, there is insufficient effort in the area of public education and creation of a culture of preparedness among Portlanders. The City should help educate, encourage, and help residents prepare for emergencies. Further, as discussed below, expanding use of shared facilities as neighborhood gathering areas and community centers is needed. Accordingly, we have added two new Objectives (12 and 13) and Actions (16.1 and 48) under the Healthy Connected City section, and comments in related areas of the Plan. We also have identified additional partners to work with, including our group (Transition PDX), which is already working in collaboration with the NET program, PBEM, Southeast Uplift, and the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood association on the development of a community preparedness website that is expected to launch in January.
Fourth, regarding the education strategy, in addition to academic achievement, it is important that the community nurtures well-rounded, creative youth who are academically, socially and emotionally literate, healthy and engaged. Students should be fully versed in what it is to be sustainable – ecologically, socially and economically – and will need to understand the responsibilities we all have for assuring the continued vitality of all living systems. Like the bumper sticker says, “We are all living downstream.”Fifth, regarding the economic strategy, in addition to the issue of growth articulated above, the Plan misses the importance of developing our local economy. The Plan seems to identify international trade as the most important foundation for our economic prosperity. Equally emphasizing the development of local industries to substitute for imported products will not only boost our local economies, but will build our resilience in uncertain times. Supporting Portland’s small businesses is vital.
As the achievement of economic equity and many other Plan goals could be undercut by dwindling tax revenues, incorporating innovative financing programs could not only be useful, but vital to the success of the Plan and our city. Portland could promote financing innovations ranging from supporting a state bank to supporting a complementary local currency that could help fund social services to meet the unmet needs of our community and finance otherwise unaffordable public projects that would employ Portland citizens.
Sixth, as to the Healthy Connected City strategy, although we commend the Plan’s emphasis on neighborhood hubs and its intent to make schools available for community use, this should go further. Seismically safe school buildings could become community centers and mainstays of neighborhood resilience. They can become incubators for micro-enterprises and cooperatives; centers for learning forgotten skills; emergency food storage sites; meeting spaces and dance halls; community kitchens, health clinics and tool lending libraries. Also, to support its emphasis on community participation, the Plan should significantly broaden the list of potential partners including neighborhood associations and other community organizations. The Portland Plan would do well to support and empower neighborhood hubs and community centers to develop both local economic solutions and capacity to respond to potential crises.
Also related to neighborhood hubs is the need to address the disparities in East Portland. The plan should address this specifically by increasing the area’s few designated neighborhood hubs and envisioning major improvements to walking, biking and transit facilities – not to mention housing and security.
Seventh, though we applaud the Healthy Connected City section’s first objective of healthier people, the measure and goal recommended is woefully inadequate. We recommend the Plan adopt a more universal measure such as the Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) index recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. This offers a measurement that is much more reflective of physical and mental health concerns and the health of our population. It is useful in collaboration among community partners and different kinds of health care providers.
Finally, improved communication between the City of Portland and its citizens is essential for the Plan to succeed. While we applaud the mention of collaboration in the implementation phase, it does not rise to the level of attention to community engagement found in the 2009 Climate Action Plan. The City needs to see citizens as co-creators of our future and commit to making this partnership a reality. We encourage action items that describe how the City can communicate collaborative opportunities to us, its citizens. We acknowledge the challenges in working with local media but the Plan fails to address them. Improved communication will be vital to navigate the complex changes occurring around us and to address them effectively together.
We are living in a time of change and uncertainty. We must question once-valid assumptions and limitations that no longer serve us. We can innovate in developing a healthier and more sustainable city for ourselves and our children. Transition PDX hopes to see a Portland Plan that will facilitate all Portlanders working together to create a resilient, adaptable city. Our recommendations address a potential future that is too consequential to overlook.
Business growth objectives based on the assumption that past growth rates will resume and continue may in fact be unrealistic and even counterproductive in a post-carbon world. If energy costs continue to rise and inhibit such growth, we need to be developing at least contingency plans for that eventuality. We need to find steady state indicators for sustainability and well-being. We need to re-examine and reinforce plans to achieve equity and build community even if we have lower material standards of living. We need to concentrate on developing transportation and local manufacturing along the lines envisioned in the pioneering Portland Peak Oil Task Force Report of 2007. In short, we need to think in advance about how continued economic stagnation or even decline would affect our whole community as well as our businesses. If standards of living continue to fall, advance planning and sharing of information could help avoid deep community divisions – blaming, rebellion, perhaps even violent clashes. Incorporating citizen initiatives and participation in designing and implementing programs could forestall social disintegration and increase support for government and business programs.
The Plan should also look at each Action with a view to increasing resilience and sustainability. For example, rather than banking on exports, manufacturing import substitutions should be emphasized for new growth. A massive conservation plan alone could provide an important, at least partial substitute for energy growth. Job training should also be viewed through this lens: focusing job training on work that will be required in a low-carbon, no-growth economy would help prepare everyone for that eventuality. And finally, a public information program would return its costs multiple times over in enabling everyone to understand and participate fully in creating a new kind of city, built to last, based on full equity, and fostering a deep sense of community.
On p. 34, in the Goal introduction to this section, under “Community Wide Prosperity Depends On:“ change bullets to read as follows:
1 Trade and growth opportunities (export growth): The metropolitan area rises into the top ten nationally in export income, and jobs in the City’s target clusters grow at rates that exceed the national average. Trade opportunities should be sought that support environmental health, sustainable prosperity, and share regional abundance without damaging our local environment.
2 Urban innovation: Portland grows as a national leader in sustainable business and new technologies that foster innovation, spur invention and attract talent. Should read “spur invention and develop and support local talent.” We need to stop thinking that someone "out there" is better than who we are and can be.
3 Trade gateway and freight mobility: Portland retains its competitive market access as a West Coast trade gateway, as reflected by growth in the value of international trade. Should read, “Portland retains its competitive market access as a West Coast trade gateway, without compromising local social and economic justice.”
4 Growing employment districts: Portland has captured 25 percent of the region’s new jobs and continues to serve as the largest job center in Oregon. Portland is home to over 515,000 jobs, providing a robust job base for Portlanders.
5 Neighborhood business vitality: At least 80 percent of Portland’s neighborhood market areas meet metrics for economic health, including: economically self-sufficient households, retail market capture rate, job growth, business growth and access to frequent transit.
6 Access to housing: No more than 30 percent of city households (owners and renters) are “cost burdened,” which is defined as spending 50 percent or more of their household income on housing and transportation costs. Since the Plan indicates on p. 34 that almost 25% are cost-burdened now, why aren’t we shooting for an improvement? Also, without considerably more hubs, attempting to improve this situation is not likely to succeed.
7 Access to housing: Preserve and add to the supply of affordable housing so that no less than 15 percent of the total housing stock is affordable to low-income households, including seniors on fixed income and persons with disabilities. Should read, “Preserve and add to the supply of affordable housing to meet the economic realities and housing needs of our community.”
8 Education and job training: Align training and education to meet workforce and industry skill needs at all levels. At least 90 percent of job seekers receive job-readiness preparation, training/skill enhancement and/or job placement services.
9 Household economic security: Expand upward mobility pathways so that at least 90 percent of households are economically self-sufficient, earning enough income to cover costs of basic needs at local prices.
10 (New) Job opportunities: Support industry sectors whose mission is to develop and maintain a healthy population, community and environment.
11 (New) Sustainable, equitable housing: Encourage shared housing, cohousing and other homes that have lower carbon footprints. This could include reform of zoning, building codes and accessory dwelling unit regulation.
EPA-A Traded sector job growth
EPA-A1 Business cluster growth
EPA 01 Business development: Focus business development resources on enhancing the competitiveness of businesses in five target clusters: advanced manufacturing, athletic & outdoor, clean tech, software and research & commercialization. (PDC) Reexamine such planning to include likely increasing energy costs and/or diminishing availability. This part of the Plan should be aligned with the Climate Action Plan, so as to nurture industries that need to be grown to meet emissions goals, and discourage others. Focus business development resources on enhancing industries that meet the needs of our community and work within our regional values of social and ecological sustainability and social equity.
EPA 02 International business: Implement an international business development, trade and investment strategy that emphasizes job creation with coordinated promotion of both the region and local firms. (PDC) See comment under EPA 01 regarding energy implications. Support international trade strategies only when they are win-win situations that do not compromise local economic security and prosperity. Prioritize regional economic development over international opportunities, as insurance against energy constraints.
EPA 03 University connections: Pursue connections between higher education and firms in the target industries, whereby universities help solve technical challenges facing commercial firms by turning university-based innovations into commercially viable products. (PSU, OHSU, PDC) Support the integrity of university-based research under these kinds of partnerships.
EPA 04 Workforce alignment: Align workforce development efforts to match the skill needs of targeted industries. (WSI, PCC, MHCC) Target workforce training to businesses engaged in sustainability and resilience-related activities and to smaller, local businesses that can less afford to train their workers, to strengthen the local economy.
EPA 05 Workforce alignment: Develop model community workforce agreements to ensure industry growth brings benefit to the whole community. (PDC, WSI) We strongly support this.
EPA-A2 Urban Innovation
EPA 06 Next generation built environment: Advance the next generation built environment through the creation of the Oregon Sustainability Center and ecodistricts. Also, establish at least one new or major expansion of a district energy system. (POSI, PDC, City, PSU) Ensure active engagement of neighborhood residents in decisions on ecodistrict priorities.
EPA 07 Arts support: Expand public and private support for Portland’s arts and creative industries through a dedicated funding mechanism, and improve access, outreach, and services for youth and under-represented communities. (RACC)
EPA 08 Economic development: Complete the formation of a regional economic development corporation that will be responsible for a regional brand strategy. (Greater Portland, Inc.)
EPA 09 Green recruitment: Support and recruit companies that design, apply or manufacture products and systems for clean energy, water efficiency, sustainable stormwater management, and high-performance building materials. (PDC, BPS) We strongly support this. These skill sets are critical as we adapt to energy constraints and climate change, and recover after a disaster.
EPA 10 Broadband access: Begin implementing a broadband strategic plan to facilitate and optimize citywide broadband access. Work with PDC, educational institutions and other partners to identify and incent research partnerships that require “large pipe” broadband. Initiate a project, (such as genome research) that will anchor a large pipe campus or co-located business cluster. (OCT, PDC, PSU, OHSU) This could be critical for recovering from an earthquake, for general communication as well as improving businesses’ ability to teleconference and telework.
EPA 11 Broadband service: Convene a planning process with industry to identify and leverage incentives for broadband service expansion including complete neighborhood coverage for wireless. Review and update the City’s comprehensive approach to wireless facilities including a database and mapping. (OCT) See comment on EPA 10.
EPA 12 Broadband equity: Establish a fund for broadband equity. Develop a stable funding stream for access subsidies through a strategy such as a 1% universal service fee. Work with non-profits and NGOs to increase access to broadband tools for underserved communities. (OCT) See comment on EPA 10.
EPA 13 Workforce agreements: Build from the community workforce agreement approach used with Clean Energy Works to ensure that other urban innovation initiatives bring benefit to the whole community. (PDC, WSI, BPS) This repeats Action EPA 05.
EPA 14 Building energy efficiency: Build demand for building energy efficiency in new and existing commercial and residential building through incentives, better information and public/private partnerships. (ETO, BPS) We strongly support this. One of our members, Jeremy O’Leary, says, “As a proud owner of a house that was in the pilot for Clean Energy Works Portland, my house stays habitable longer when the power is out than it did before these improvements.”
EPA-A3 Trade gateway and freight mobilityEPA 15 Freight rail: Develop a regional freight rail strategy to enhance and improve access and the efficiency of rail operations with Metro, railroads, the Port of Portland and other regional partners. (Metro, PBOT, ODOT) We strongly support this.
EPA 16 Strategic investments: Update and implement the next five-year increment of the Tier 1 and 2 projects in the Freight Master Plan and Working Harbor Reinvestment Strategy in order to improve freight mobility. (PBOT)
EPA 17 International service: Implement strategic investments to maintain competitive international market access and service at Portland’s marine terminals and PDX. (Port) Target these investments to the marine terminals, as shipping is vastly more energy efficient than air freight, which will diminish with the inevitable rise in fuel costs.
EPA 18 Sustainable freight: Implement Portland’s Sustainable Freight Strategy to reduce the need to travel to work by single occupancy vehicle, support increased urban density and improve the efficiency of the freight delivery system. (PBOT) We strongly support this.
EPA 19 Contracting best practices: Compare the contracting procedures of agencies involved with transportation infrastructure (Port, PBOT, TriMet, ODOT) and identify leading edge best practices. (PBOT)
EPA-B Diverse, expanding city economy
EPA-B1 Growing employment districts
EPA 20 Brownfield investment: Pursue legislative changes and funding sources to accelerate cleanup of brownfields. Develop a strategy to address the impediments to redevelopment of brownfields. Lead effort with Metro and regional partners to include brownfield redevelopment assistance in the regional investment strategy. (PDC, BPS, BES) Actions EPA 20 and 31: We are aware that customary brownfield remediation procedures are costly and time-consuming. We recommend that the City experiment with "green" remediation strategies for their efficacy and time and cost-effectiveness. Three methods we are aware of are
(1) mycoremediation (contact Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti –fungiperfecti.com – in Olympia, WA: PO Box 7634, Olympia, WA 98507, 360-426-9292)
(2) sustainable biochar and terra preta (See Albert Bates, The Biochar Solution)
(3) compostingAnother solution that should be held in reserve – in the event of an extended power outage so that the sewer system shuts down (as in a megaquake) – is mixing raw sewage with woodchips, depositing it on brownfield lots, and allowing it to sit for several years. It will eventually compost and repair the soil.
EPA 21 Industrial site readiness: Assemble at least one new shovel-ready 25-acre or larger site for environmentally sensitive industrial development as a pilot project for advancing both economic and natural resource goals in industrial areas. (PDC)
EPA 22 Growth capacity: Plan for adequate growth capacity to meet projected employment land shortfalls in the Comprehensive Plan, including industrial districts, multimodal freight facilities, campus institutions and commercial corridors in underserved neighborhoods. (BPS) See introductory comments!
EPA 23 Campus institutions: Develop new land use and investment approaches to support the growth and neighborhood compatibility of college and hospital campuses in the comprehensive plan update. (BPS) College campuses could be included in the effort to make educational facilities more available for community use. See comments under HCC 16 regarding schools serving as emergency gathering places, and related comments under TEY 19 and 27.
EPA 24 Central city office development: Develop incentives or other supports for accelerated office development, particularly in expanding Class B and C markets, to improve Portland’s share of regional office development. (PDC)
EPA-B2 Neighborhood business vitality
EPA 25 Portland main streets: Maintain and expand the Portland Main Streets program for commercial areas interested in and ready to take on the comprehensive Main Street business district management approach to commercial district revitalization. (PDC) Use this program to build up smaller commercial districts into full neighborhood hubs.
EPA 26 Focus area grants: Establish a Focus Area Grant Program to support focus on two to three economically challenged areas of the city to spur business development and revitalization that is community led and community driven. (PDC) We need more small businesses: the income is local and locally distributed; they don’t have the growth imperative of large corporations; and they are more responsive to community needs. Small businesses require additional support, including training in entrepreneurship and small business management, microfinance, etc. Cooperatives should also be supported (see Canada’s regulatory framework for cooperatives at http://www.coopzone.coop/en/coopsincda). Suggested additional partner: Mercy Corps NW.
EPA 27 Training and networking: Establish regular training and networking opportunities for business district associations, neighborhood associations, community-based groups and community volunteers to expand their knowledge of best practices and effective techniques in neighborhood economic development. (PDC) This could be helpful in bridging the current fragmentation of neighborhood activities (associations, watch, emergency teams) as they relate to hubs.
EPA 28 Entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise: Focus city resources for micro-enterprise development, entrepreneurship skill development, and on supporting the growth and development of neighborhood based businesses, and provide those services at the neighborhood level. (PDC) See comment under EPA 26. Allowing quiet businesses in residential areas would be helpful.
EPA 29 Business resources: Increase knowledge of resources available for small business development (public, private and nonprofit) among community leaders, including business associations, neighborhood associations and community-based organizations. (PDC) Suggest also partnering with Mercy Corps NW, SBA, PCC CLIMB Program, Springboard Innovation, PoSI, Janus etc.
EPA 30 Fill gaps in underserved neighborhoods: Consider zone changes to fill commercial gaps in underserved neighborhoods, reduce regulatory barriers to upgrade technology, and promote flexible mixed uses. (BPS) Designating many pocket hubs, i.e., smaller commercial districts, would be a good start. Then build pocket hubs into full neighborhood hubs with the Portland Main Street program (as in EPA 25 comment).
EPA 31 Brownfields: Expand assistance for commercial corridor brownfield redevelopment. (BES) See comments under EPA 22.
EPA 32 Financial tools: Increase financial tools to support neighborhood business development and catalytic redevelopment projects outside existing Urban Renewal Areas. (PDC) Develop a task force to seriously look at integrative economic strategies to meet the financial needs for creating a thriving, empowered region. Of particular focus, this task force would evaluate the strategy of creating a regional complimentary debt-free currency system to meet our social service, municipal service and environmental restoration goals, that would function alongside our national currency system. Such systems have been shown to work very well at the city/regional levels and empower local regions to be self-responsible and not dependent on federal policies or state financial decisions. One example of such a system can be found at www.lietaer.com under government, the case of Worgl, Austria. This task force would develop such a plan, identify the legal changes that will be necessary to bring such a plan to our city, and engage citizens with educational outreach to help expedite these changes.
EPA 32.1 (New) Financial tools: To help our citizens move towards self-sufficiency within the context of community building and cooperation, encourage entrepreneurship, small business training, other business models such as cooperatives, and consumer aids such as buying clubs. A focus on small and local economies will create a resilient and nimble community.
EPA 32.2 (New) Financial tools: We recommend the City officially take a public stand to support a state bank and state bank initiatives, and invite dialogue with other cities to do the same.
EPA 33 Sustainability at work: Expand sustainable business education and services on energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, materials and transportation to reduce business costs and improve overall practices. (BPS) We strongly support this.
EPA-C Broadly accessible household prosperity and affordability
EPA-C1 Access to housing
We strongly support the goals of this section.
EPA 34 Housing supply: Increase affordable housing supply by completing the preservation of properties that receive federal and state housing subsidies and building new affordable housing in high opportunity areas, such as locations with frequent transit and high-performing schools. (PHB)
EPA 35 Housing security: Remove barriers to affordable housing for low-wage workers and other low-income households, through the Fair Housing Action Plan and housing placement services. (PHB)
EPA 36 Homelessness: Continue investing to finish the job on the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness for veterans, families and chronically homeless people, including housing placement, eviction prevention, and coordinated support services. (PHB)
EPA 37 Moderate-income workforce housing: Facilitate private investment in moderate-income housing to expand affordable housing options for both renters and homeowners. (PHB)
EPA 38 Housing strategy: Prepare and begin implementation of a Citywide Housing Strategy, including 25-year opportunity mapping, resource development, equity initiatives such as increased use of minority contractors, and alignment with other community services for low/moderate-income residents. (PHB) Please also consider how we recover from an earthquake, and how we would deal with a possible surge of inmigration, for example from the desert Southwest due to climate change-driven water shortages.
EPA 39 Fair housing: Implement Portland’s Fair Housing Action Plan. (PHB)
EPA 40 Align housing and transportation investments: Identify housing needs and opportunities in conjunction with the Barbur Corridor Study. (BPS, PHB)
EPA-C2 Education and job training
We strongly support these actions, with the comments noted.
EPA 41 Training: Focus, align and expand workforce training programs and higher education degree programs to prepare job seekers for long-term employment at a self-sufficient wage. (WSI, PCC, OUS, MHCC) Workforce training needs to be focused on skills needed to support sustainability, resilience and economic relocalization. The economic part of the Plan should be aligned with the Climate Action Plan, so as to nurture industries that need to be grown to meet emissions goals, and discourage others. Training should be directed toward skills needed by these industries. Recruit recent retirees and facilitate their participation as trainers and mentors. Center for Earth Leadership is working in this direction.
EPA 42 Youth employment: Create a tax incentive for businesses to support career-related learning experiences in city schools and to employ foster youth. (WSI) Business support should include strengthening Benson High School’s career programs, which have been weakened in recent years.
EPA 43 Hiring agreements: Establish first source hiring agreements and other types of community workforce agreements with businesses awarded sizable public grants or loans so that businesses hire local residents that have recently completed skills training or become unemployed. (PDC)
EPA 44 Higher education system: Involve higher education and workforce development partners in implementing the Cradle to Career Initiative recommendations so that at-risk youth are supported and successfully complete training and university programs. (C2C)
EPA 45 Post-secondary: Study the feasibility of a program that guarantees public school students access to two years of education or training past high school.
EPA 46 Youth employment: Develop a system for sustaining the City’s Summer Youth Connect program. Encourage youth employment and civic engagement through business associations and neighborhood associations.
EPA-C3 Household economic security
We strongly support these actions.
EPA 47 Self-sufficiency metrics: Adopt the Self-Sufficiency Index as the official measure of poverty and encourage its use in policy discussions and decisions. Adapt this metric to include the recommendations of emergency managers regarding food supplies to be maintained on hand.
EPA 48 Childcare: Undertake a project that removes barriers or pilots approaches to providing affordable, accessible and quality childcare in selected underserved neighborhoods. (SUN, DHS, C2C)
EPA 49 Disadvantaged workers: Increase skill-level of low income, multi-barriered residents who need remedial education, ESL and other special assistance to overcome basic skill deficiencies, disability related disadvantages such as mental illness, criminal background, and chemical dependency issues through workforce training and wraparound services. (WSI, HomeForward, DHS, Multnomah County)
EPA 50 Race and ethnicity: Increase targeted contracting, community workforce agreements, job training and culturally specific services to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. (City, PDC, WSI, Multnomah County)
EPA 51 Anti-poverty strategy: Engage with the Multnomah County Community Action Agency to develop a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy to increase economic self-sufficiency. (Multnomah County, Home Forward, PHB, PDC)
EPA 52 Federal and state tools: Develop a legislative package to address unmet local needs by providing additional tools and resources to increase economic self-sufficiency. (City, Multnomah County)
EPA 53 School-based service delivery: Develop agreements outlining the role of the SUN Service System toward implementing or supporting the above-listed actions. (SUN)
We are generally supportive of these objectives, with comments noted. We note that although Objectie 9 calls for creating a tax system for stable, adequate funding, the Plan lacks actions to support it. We have suggested two examples of appropriate actions, one about finding approaches to revamping the tax base and the other about seeking capitation allowances for home schooling and other innovative, less expensive learning programs. We strongly recommend that the writers give adequate consideration to these suggestions and even contribute others that would guide administrators through difficult times when funding from present sources may dwindle.
1 Supportive neighborhoods: At-risk youth live in safe neighborhoods with comprehensive, coordinated support systems inside and outside of the classroom, including mentors, opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating, workforce training and employment opportunities.
2 Success at each stage of growth: All youth enter school ready to learn and continue to succeed academically, graduate from high school, attain post-secondary degrees or certificates, and achieve self-sufficiency by age 25. Should read “succeed academically, emotionally and socially; etc.”
3 Graduation rate: The on-time high school graduation rate for all Portland youth is 95–100 percent.
4 Post-secondary participation and success: 95–100 percent of Portland high school graduates successfully complete post-secondary education, vocational training or workplace apprenticeships. Youth of color, youth in poverty, English Language Learning (ELL) youth, youth with disabilities, and first generation college students successfully complete and attain post-secondary degrees or certificates at the same rate as other students.
5 Strong partnerships: Schools and colleges, as well as public agencies, local organizations and businesses have clear, complementary roles and responsibilities and sustain strong and mutually beneficial partnerships. Develop and seek out mentors to teach and support students.
6 Health and wellness: Youth of all ages have access to affordable, healthy food at home and in school and have multiple opportunities for daily physical activity.
7 Youth voice: Students actively participate in civic decision-making processes that affect their lives.
8 Learning environments: All learning environments are designed to stimulate creativity, meet safety and accessibility regulations, and serve multiple community-serving functions. Portland’s investment in education reflects the view that schools are honored places of learning for all community members.
9 Stable funding: The Oregon state tax system is structured to provide stable, adequate funding for excellence in curriculum and teaching quality. Actions to Consider:
TEY-A A culture of high expectations and achievement for all Portland youth
We generally support these actions with noted comments.
TEY 01 College and career exposure: Support summer jobs, job training and career and college exposure through strategies such as Summer Youth Connect. (City)
TEY 02 College access: Develop and expand initiatives that support access to and completion of a minimum of two years of post-secondary education or training leading to a career or technical credential, industry certification and/or associate’s degree. (City, PCC, MHCC, WSI)
TEY 03 College access: Expand access to and participation in college access and dual enrollment programs such as ASPIRE, TRIO and Middle College programs through partnerships between K–12 and Higher Education. (School Districts, PCC, MHCC, PSU)
TEY 04 College completion: Support Talent Dividend efforts to increase by one percent youth and adults completing college. (City)
TEY 05 Career readiness: Develop career readiness certificate programs in partnership with target sector businesses. (WSI, School Districts, MHCC, PCC) Incorporate solar PV, solar hotwater and rainwater catchment as part of the training opportunities.
TEY 06 Campus investment: Support Portland Community College’s planned transformation of its Southeast Center into a vibrant full-service campus and community anchor, as well as PCC’s planned expansion of its Cascade Campus, by helping to catalyze complementary local development and investing in supportive communityserving infrastructure. (PCC, City) Include neighbors in any expansion planning process.
TEY 07 Public-private partnerships: Increase private sector partnerships with schools, and in doing so, the number of career-related learning options and dual-enrollment high school students taking college credit-bearing classes. (City, School Districts, MHCC, PCC, PSU) See comment under TEY 05.
TEY 08 Teacher excellence: Support the Metropolitan Education Partnership, which seeks to coordinate student teacher placement and professional development conducted by metro-area universities and partnering local school districts. (PSU)
TEY 09 Cultural competency: Identify, evaluate and expand effective means to increase cultural competency of school staff and address disparities in discipline rates and practices. (School Districts)
TEY 9.1 (New) Sustainability competency: Identify, implement and evaluate effective means to increase sustainability awareness and participation in community building, permaculture, and emergency preparedness activities.
TEY-B Shared ownership for youth success
TEY 10 Track progress: Track youth outcomes using educational, social and community indicators collectively developed through the Cradle to Career initiative to help ensure that Portland youth are making progress towards educational success and self-sufficiency. (C2C)
TEY 11 Inventory resources: Create an inventory of youth programming and resources along the continuum of Cradle to Career and use this data to create a living map of where resources are located by neighborhood. (City, BPS)
TEY 12 Partnerships and investments: Include a policy in Portland’s Comprehensive Plan that supports partnerships with education organizations and directs City resources toward appropriate and effective tools to enhance the lives of our city’s youth. (BPS)
TEY 13 Youth empowerment: Refresh and reaffirm the Youth Bill of Rights. (City, Multnomah Youth Commission, Multnomah County, The Cradle) Support social and emotional intelligence building programs and opportunities within schools and neighborhoods.
TEY-C Neighborhoods and communities that support youth
TEY 14 Place-based strategies: In neighborhoods where youth are at risk of not graduating due to low achievement levels, gang activity and/or other factors, conduct one or more pilot projects in which neighborhood services are inventoried. Based on the identified deficits, develop a place-based strategy to recommend interventions and continue to identify and enlist partners whose work affects youth outcomes in the short- and long-term. (BPS, PP&R, PBOT, PHB, PPB) See discussion of community policing under HC 44.
TEY 15 Place-based strategies: Support pilot place-based projects like the Dreamer School at Alder Elementary in Reynolds School District, the Wee Initiative in David Douglas School District, and the Promise Neighborhood in the Jefferson cluster of Portland Public Schools. (City, School Districts)
TEY 16 Place-based strategies: Expand presence of Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) to all schools in the city/ region and increase investment in anti-poverty services in schools that are in the top tier for poverty. (Multnomah County, City, School Districts, SUN) Yes.
TEY 17 Safe routes to schools: Expand the Safe Routes to Schools program, which currently serves K–8 students to reach all middle and high school students in Portland. (PBOT, School Districts) Connect this with Greenways and view through the lens of how the community will walk/bike around after a large scale earthquake. See introduction to HCC-C section.
TEY 18 Housing stability: Increase or target rental assistance programs to low-income households with students and invest in housing for homeless families with students, particularly where schools are experiencing high student mobility rates. (PHB, Home Forward, Multnomah County). Yes.
TEY 19 Family support: Increase the availability of family skills classes such as English as Second Language classes, financial literacy, parenting and other related subjects for families and neighbors in high poverty areas. (SUN, NGOs) Use schools in all neighborhoods to teach additional evening and weekend classes, such as small business skills, home economics and shop skills, emergency preparedness, etc. See related recommendations under TEY 27, EPA 23 and HCC 16.
TEY 20 Early childhood investments: Invest in preschool programs, home visits and other efforts designed to improve the quality and availability of child care for families in poverty. (Portland Children’s Levy) Yes.
TEY 21 Healthy eating and active living: Continue programs that increase children’s physical activity and healthy food choices in schools. (Multnomah County, School Districts) Provide breakfasts and lunches for children in need.
TEY 22 Volunteerism: Increase the percentage of city employees volunteering in middle and high schools through utilization of paid time off policies currently in place. (City)
TEY 23 Volunteerism: Invest in public service campaigns to enlist community members in youth-supportive volunteer opportunities. (City) Use the Sunday Parkways program to recruit volunteers in that area, including gardening, neighborhood associations, neighborhood watch, neighborhood emergency teams, clean-ups, etc. Also, City volunteer management guidelines can include ways to reimburse volunteers for significant expenses.
TEY-D Facilities and programs that meet 21st century opportunities and challenges
TEY 24 Co-location: Develop a funding strategy for the Gateway Education Center as a partnership of Parkrose and David Douglas school districts, Mount Hood Community College, Portland State University and the City of Portland. (Parkrose and David Douglas School Districts, MHCC, PSU)
TEY 25 Joint use agreements: Develop or update joint use agreements between Portland Parks and Recreation and all local school districts. Explore a greater level of facility and grounds management coordination and cost sharing. (PP&R, School Districts) Use this approach to develop school buildings or other facilities into community centers (see TEY 27 and HCC 16).
TEY 26 Shared resources: Develop intergovernmental agreements to address opportunities to share resources and reduce costs for facilities and maintenance, to coordinate on decisions that affect each others short and long term operations, and to preempt issues related to neighborhood/school issues, such as field use and parking. (School Districts, PP&R) Follow the lead of Multnomah County, which leased out rooftops for large solar PV arrays and paid for the project by signing a long term power agreement at current power costs.
TEY 27 Multi-functional facilities: Create new Comprehensive Plan policies and zoning for schools, colleges and universities to accommodate multiple community serving functions, while maintaining accountability to neighborhood concerns regarding impacts. (BPS) While we commend the Plan’s emphasis on neighborhood hubs and its intent to make schools available for community use, it should go further. See comments under HCC 16 regarding schools serving as community centers and emergency gathering places, and related comments under TEY 19 and EPA 23.
TEY 28 Mutual consultation: Develop agreements between the City of Portland and each of its school districts to outline protocols for consultation related to issues and decisions of mutual interest and concern. (BPS, School Districts)
TEY 29 Arts programming: Invest in continuous, integrated arts learning programs for every K–12 student in Portland (e.g., Any Given Child, The Right Brain Initiative), using school, nonprofit and community resources. (RACC) We strongly support this action.
As noted earlier, adequate attention to emergency preparedness is absent from the Portland Plan. While we are aware that planning is ongoing for infrastructure issues and first response, there is insufficient effort in the area of public education and creation of a culture of preparedness among Portlanders. Neighborhoods like Old Town Chinatown, where the majority of residents live in SROs, will face a food and water crisis in an earthquake or other disaster. Many dine in soup kitchens and do not stock food. Many are mentally ill. Social service providers need to be brought in as key players in emergency preparation. These principles could be applied to citizen participation in all neighborhoods. In addition, community centers in, for example, school buildings could be outfitted to serve as emergency gathering places, and neighborhood retail businesses should be included in this planning process. Accordingly, we have added two new Objectives and Actions in this section.
An issue noted in a number of places in this section is the fact that toilet availability positively affects active living, healthy aging, childhood fitness, pedestrian life and use of public transit. Public restrooms particularly serve the “restroom challenged,” a term used by the American Restroom Association for two types of people. First are those whose need for toilets comes frequently – every hour or so. Second are those whose need comes suddenly and urgently. “Restroom challenged” people may have normal conditions – pregnancy, young age, old age etc. – or medical conditions, many of which are invisible. Many hesitate to leave their homes or their cars unless they are certain to find a restroom.
Also, this part of the Plan should address significant needs in East Portland by increasing its few designated neighborhood hubs and envisioning major improvements to walking, biking and transit facilities – not to mention housing and security.
Another issue in this section, despite numerous mentions of transit in parts C and D – see especially pp. 75, 78 and 79 – is that for the last three years transit service, especially bus lines, has been reduced and eliminated while fares have increased. This is likely to continue if something isn’t done to change the funding for transit operations. For transit and buses to be used as a major source of transportation, replacing the auto, it will need to be both affordable and convenient. Fares must be reasonable and bus frequencies must be adequate.
About ten years ago Mayor Katz suggested in a State of the City speech that transit should be free. While this is probably impractical, lower fares than we have today would increase usage, which would increase frequency and help to implement the transit goals of the Portland Plan. We also need some serious work done on finding alternative funding sources for TriMet (tax autos more?).
We note that Tri-Met is listed as a Portland Plan Partner on the inside cover, but is not listed as a partner on the Plan Actions. Why?
1 Healthier people: The percentage of Multnomah County adults at a healthy weight meets or exceeds the current rate, which is 44 percent. The percentage of eighth graders at a healthy weight has increased from 75 percent and meets or exceeds federal standards (84 percent). Why shoot so low? Why not aim to exceed the federal standard of 84%? Also, this as the single measure of healthier people feels very inadequate. We would replace it with developing and tracking a health related quality of life measurement (HRQLM) for our region. We would also add affordable neighborhood access to healthcare and wellness opportunities for all, including supporting annual neighborhood association wellness fairs.
2 Complete neighborhoods: 90 percent of Portlanders live within a quarter to half mile of sidewalk-accessible complete neighborhoods. This absolutely requires evenly dispersed neighborhood hubs, which is simply not the case under the draft proposal. Tiers of hubs with the proposed regional hubs plus neighborhood and pocket hubs would support this objective.
3 Neighborhood economic vitality: At least 80 percent of Portland’s neighborhood market areas are succeeding in terms of the strength of the local market, local sales, business growth and stability.
4 Access to healthy food: 90 percent of Portlanders live within a half mile of a store or market that sells healthy food. This cannot be achieved with the draft hub map.
5 Transit and active transportation: Portland residents have reduced the number of miles they travel by car to 11 miles per day on average and 70 percent of commuters walk, bike or take transit to work. Carpool or telecommuting rates have also increased. Greater dispersal of hubs is necessary for this to have any chance of attainment.
6 Carbon emissions and climate change: Portland’s transportation-related carbon emissions are 50 percent below 1990 levels. Structurally, this is simply not possible with the current arrangement of hubs.
7 Parks and nature in the city: Nearby parks, streams and natural areas give Portlanders places to recreate, relax and spend time with friends and family. This improves both physical and emotional well-being. Currently, 76 percent of Portlanders are within a half-mile safe walking distance of a park or natural area. The Portland region’s 40-mile loop and the larger regional trail system provide access along rivers and through major natural areas like Forest Park, Johnson Creek and the Columbia Slough. However, this popular system of trails is incomplete and has few connections to neighborhoods. The objective would be to have the 40 loop and trail system fully implemented. Further, the objective should be to have 100% of the population within serviceable distance to recreational/natural facilities. The language here lacks vision. Additionally, restore restroom facilities to major urban parks and ensure that toilets are placed at regular intervals along the 40-mile loop trail.
8 Watershed health: Neighborhoods with generous tree canopy and less pavement have cleaner, cooler air, which reduces health problems such as asthma. Healthy streams and natural areas help prevent damage to homes due to landslides and flooding. Currently, 33 percent of Portland’s land is impervious – either paved or roofed – and only 26 percent is covered by tree canopy. Portland has about 20,000 acres of good-quality natural resources that provide habitat for a wide variety of native and migratory wildlife. Yet, much beneficial wildlife, including salmon and bat species, is at risk or threatened with extinction, and over 20 miles of waterways and 100 acres of wetland lack necessary protections. The objective should be to Increase tree canopy and reduce impervious surfaces. We should have an approach that recognizes the pre-settlement naturescape and where possible moves in the direction of that model. Again, more vision is needed. Additionally, at present there is no stated plan that we are aware of to maintain watershed health should the sewer system go offline in a major earthquake.
9 Safety and security: In 2008, Portland’s violent crime rate was 5.5 crimes per 1,000 people — a 50 percent decline over the past decade and one of the lowest rates for similarly sized cities nationwide. From 2004–2008, 9,750 people were injured or killed in traffic crashes in Portland. Only 59 percent of Portlanders feel safe walking alone at night in their neighborhoods. Reducing crime and ensuring people feel safe can make people more comfortable walking, biking or playing outside. Placing quiet businesses that encourage 'eyes on the street' in residential neighborhoods would be very helpful. Also, there is more to public safety than crime prevention. See new HCC Objectives 12 and 13.
10 Quality public infrastructure: Neighborhoods with quality public infrastructure can provide residents with necessities like clean drinking water, quality sewer and safe streets. Today, services in some parts of Portland do not meet city standards. For example, over 55 miles of streets are substandard and 12,000 properties are at risk of basement sewer backups during heavy storms. Quality public infrastructure is essential for recovery from a major disaster.
11 (New) Safe streets: Through partnership with neighborhoods, work to provide safe walking and gathering conditions (i.e., sidewalks, benches and signage) for all neighborhoods and residents. Safe streets without someplace public to gather or go simply amount to expensive landscaping.
12 (New) Emergency preparedness: Incorporate emergency preparedness into neighborhood planning. Expand the concept of neighborhood gathering places to create community centers, using schools and other suitable facilities, that will also serve as gathering areas and shelters after a large scale disaster.
13 (New) Emergency preparedness: Create a culture of preparedness among Portland residents. Provide and publicize resources that can help Portlanders appreciate the importance of preparing their households for coming through a disaster, and that will show them how to prepare with their families and neighbors. Emergency preparedness planning invites people to think creatively, to imagine and respond to various scenarios and in the process to strengthen community cohesion and resilience.
HCC-A Public decisions that benefit human and environmental health
In all partnership conversations, the first partner should be the citizens. The language throughout this section feels very top down.
HCC 01 Partnerships and collaboration: Establish protocols for regular information sharing and consultation between the City of Portland and health partners including dialogues, joint projects and trainings. (Multnomah County, City, PSU, OHSU, NGOs: OPHI, UPH, CLF)
HCC 02 Partnerships and collaboration: Develop a “Health in Planning Toolkit” that Portland Plan partners can use to promote cross-discipline exchange and working partnerships among city bureaus and health partners. (Multnomah County, City) Include the development of a health-related Quality of Life measurement that incorporates physical and mental health parameters.
HCC 03 Partnerships and collaboration: Include health partners on advisory committees and project teams for projects with potential pollution, toxics, noise, environmental hazard and other health impacts. (Multnomah County, City, PSU, OHSU, NGOs: OPHI, UPH, CLF) Yes.
HCC 04 Public decisions and investments: Establish criteria and methods to formally assess the human health and watershed impacts of public policy and investment, including which types of decisions require assessment and which impacts to consider.
HCC 05 Quality public infrastructure: Identify infrastructure facilities that have a high risk of failure. Prioritize these assets for monitoring, planning and investment to protect human and environmental health. (BPS, OMF, BES, PWB, PBOT, PP&R) We strongly support this action.
HCC 06 Disparity reduction: Develop a Healthy Community Index combining neighborhood, environmental and demographic data. Use this information to identify, measure and track disparities and to inform health and equity assessments for planning, policy, and investment decisions. (MCHD, Metro, PSU, OHSU, City) We strongly support this action and recommend its use alongside the HRQOL (Health Related Quality of Life) index mentioned in HCC 02.
HCC 06.1 (New) Education and Promotion: Expand popular education and outreach for communities regarding all issues pertaining to personal, community and environmental health. These educational activities should be offered collaboratively through local schools, community centers and churches, and should target those communities with health disparities as our priorities for outreach. The development of these programs could be a collaborative approach between government, NGOs and small businesses in the business of holistic, integrative preventive health care.
HCC-B Vibrant neighborhood hubs
One component missing in this discussion is the need to accommodate population growth and accept greater density in our neighborhoods. Furthermore, there are constructive and destructive approaches to increasing density; we like the constructive approach.
HCC 07 Neighborhood businesses and services: Use the Portland Development Commission Main Street and Neighborhood Economic Development strategies to strengthen neighborhood hubs. Undertake business development activities in the Cully Main Street Plan area as a pilot project. (PDC, BPS) As noted earlier, use this strategy to build up pocket hubs into neighborhood hubs. There are not nearly enough hubs for them to have a neighborhood/community feel, not to mention reaching the goals of the Plan; adding multiples of the proposed hubs should be considered. The definition needs to accommodate schools and churches, not just retail businesses.
HCC 08 Broadband in neighborhoods: Identify and create several high capacity broadband access points in neighborhood hubs. Provide free WIFI at all public buildings in each neighborhood. (OCT) See comment under EPA 10.
HCC 09 Quality, affordable housing: Complete the citywide housing strategy and use it as a basis for regulations, location policies, incentives and public-private partnerships that help locate new well-designed, affordable housing in and around neighborhood hubs and near transit.
a. Explore opportunities to create housing for elders and mobility-impaired residents in service-rich, accessible locations; and ensure that workforce housing is part of the mix of housing in neighborhood hubs.
b. As an initial project, construct and include workforce and senior housing in the Gateway-Glisan mixed-use/ mixed-income housing development. (PHB, PDC, BPS)The plan focus is on new structures. Recognizing that there are many unutilized/underutilized existing properties, the plan should also focus on utilizing existing structures and housing units to create greater density in the inner core rather than use land and resources to build new. To this end the code and fee structures must be modified and made more flexible to encourage this refit/reuse modality. Not addressed is how these new projects are to be funded - public funds are in decline. Reuse would be less costly.
HCC 10 Transit and active transportation: Identify pedestrian barriers within and to neighborhood hubs, develop priorities for investment, and implement policy changes to ensure hubs have safe and convenient pedestrian connections. (PBOT) Yes.
HCC 11 Healthy and affordable food: Retain and recruit grocery stores and other sources of healthy food as key components of neighborhood hubs. (PDC, Multnomah Food Initiative) Include farmers markets and small market farms as other healthy sources of food.
HCC 12 Healthy and affordable food: Undertake efforts to support and encourage owners of existing small markets and convenience stores to provide healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant food, especially in underserved neighborhoods. (BPS, Multnomah County) Encourage small markets to be associated with local food buying clubs.
HCC 13 Healthy and affordable food: Create 1,000 community garden plots, focusing in areas accessible to neighborhood hubs and higher-density housing, by pursuing opportunities to repurpose publicly owned land and through public-private partnerships. (PP&R) Associated greenhouses in community gardens would be very helpful. People need more plentiful places to grow food. Encourage citizen farming, as in Victory Gardens and growing fruit and nut trees. Education and implementation of example projects, such as Median Farms (http://tpdxfood.blogspot.com/2011/10/median-farms.html) can provide an impetus. The education component would also discuss permaculture.
HCC 14 Gathering places: Acquire land for an urban park in Hollywood. (PP&R, BPS, PDC)
HCC 15 Gathering places: Develop new design options for neighborhood streets that allow more community uses on streets, especially in neighborhood hubs. Build one demonstration project. (PBOT, BPS) As part of the Portland LEAP (Local Energy Assurance Program) effort, plan neighborhood staging areas where community emergency response efforts will begin in the moments after a major earthquake. These might be schools or parks.
HCC 16 Gathering places: Explore ways to support arts and cultural facilities and incubators in underserved areas, through tools such as public-private partnerships and incentives. (RACC, NGOs) Expand this item to read as follows:
HCC 16 (New) Gathering places/community centers: Ensure the development of a multi-purpose community center in each neighborhood hub and satellite facilities in surrounding areas. These centers could be neighborhood schools – expanding on the intent in TEY Action 19 (Family support) and TEY 27 (Multi-functional facilities) to broaden the use of existing school buildings – or other suitable space including college facilities (EPA 23). In addition to the arts and cultural facilities and incubators mentioned in the original form of this Action, and to the family support and adult education activities planned in TEY, these centers would become the mainstays of community resilience activities, broadly construed as efforts to buffer residents from economic as well as natural disasters. After school hours, they could become incubators for micro-enterprises and cooperatives; centers for workforce training as well as learning skills such as bicycle repair, making clothing, and growing, preparing and preserving food; community kitchens, health clinics and tool lending libraries. In this way, neighborhood schools become community focal points and clearing houses for information and resources for the community.
Also, with the seismic upgrades that need to be performed on all schools, they would become gathering areas and shelters after a large scale disaster. Most elementary schools are close to being within a 20 minute walk of all residents. We recommend the following elements be considered:
Goals of reducing CO2 emissions, reducing the impact of economic and energy shocks, and improving community disaster resilience can then be met. Neighborhood groups should be included in decisions about these centers.
HCC 16.1 (New) Create a culture of preparedness among Portland residents: Provide and publicize resources that can help Portlanders appreciate the importance of preparing their households for coming through a disaster, and that will show them how to prepare with their families and neighbors. (Transition PDX is already working – in collaboration with the NET program, PBEM, Southeast Uplift, Multnomah County Emergency Management, and the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood association – on the development of a regional community preparedness website that is expected to launch in January. We have put substantial effort into this project and will continue to do so, looking forward to cooperation with the City on publicizing this program and encouraging citizens to prepare.) Partners: Bureau of Emergency Management and other regional emergency management agencies, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and its network of neighborhood associations and coalitions, Portland Fire & Rescue, the NET program, and community groups including Transition PDX. Also, establish a standing Emergency Preparedness Commission (see new Action HCC 48).
HCC 17 Resource conservation: Pursue ecodistrict partnerships and support collaboration among building owners to improve environmental performance at a district scale. (City, NGOs) We strongly support this action.
HCC 18 Resource conservation: Develop approaches for district-wide natural resource conservation — water conservation, stormwater management, energy production and natural resource enhancement. (BES, BPS, PWB) We strongly support this. Add citizen recycling initiatives such as neighborhood composting and gray water use. Also, there is still no stated plan for the case where the Big Pipe isn’t big enough, if the sewer system is offline or lacking a water supply. Instill contingency thinking among bureaus and ask them to develop plans in collaboration with citizen volunteers.
HCC-C Connections for people, places, water and wildlife
There is plenty of good work already being done for Greenways, and we would invite you to look at Greenways in the context of how people will find the designated neighborhood emergency staging areas. Greenways could easily be the main corridor for information exchange when we have a wide scale power outage and/or the telecommunications network is overloaded. We see this fitting in as part of HCC 31 (Civic corridors), where if there are shelters for pedestrians and bicyclists, these could easily serve as the information boards that spring up after earthquakes. Having a list of specific suggestions and volunteer opportunities (TEY 23) for community resilience activities and organizations in the area would be important, and TEY 17 (Safe Routes to Schools) would also seem to fit in well.
Dovetailing with one of the other purposes of Greenways is stormwater management. After a large earthquake, it is highly likely that both water and sewage are going to be knocked offline, possibly for an extended period of time. Setting rainwater catchment at schools, eco-districts, homes and apartment buildings would offset stormwater run off and provide a source of water that could be cleaned for drinking water.
Finally, tree planting or the tree canopy are referenced in the second Guiding Policy on p. 70 and in Actions HCC 22 and 31. Tree placement decisions should be mindful of sunlight needs of solar collectors and gardens. Sight lines need to be maintained to support public safety and business signage.
We recommend that the design principles of permaculture be adopted as often as possible in the design and care of urban spaces.
HCC 19 Habitat connections: Engage with Metro and The Intertwine – a regional network of trails and habitats – to connect, expand and maintain Portland trails and habitat corridors as part of the regional system. (PP&R, BES, Metro)
HCC 20 Habitat connections: Initiate a culvert removal program to expand salmon habitat within Portland streams, beginning by restoring Crystal Springs to a free-flowing salmon-bearing stream with enhanced stream bank and in-stream habitat. (BES)
HCC 21 Habitat connections: Continue to acquire high-priority natural areas identified for potential parks or natural resource restoration sites. (PP&R, BES, Metro)
HCC 22 Habitat connections: Identify key locations for preserving and enhancing neighborhood tree canopy for stormwater management, hazard mitigation, wildlife habitat benefits, air quality and climate change adaptation. (PP&R, BES, NGOs) See introduction to HCC-C.
HCC 23 Habitat connections: Adopt an updated citywide natural resource inventory as a basis for updating the City's natural resource protection plans for the Willamette River (north, south and central reaches) and the Columbia Corridor. (BPS, PP&R, BES)
HCC 24 Habitat connections: Remove invasive species and revegetate 700 acres of natural areas. (PP&R, BES)
HCC 25 Habitat connections: Assemble at least one new shovel-ready, 25-acre or larger site for environmentallysensitive industrial site development as a pilot project for advancing both economic and natural resource goals in industrial areas. (BES, PDC, BPS, Port)
HCC 26 Neighborhood greenways: Initiate implementation of the neighborhood greenways network by completing 75 miles of new neighborhood greenways, including: a. Clay, Montgomery, Pettigrove and Holladay Green Street projects to connect every quadrant of the city to the Willamette River. b. Connections to Multnomah Village and the Hillsdale Town Center. c. Connections between SE Foster to the I-84 path using a route along NE/SE 128th and 132nd Avenues. d. North Portland Neighborhood Greenway from Pier Park to Interstate Avenue. (PBOT, BES, PP&R, BPS)
HCC 27 Neighborhood greenways: Implement key trail projects to support Neighborhood Greenway connectivity by supporting the following trail efforts: a. Pursue ways to speed up the trail acquisition process and create additional tools to enable the City to obtain trail easements, so that the regional trail system in Portland can be completed in a timely manner. b. Construct sections of the Red Electric Trail connecting to Hillsdale Town Center. c. Complete the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail Concept Plan and the North Willamette Greenway Feasibility Study. (PP&R, PBOT, BPS)
HCC 28 Neighborhood greenways: Implement pilot projects for alternative right-of-way improvements and funding approaches for unimproved streets, to provide additional options where traditional approaches are not feasible and to foster street design that is more responsive to community characteristics. (PBOT, BES)
HCC 29 Neighborhood greenways: Develop new options for temporary or permanent repurposing of unimproved rights-of-way for public uses such as pedestrian and bikeways, community gardens, rain gardens, park spaces or neighborhood habitat corridors. (PBOT, BES, PP&R)
HCC 30 Neighborhood greenways: Resolve issues related to pedestrian facilities that do not meet city standards but provide safe pedestrian connections. (PBOT)
HCC 31 Civic corridors: Identify and develop new right-of-way designs for key transit streets that integrate frequent transit and bike facilities, pedestrian crossings, landscaped stormwater management, large canopy trees and placemaking amenities (e.g. benches, lighting and signage). (PBOT, BES) See introduction to HCC -C.
HCC 32 Civic corridors: Incorporate civic corridors concepts, including green infrastructure investment, active transportation improvements, transit service, environmental stewardship and strategic redevelopment in the following efforts to provide a model for future projects: a. 122nd Avenue planning — to enhance transit service and connections to east Portland and citywide destinations. b. Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Tacoma Street Station — to restore the adjacent section of Johnson Creek and provide connections to the Springwater Corridor. c. Foster Lents Integration Partnership — to coordinate transportation investments, stormwater management improvements, open space, flood plain restoration and private development and investment. d. Barbur Concept Plan — to create a long-term vision for the Barbur corridor between Portland's central city and the Tigard city limit in anticipation for future high capacity transit in the Southwest Corridor. (PBOT, TriMet, Metro)
HCC 33 Civic corridors: Through the Sidewalk Infill on Arterials Program, invest $16 million in building sidewalks on arterials in southwest and east Portland to address high priority gaps in the sidewalk network. (PBOT, BES, BPS, TriMet, Metro, PP&R)
HCC 34 Civic corridors: Begin concept planning for two corridors identified in the Streetcar System Concept. (PBOT, BPS, TriMet)
HCC-D Coordinated interagency approach
To support its emphasis on community participation, the Plan should significantly broaden the list of potential partners (now mostly public agencies). The proposed physical changes in neighborhoods, for example, will need to engage neighborhood associations and other community organizations. The City may need to identify community organizations/communities of interest and document where they are engaged, by conducting a survey of social and civic capital on the ground.
HCC 35 Planning and investment: Through a multi-agency effort, develop a Healthy, Connected City framework that identifies a system of neighborhood hubs and city greenways and use it to coordinate policy across elements of the comprehensive plan. (BPS, PP&R, PBOT, BES) Reorganize City efforts directed at neighborhoods, where possible under similar geographic boundaries, to ensure coordination with the new designated hubs and the community centers recommended in HCC Action 16. These include the different civic and public organizations: Neighborhood Associations, SUN schools, Neighborhood Watch and NET. These efforts need to be aligned and in communication! Also, collaboration with adjacent municipalities in the border areas is imperative.
HCC 36 Planning and investment: Establish a transportation policy that prioritizes creating transportation systems that support active transportation modes – walking, biking and transit. Develop and promote telework resources and incentives. (PBOT, BPS) Encourage community van pooling and car sharing. Active transportation planning needs to include toilets along routes.
HCC 37 Planning and investment: Develop a strategy for more adequate, stable and equitable funding for development, long-term maintenance and management of transportation and green infrastructure systems. (PBOT, BES) We strongly support this goal. Actions might include establishing a task force to develop the strategy. A local currency might be necessary.
HCC 38 Planning and investment: Complete the Central City 2035 Plan to enhance the role of the central city within the Healthy Connected City network and to expand opportunities for central city neighborhoods to develop as complete communities. (BPS, PBOT, BES, PP&R)
HCC 39 Planning and investment: Develop and implement new approaches, such as area-specific development standards or design guidance, to ensure new development and infill is both affordable and responsive to the distinctive characteristics of Portland’s neighborhoods. (BPS, BDS) Yes.
HCC 40 Planning and investment: Inventory historic resources in neighborhood hubs and along civic greenways and develop a strategy to preserve key resources. (BPS) Yes.
HCC 41 Social impacts and mitigation: Develop strategies and a more robust toolbox to address potential residential and commercial displacement as development occurs. (PDC, PHB, BPS) We strongly support this action.
HCC 42 Community capacity and local initiatives: Establish or expand technical assistance and matching grant programs to incent and leverage community-based initiatives that further Healthy, Connected City (e.g. community-based groups that maintain green streets, parks and natural areas and plant trees). (BES, PBOT) Another example is health and wellness committee development in our neighborhood associations.
HCC 43 Community capacity and local initiatives: Expand programs that promote periodic community use of streets, such as Sunday Parkways, block parties, festivals and farmers markets. (PBOT) Yes.
HCC 44 Community capacity and local initiatives: Support and expand community-based crime prevention efforts and work to improve communication and understanding between police and the community. We have found no mention of community policing. This has been talked about for 25 years but is only partially implemented. It should be the cornerstone of policing in Portland and coordinated with many other organizations that provide security as well as related activities. This action and TEY14, which relates to public safety through gangs and juvenile delinquency, seem to be describing community policing without using the term. Incorporate the term and expand the scope of this Action to include the Police Bureau, ONI and other interested parties.
HCC 45 Education and promotion: Expand active transportation education and outreach programs.
HCC 46 Education and promotion: Expand recreation offerings, including the amount and variety of community center and outdoor recreation and leisure programming so that Portlanders spend more time engaged in beneficial physical exercise. (PP&R) Yes.
HCC 47 (New) Education and promotion - Energy Descent Resilience: Education should also involve popular education of communities regarding energy issues, conservation issues, the importance of energy conservation, and the plan to transition into renewable green local energy resources for long term stabilization of our energy needs and environmental health. This is consistent with the Community Engagement goal of the City/County Climate Action Plan.
HCC 48 (New) Emergency planning: Establish a standing Emergency Preparedness Commission to look at what is currently being done to meet our emergency preparedness needs, identify further areas of development needed to meet these needs, create an outreach and development plan, and fund this planning effort as a priority. If funding resources are not available, the financial tools suggested in EPA Action 32 could meet these needs.
Objective 5 Growing businesses: By 2035, the metropolitan region ranks 10 or better among U.S. cities, in terms of export value. We would change the objective to read as follows: “By 2035, the metropolitan region ranks 10 or better among U.S. cities in terms of thriving, resilient local economy.”
Objective 10 Healthier people: By 2035, the percentage of Multnomah County adults at a healthy weight meets or exceeds the current rate, which is 44 percent. By 2035, the percentage of 8th graders at a healthy weight has increased and meets or exceeds the national target, which is 84 percent. We recommend changing the objective completely to this: “By 2035 our city's residents all have access to health care and wellness opportunities, and local mental health agencies and public health providers have sufficient funding to both deliver services and evaluate programs for ongoing improvement in population health measures.”
Objective 11 Safer city: By 2035, 75 percent of Portlanders feel safe walking alone at night in their neighborhood. Portland’s communities of color report feeling comfortable calling emergency services. We recommend increasing the goal to 90% or greater. We would also add immigrant communities and individuals with mental health issues to those feeling comfortable calling emergency services. We would add that all neighborhood associations have active emergency planning committees, policies and procedures.
Page 117 We would add at the end of the paragraph in bold: “. . . the success of the plan will depend on continued collaboration with state and federal partners, the future involvement of a greater number of businesses and community organizations, and innovative financing such as local complementary currency.”
Building community resilience for a low carbon future
In response to your request for comments on the Draft Climate Action Plan (CAP), Transition PDX organized two public forums to discuss the plan, Action Area by Action Area, and to prepare constructive comments. The intent of the CAP Forums was to provide an opportunity for people who are knowledgeable about each Action Area to discuss the proposed Objectives and Actions and contribute their collective wisdom. Our findings are attached.
Our conversations included more than 70 people, representing important environmental organizations and other community groups. We broke into seven groups, one to discuss each Action Area and any related items in Action Area 8, Government Operations. In two sessions, we created a list of suggested changes to strengthen the plan. We subsequently created a list of themes common to many of the group reports. There are ten:
Strengthen the plan and set more measurable targets.
Partner with existing nonprofit and citizen groups, and support and enable decentralized solutions at the neighborhood level.
Engage and educate the community.
Promote justice and social equity.
Lay the foundations for 20-minute neighborhoods.
Remove obstacles to sustainable innovation and practices.
Incentivize and penalize.
Integrate plans for different Action Areas and insist on more interagency cooperation.
Research best practices in municipal carbon reduction used in other countries.
Plan for difficulties that may not be apparent right now.
We certainly support the intentions of the CAP. We are genuinely pleased that our government is mapping responses now to difficulties that many cities are not taking seriously. We are also aware that the draft CAP is the result of many discussions, and we see part of our responsibility as lending strength and courage to leaders of this effort. We hope our report helps improve this Plan for our community’s future in an uncertain and perhaps chaotic world to come.
The attached report includes a Foreword that sets a context, a short Introduction, the Common Themes from our discussions and Highlights from all seven groups, followed by the specific recommendations for each Action Area. We hope this will help our community craft a plan with popular backing that can help us all achieve a resilient future.
While the rest of this document represents and summarizes the input of the participants in the Climate Action Plan (CAP) Forums, in this Foreword we offer a perspective from the Transition PDX team that organized the Forums. All our comments are meant to honor the people who wrote and honed the draft Plan we received as well as to sharpen the draft further and make it more effective. Our common work, after all, is to make a place where our children and their descendents can live happily, even if their material standards of living are affected by climate change and depleting resources. This Plan must be viewed first and foremost as a gift to our children and their children for generations to come. This is the most important gift conceivable: the gift of the possibility of life.
For in this Plan begins the process of adjustment that will determine how well our City and County, and their residents, come through the difficulties that could conceivably characterize this century. If we are to avoid worst case scenarios, we must begin now by envisioning the kind of world we want to have. The resolve of City and County leaders to create and discuss and amend the CAP demonstrates an awareness of the seriousness of our situation. Climate change and, we also anticipate, the end of cheap fuels will affect everything in our lives – food, fuel, water, transportation, trading patterns, credit and finance, construction, businesses small and large, medicine, emergency services, poverty, and potentially the boundaries of community and government.
1. Anticipating multiple, simultaneous changes – and not always comfortable ones
We recognize the paradox that we need to begin planning for both the short term as well as the longer term effects of climate change and generally rising costs of energy. The world likely passed peak oil a year or two ago (global oil production has been on a bumpy plateau since mid-2005). Climate change may well limit the amount of water available to ordinary citizens and farms in the near future, and along with oil depletion may affect everything from food supplies and medical care to our global economy and financial system. In 20 years, highway travel and the need for its infrastructure, for example, may be much lower. Consequently our economic system insofar as it depends on auto manufacturing and sales of automobiles nationally may be unstable. And locally, gas tax revenues as currently configured may be much diminished.
Anticipating responses to a manifold of changes on this scale, which could come slowly or rapidly, planners must be aware that what works for the short- and mid-range benefit of all, may not cover the people’s needs for the long range. At the same time, changes in our housing stock and commercial buildings come slowly, and the automobile fleet lasts some 15 years. While we are fortunate to have considerable land available in the broader region to convert from ornamental production to food crops, the associated changes in techniques and equipment are not so easily or quickly made. Planting trees in the city can be done rapidly, but the benefits take much longer to realize. Even changing our transportation system requires longer than we might like. A bus fleet can be expanded only as quickly as financial resources become available; streetcars and light rail require years to permit, finance, plan, engineer, acquire equipment, and construct. And public opinion, in the absence of what some have called a “Pearl Harbor Event” that would shock everyone into consciousness of our situation, can be expected to shift over a period of years rather than weeks, into acceptance of a new and more vital role for government.
2. More flexibility and more inter-agency coordination – a paradox?
So planning must take all those timeframes into consideration and try to anticipate and create changes that will prepare us for true sustainability in the long term even while advocating incremental modifications to present systems. Many of the comments in the reports that follow reflect these concerns. So the most important innovation in our planning now should be to anticipate an increased capacity for planning itself, for flexibility, for allowing – even enabling – rapid, adaptive and widespread change, social as well as material, in the light of changing circumstances.
The need for flexibility will apply in many areas – in zoning, in building codes, in sanitary laws and regulations, in water uses, etc. Regulations that were once based on sanitation and safety, under conditions prevailing with plentiful and cheap fossil fuels, may not apply if water becomes scarce or if fuel and plastic are expensive or in short supply.
This combination of increased planning capacity and flexibility collides head-on with a condition that came up in our conversations over and over: lack of coordination among government agencies. Coordinating cross agency planning, however, would normally slow down and freeze innovation and action, which would conflict with the need for flexibility and rapid, precise responses to unforeseeable developments. What’s really needed to overcome those conflicting tendencies?
3. Going Local as One Way Forward
We don’t have an answer to that paradox, but we do offer some recommendations for beginning the search in a different place: the citizens in the neighborhoods and nonprofit organizations that already exist. Over and over the different groups independently arrived at similar points: much of the design work and implementation could be done by non-government groups coordinated by a central city or county agent charged with supporting local community development. There was a common thread to our talks, and that was the potential for ending our current stance toward government, that of consumer, and changing it to co-creators of the city in partnership with government.
We expect the results would include more integrated designs, more buy-in from citizens, less cost to government, and more relevant results – focused directly on the needs of local people. Consequently, we recommend setting up a liaison office in the Office of Sustainable Development, charged with fostering direct cooperation with local citizen groups on a myriad of projects. Funds spent on supporting such projects would go much further than those spent on new projects in the present paradigm. By operating on a smaller, local scale, the city decreases the need for long strings of coordination up and down cooperating hierarchies and thereby also decreases the cost of information in the system.
This kind of planning and project management would also make planning more flexible over the long run. This is because local people understand more about changing needs and the costs and benefits of a project than people up the line. So they could propose and execute responses to changing conditions rapidly and effectively, adapting buildings, houses, streets, open spaces and tree cover to local needs by straightforward coordination with citywide plans.
This report contains many ideas on how to accomplish the goals of the CAP, some of them in this new paradigm. Most importantly, let us find ways to continue this conversation as we go forward.
The Transition PDX CAP Forums Team
Liz Bryant, Meg Bowman, Jim Newcomer, and Kelly Reece
The two Climate Action Plan Forums sponsored by Transition PDX were held a week apart, on June 17 and 24, 2009. The purpose of the Forums was to provide an opportunity for citizens to come together around the specific Core Action Areas in the CAP, to exchange information and ideas about the proposed Objectives and Actions, and to come up with recommendations to the City and County to improve the Plan. Participants broke into discussion groups corresponding to the first seven Core Action Areas in the CAP. (Proposals in Action Area 8, Local Government Operations, were assigned to other Action Areas that covered similar subject matter.)
Most of the more than 70 people who attended the first Forum returned for the second and were joined that evening by a number of newcomers. Many participants represented environmental and other community groups, and most had subject matter expertise in the Action Area they attended. In general, participants’ contributions took the form of urging the City and County to go beyond the actions envisioned in the draft and to offer more specific measurements, agency responsibilities and funding commitments. It was felt that the City’s and County’s development of the draft CAP demonstrates local government’s awareness of the gravity of the challenges before us due to climate change. Correspondingly, those citizens who came to the CAP Forums engaged in discussion of a very serious nature.
What follows in this document includes
Those specific ideas are the heart of our contribution. They represent the voices of citizens who are concerned and informed about the actions contemplated, and who have engaged in conversations to clarify their assumptions and mix their experiences into thoughtful recommendations. These proposals are important, we believe, to the work of creating a resilient City and County.
1. Strengthen the Plan and Set More Measurable Targets.
Too many targets are set too low. The Plan needs to be strengthened in numerous ways to get us to 80% emissions reduction by 2050.
Too many Objectives and Actions are lacking in quantitative commitments and measures that would insure accountability for achieving them.
2. Partner and Decentralize.
Partner and coordinate with the many existing nonprofit and citizen groups doing work related to the goals of the CAP. This will be increasingly critical as public funding becomes scarcer. Leverage existing systems to achieve efficiencies and maximize resources.
Establish a system such as an Advisory Council for each Action Area to accomplish the needed coordination and networking among stakeholders, and to oversee that Area’s progress from here out to 2050. Where advisory groups currently exist, consider expanding them to inject fresh ideas into discussions. City/County staff time used to convene and staff such councils should be amply repaid by the resulting efficiencies.
Support and enable decentralized solutions at a neighborhood level, including education efforts (detailed in next theme). Some solutions can be more effectively implemented on a smaller scale, and local implementation will support getting as much of the citizenry as possible engaged in this effort. Plus, encouraging local projects will help increase interdependence among community members and increase community resilience.
Establish a Green Grants program for neighborhood and other community groups to support educational programs and local projects such as neighborhood composting, tool libraries, and other approaches to developing local infrastructure and sharing resources.
Communities must be empowered in a variety of ways to implement the educational and other projects needed to help meet the goals of the CAP. A climate change coordination system must allow for information to pass not only from the City/County but also to the City/County from the public.
3. Engage and Educate the Community.
Recognize publicly that climate change is a life-changing event and even though it lacks the Pearl Harbor type of stimulus for action, it deserves that kind of commitment by citizens and government to our mutual survival. Based on that, take the following steps:
Establish a Community Engagement Coordination Office in the Office of Sustainable Development to network with and support education efforts of community groups, neighborhoods, non-profits, K-12 schools, faith communities and other groups. Make use of existing systems to engage communities.
Integrate carbon reduction education efforts at neighborhood levels and offer grants to local groups for community education. These efforts would illuminate the connections between healthier lifestyles with more walking and biking, enhanced social relationships from sharing resources with neighbors, buying local food (and buying more products in bulk), and less emphasis on shopping and consumption. Community groups are better positioned than government to experiment with more engaging and far-reaching approaches to reach both adults and children.
Brand the campaign. Plant the message strongly with a recognizable logo, but offer a variety of involvement options so that everyone can participate in some way.
Create training modules (including train the trainer) on carbon reduction for households, businesses and other organizations. Inform neighborhoods of carbon reduction priorities based on their energy use, transportation and waste disposal patterns.
Create a “new and improved” Multnomah County Extension Service that takes advantage of the power of the Web to help create a truly sustainable food system, and provides classes on gardening, soil management, animal husbandry, cooking, canning, preserving and other important skills related to the production and use of local food.
Work with other organizations already active in climate change education and mitigation, including but not limited to Transition PDX, Northwest Earth Institute, Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, City Repair, Portland Peak Oil and Bright Neighbor.
Include students at every level in the discussion of how best to promote healthy, low-carbon diets and other aspects of a low carbon lifestyle. Seek their opinions about this City/County Climate Action Plan. Ensure that their views are heard by decision-makers so they feel empowered and optimistic about their future.
4. Promote Justice and Equity.
Prioritize providing resources and educational programs for underserved groups such as those in low-income neighborhoods, renters, apartment dwellers, etc.
Inclusivity and cultural sensitivity are paramount in engaging the public. Seek guidance of community leaders in carrying out the information sharing and education that will lead to behavior change among all groups.
In assessing climate change related vulnerabilities and inherent community strengths, the City/County should engage all constituent populations in the assessment process and as partners in developing plans to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. Be aware that the poor will be hit hardest by climate change as well as any emergency situation.
5. Lay the foundations for 20-minute neighborhoods.
Design a comprehensive transit system on a grid in which no one has to walk more than ¼ mile to reach a bus or rail line.
Integrate new zoning principles with transit lines to provide for denser residential development and for commercial development and small manufacturing at intersections of transit routes.
Support small, local businesses and employment opportunities within neighborhoods, for example in the low-cost financing program for energy performance improvements.
6. Remove Obstacles.
All levels of government need to recognize and eliminate the numerous legal barriers to developing creative local solutions that will fulfill the goals of the Climate Action Plan. The separate group reports give numerous examples.
Review existing ordinances, regulations and codes in the new context posed by climate change and peak oil – which may cause shortages of food and energy – and remove all unnecessary restrictions. Work with Recode Oregon to accomplish this.
Change the basis for zoning in neighborhoods and along transit lines from use-based to size and design-based zoning.
Encourage experimentation by individuals, groups of individuals and entrepreneurs in reducing energy usage. Allow variances if the intent is to reduce carbon emissions.
7. Incentivize and Penalize.
Develop both financial and non-monetary incentives for individuals and organizations whose actions support the Plan’s objectives.
Develop disincentives and penalties for organizations whose actions create barriers to achieving the Plan’s objectives. Create obstacles to any practice that inhibits their achievement (e.g., reduce the amount of coal-generated power the City will buy from PGE; ban toxic chemicals that poison soil; stop using pesticides in public parks).
Tax what we want to discourage. Raise tolls on the CRC to $10 at peak rush hours.
8. Integrate plans and activities for different Action Areas, and ensure interagency cooperation.
Coordinate planning for projects in different Action Areas to ensure that actions do not conflict or compete, and fulfill multiple needs wherever possible. For example, Forestry projects need to be coordinated with those in the Buildings/Energy and the Food/Agriculture Action Areas, so trees planted don’t shade food gardens, and solar and forestry projects are appropriately sited and don’t interfere with each other.
Thus mindsets begin to shift toward considering the entire city (or county) as a permaculture of interlocking, mutually supportive systems.
Insist on better cooperation among bureaus. Examples: Train utility workers to be more aware of preserving tree roots and limbs.
Extend cooperation efforts to Clackamas, Clark and Washington Counties.
9. Research best practices in municipal carbon reduction used not only in other U.S. cities but in other countries, such as Germany, Japan, Brazil and England.
10. Plan for Difficulties.
Educate the public about the potential ramifications of climate change and the likely prospect of rising energy prices.
In adapting to the impacts of climate change, anticipate increased conflict due to change and limited resources. Ensure that free mediation and conflict resolution training are available, and use community resources to help address interpersonal, cultural and ideological barriers to adapting to climate change.
Re-examine the emergency plans at the City, County and state levels to verify the ability to cope with the likelihood of more frequent, highly disruptive storms, large scale disruptions of supply lines or large scale disruptions of liquid fuel supply.
As part of the 20 minute neighborhood model, designate public buildings within a 20 minute walk that can serve as aid, communication and rest stations for volunteer emergency responders. Putting solar panels on these buildings would create islands of electricity for use at the aid/ communication/rest facilities, and would also provide an opportunity to teach people about solar power.
Nine people were in the first discussion and ten in the second with a total of thirteen different participants. In addition to the specific comments below, a number of important themes emerged:
The group felt strongly that the 2030 objectives are set too low and that the Plan needed to be strengthened as set forth below.
Use the creativity of the citizens, both individually and in groups, to solve some of the energy issues by permitting and encouraging citizen experimentation. In some cases, citizens have already experimented and have come up with solutions. Support these efforts by removing obstacles and providing measurement of energy savings
Encourage entrepreneurs to do self-financed experimental energy efficiency projects. As businesses are engaged, it will spread into the rest of the community.
Research other countries’ models. Germany, Denmark, Japan, Brazil and China are a few of the countries that have solved some of these efficiency problems. (Germany has a flywheel battery technology. What if they put a battery in the bottom of the wind turbine?) If you “build the metrics” into the experiments and evaluate, people will adapt them and innovations will happen.
Experiment with pilot programs.
Partner with existing voluntary groups, e.g., ReCode Oregon. By partnering with local groups, we do not necessarily mean providing financial support, although help with publicity, printing costs, etc. can enable these groups to be more effective. Setting up a coordinator or advisory group for each action area would be one way of doing this.
Re-examine the emergency plans at the City, County and state levels to verify the ability to cope with the likelihood of more frequent, highly disruptive storms, large scale disruptions of supply lines and large scale disruptions of liquid fuel supply.
Ensure that plans include how to manage disruption of gas or electricity in the event of a severe earthquake or other emergency.
In the event of a short term supply disruption, we need a plan for prioritization of users of available fuel, and of for potentially rationing any supply beyond what is needed by priority users such as hospitals, ambulances and fire departments.
As part of the 20 minute neighborhood model, designate public buildings within a 20 minute walk that can serve as aid, communication and rest stations, specifically including volunteer emergency responders from the NET and Neighborhood Watch. Solar panels on these buildings would create islands of electricity for use at these facilities, and would also provide an opportunity to teach people about solar power.
In order to meet the emissions targets in this Climate Action Plan, the City/County needs to generate or purchase enough renewable electricity to close the Boardman plant. Pass a resolution that states that we will only buy clean, renewable energy from PGE as of x date, which should be well before 2030. (See Objective 16, Action 5, for details.)
The City should be more active in state climate legislation. There was a bill in the Legislature to send teams out to evaluate energy use and provide a financing mechanism. Portland did not weigh in on this bill, which Sen. Merkley and Rep. Blumenauer are using as a model for federal legislation. In future we would like to see the City Council weigh in on issues like this.
All recommendations were unanimous, except as noted.
2030 Objective 1. Reduce the total energy use of all buildings built before 2010 by 25 percent.
Increase the targets to 50% by 2020 and 80% by 2030.
Conservation should be the first priority.
2012 Action 1. Establish an investment fund with public and private capital to provide easy access to $10 million annually in low-cost financing to residents and businesses for energy performance improvements.
Establish a policy of giving out many small grants rather than a a smaller number of large ones.
Have a policy of preferring small local business within neighborhoods (the 20-minute neighborhood concept) as recipients of City/County funds.
Encourage banks to follow the lead of Umpqua Bank or Shore Bank in financing projects, allowing subsequent property owners to assume the loans.
In considering sources of financing, use local credit unions and co-ops that keep their own paper, e.g., Advantis Credit Union.
Have a policy of incentivizing smart energy use and penalizing heavy energy users, so that the heavy users pay for the programs to reduce energy use.
Invest in “smart grid’ technology.
Partner with citizens and existing not-for-profits to create a clearinghouse of information and consumer feedback on new technologies. If an organization’s mission aligns with one of the City’s or County’s energy goals, they should partner with them. Work with not-for-profits who have existing libraries, resource lists and links, and blogs. Partnering with multiple not-for-profits will result in information on multiple web sites. This would provide transparency and informal auditing of the City/County’s efforts and would build on the credibility of the not-for-profits. Blogs would provide citizen input.
Action 2. Require energy performance ratings and consumption disclosures for all homes so that owners, tenants and prospective buyers can make informed decisions.
The City or County should be responsible for benchmarking energy usage, and goals should be stated in measurable terms so that progress can be monitored.
Employ “smart grid” technology for baseline establishment.
Action 3. Require energy performance benchmarking for all commercial and multi-family buildings.
See comments under Action 2.
Require businesses over a certain size to publish their energy and water usage. Publish successful reductions in energy or water usage for restaurants and other businesses. Citizens may reward low energy users with their patronage.
Action 4. Provide resources and incentives to residents and businesses on energy-reduction actions on existing buildings.
Support the implementation of the Renewable Energy Payment Plan (REP), which involves a feed-in tariff (FIT) for investor-owned utility customers. It requires the utility to purchase from the consumer any solar energy produced and pay enough to cover costs plus a reasonable amount of return on investment.
Because they can get a return from the feed-in tariff, neighbors can then invest together in producing energy, and act as a local improvement district. The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) uses a feed-in tariff. Consider a pilot program, using the EWEB system as an example, and involve PGE and PPL as well. (Germany recently opened the market for entrepreneurs to produce energy.)
Use geospatial tools such as the LIDAR dataset and Google Earth to determine roof top solar access and vegetable garden placement and to optimize placement of urban trees so they throw shadows in preferred locations (on the south side of a house, not on the garden).
Some people are resisting alternative energy by saying solar panels in higher income neighborhoods will cause low-income residents to pay more. A good place for a demonstration project would be a public housing project.
Incentivize reduced water and electricity usage. Reduce base charges for under-users while penalize heavier users by increasing their rate. Other incentives include recognition, contests, prizes for greenest business, worst violators.
Facilitate revising deeds involved in experimental projects to indicate easements, etc., and issue regulations requiring financing companies to recognize these experimental easements.
Emphasize and sponsor programs to educate citizens on lifestyle changes and home energy management.
Support home and business owners in maintaining and repairing existing buildings to make them last.
Many older houses have common heating for the entire house. Zone heating and electric heaters in some rooms can help, as was done with small fireplaces for individual rooms before houses had central heating. Most older houses and some pre-1950’s have passive heat circulation and cooling by use of louvered vents between floors; rooms that can be closed off or opened into larger spaces by pocket doors; window, door and stairway placement that allow heat to escape through attic windows and cool the rest of the house when needed without mechanical means; etc. Education for homeowners could include how to use and maintain these passive design features (not remove them by changing walls, doors, windows, etc.).
Buildings contain significant amounts of embedded energy. We need incentives to maintain and adapt existing buildings and disincentives to remove them. When buildings must be removed, there should be mandatory deconstruction. Too many buildings are taken down, not because they are not functioning, but just because of preference.
This was the majority recommendation; a minority opposed interference with removing or destroying unwanted buildings.
Tracking Energy Use
Lyons, Colorado has been doing a tracking and monitoring program, resulting in 16% carbon emissions reduction. Their model is cheaper than using smart meters because it uses people’s energy bills. It is an easier first step than the smart grid. The City/County could do an online tracking process, educating citizens by households or neighborhoods in making simple changes in their house or behavior and in using the online tracking system.
Smart meters work with monitors that can be placed behind any appliance. They even track ghost energy, the power consumed when devices are plugged in but not turned on. It would not be that expensive for the City and County to give or rent to twenty homes enough smart meters for about six devices each. They could make them available to be checked out from the library. Information could be readily used by homeowners to make changes in their house or modify their behavior – e.g., knowing that your coffee maker uses 1200 watts would encourage keeping coffee warm in an insulated carafe.
People need to be aware of the loss in transmission of electricity from a utility versus using natural gas to generate heat onsite. When using electric heat pumps, one-third of the energy used to heat the house comes from the utility and much energy is lost in transmission. It can be more energy efficient to use the gas furnace to supplement heating than suffer the transmission loss.
Time of day rates for utilities should be advertised to make them better known to consumers.
Use low-cost positive reinforcement rather than paying citizens to do the right thing, such as social recognition in awards, contests, and publicity that money can’t buy. Neighborhoods could compete to be the ‘greenest neighborhood’.
Action 5. Work with partner organizations to promote improved operation and maintenance practices in all commercial buildings.
The City and County can partner with the business and building owners by removing barriers to new ideas and technologies.
2030 Objective 2. Achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions in all new buildings and homes.
2012 Action 1. Adopt green building incentives for high performance new construction.
Encourage new developments to put in tracking and monitoring systems to determine how much energy will be required for a development and how much will be produced on site. Developments could be made self-sufficient. Include public housing.
Facilitate cross-jurisdictional licensing. Contractors have to have separate licenses to operate in different jurisdictions. A solution may be common business licensing across jurisdictions. In some fields, such as geothermal drilling, there are very few people who will do it and the equipment is expensive. Cross licensing may be a good solution for the short term; but in the long term it would be good to see people work more locally.
Although the City has very high energy efficient building standards, these standards should be raised for new buildings every several years.
The issue of thin film vs. solar panels needs to be addressed. Whereas panels have a track record of durability, newer solar collection systems, e.g., thin film, do not. The newer systems may be cheaper to install but they do not last and are not efficient. Also, their production is less efficient because semiconductors are expensive to produce and use significant amounts of energy. While thin film can be produced in large quantity, it suffers from dust abrasion in city environments as well as from dampness and mold.
Finance companies have an interest in most properties. They are reluctant to have any encumbrances put on the deeds without being paid for it, as it requires more paperwork and legal exposure. Regulations should support deed revisions, in particular with regard to adding energy easements.
Action 2. Participate actively in the process to revise the Oregon building code to codify the performance targets of Architecture 2030.
Action 3. Accelerate existing efforts to provide green building design assistance, education and technical resources to residents, developers, designers and builders.
Add a section in the building code that addresses experimental projects so people can try grey water systems, etc., with supervision and monitoring by the City or County. The projects would be used as demonstration projects and may be later adopted by the City/County. This is currently being done by ATAC (Alternative Technology Advisory Committee) as part of the permit process through the Bureau of Development Services, where if a citizen has an innovative product or strategy they can submit it to a committee of experts to review it. ATAC should be continued and expanded. An “experimental building permit” may be useful.
Objective 3. Produce 10 percent of the total energy used within Multnomah County from on-site renewable sources and clean district energy systems.
Goal is set too low. Increase the portion of total renewable energy produced within Multnomah County to 50%.
Employing geospatial modeling (where information is gathered on a geo-coordinate system) could provide baseline information, a clearinghouse for projects, and tracking of resources, including food, etc., on an ongoing basis at a greater level than they do currently, for projects at the City or County level and to support neighbors’/ neighborhoods’ systems. Performance modeling would allow evaluation of productivity of each project.
2012 Action 1. Make the investment fund referenced in Objective 1, above, available to finance distributed generation and district energy systems.
Action 2. Establish at least one district heating and cooling system.
Instead of limiting projects to individual property owners, it makes sense for government to enable aggregates of neighbors or neighborhoods to act when that scale is the most effective. For example, four properties could share a corner of their lots to install a geothermal heat pump. Drilling deep enough can be too expensive for an individual. The City and County should provide enabling zoning.
At another level of scale, there could be aggregations that are larger than just a few neighbors. Entrepreneurs could be encouraged to take on installing and maintaining the systems as a business. The ability to site in common back yards would make it easy to put in the distribution lines without digging up the public right-of-way, as well as saving costs for households.
Regulations do not support switching or exchanging energy sources. Many hospitals, schools and other large buildings have emergency energy devices. These usually are fueled by natural gas or diesel. It could be cheaper to buy your electricity from one of these co-gen plants at a large facility in your neighborhood when their energy efficiency exceeds that of the utility. While we don’t want to encourage carbon-produced sources, if the utility is generating electricity from a carbon source, get it locally.
Action 3. Facilitate the installation of at least five megawatts of on-site renewable energy, such as solar energy. 0
Support the feed-in tariff and facilitate selling power back to the grid.
Investigate using plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as leveling devices. Plug-in hybrids can help eliminate the need for maintaining a base load of power, which would open the way for renewable energy.
Vacant lands can be inventoried for energy or food production. Cleveland, Ohio did a guidebook that surveyed vacant properties for storm water management and energy production. They have available the information of how much land is needed for a project, and also how to use a property for the benefit of the community.
Related Items from Action Area 8 LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
2030 Objective 16. Reduce carbon emissions from City and County operations 50 percent from 1990 levels.
Goal is set too low. Reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030.
Use smart meters to monitor energy use; employ geospatial modeling to make energy projects more productive; build projects to the most efficient scale; and consider smart grid technology.
2012 Action 1. Issue capital improvement bonds or identify other funding sources to finance energy-efficiency upgrades in City and County facilities.
Action 2. Require that all new City and County buildings achieve Architecture 2030 performance targets
Action 3. Convert street lighting, water pumps, water treatment and other energy intensive operations to more efficient technologies.
Minimize light pollution in converting street and other lighting. Use shades to aim lighting downward to avoid harming birds' navigation sensors.
Action 4. Adopt and implement green building policies that include third-party certification of energy, water and waste conservation strategies.
Action 5. Purchase or generate 100 percent of all electricity required for City and County operations from renewable sources, with at least 15 percent from on-site or district renewable energy sources such as solar and biogas.
The City is the biggest purchaser of power from utilities. It can use its clout with the investor-owned utilities to remove carbon-based fuels from its long-range plan. The City/County needs to generate or purchase enough renewable electricity to close the Boardman plant. The City should use its power and influence as the main purchaser of PGE’s power to demand that they move off of coal-fired power. Pass a resolution that states that we will only buy clean, renewable energy from PGE as of x date, which should be well before 2030. Pass the resolution in the next year and work with PGE to come up with a way to shift the power source so that we can meet the emissions targets laid out in the plan. As long as the City is using power from coal we won’t be able to meet the emissions targets in this Climate Action Plan.
11 people attended the first session. Seven attended the second.
The major theme of our discussion was the inseparability of transit and efficient land use. Without sufficient density, you cannot build a transit system that can compete with cars on timeliness and proximity. Without an effective transit system, you cannot achieve the needed density due to the need to accommodate cars. Transit planning is land use planning. Land use planning is transit planning. Yet we know of no body that incorporates both aspects in our civic planning. TriMet, City and County all operate separately, plan separately, obtain grants from separate sources with separate criteria, and build separately. As far as we know, for example, sewers, water lines and utility lines under the streets are not even considered for maintenance when streetcar tracks are being planned and laid.
We concluded that Portland must build a transit system that is a true alternative to owning a car. We focused on building a grid of frequent (10 minute headways or better) service every half mile or so both east-west and north-south. We also suggested that TriMet observe which lines have greatest ridership, and electrify those lines.
To accomplish this, TriMet's present system is vastly inadequate. To persuade people that transit is a workable alternative to owning a car, service must be frequent, reliable, nearby and integrated with housing and shopping; also integrated must be the various modes of transit – feeder lines, trunk lines and MAX, along with inter-city services. Service must be available 24/7 because people need to get to and from work at all hours of the day and night. They are also unwilling to shape their leisure activities or nighttime working hours to a last bus at 12:30. While late night/ early morning buses may be less frequent, they must run. Since our ability to create vital and viable neighborhoods depends on our transportation system, we suggest that our whole vision of what TriMet should be, do, and hope for should expand and should be brought into the same context as the rest of the city – financially, operationally and culturally.
In order to create neighborhoods dense enough (and safe enough) to support adequate transit, the basis of our zoning must also change. Instead of use-based zoning Portland should adopt other, more flexible, standards. Encourage mixed use, for example, and increased density within a block or two of frequent service transit lines. Build the transit and the density will come. Instead of focusing on a single mode, such as the streetcar, focus on creating a network. Look at Toronto for a good example of an effective network. If there is good service, people will find it. The market will develop. Look at the areas of Portland that have gentrified and become very dynamic neighborhoods: N. Mississippi, Alberta, etc. They all have frequent transit service. We also noted the relationship between the primitive basis for zoning along the East Side MAX line and crime that is endemic on that line.
Finally, sooner or later all four bodies – County, City, TriMet, and Metro -must address head-on the issue of the limitations on uses of the fuel tax, and begin efforts to educate the public to encourage amendment of the Constitution. In the absence of sources for funding, especially if we anticipate a reduction in use of vehicles and therefore of fuel consumption overall, no funding schedule (as mentioned in Objective 5, Action 2) can be reliable.
2030 Objective 4. Create vibrant neighborhoods where 90 percent of Portland residents and 80 percent of Multnomah County residents can easily walk or bicycle to meet all basic daily, non-work needs.
2012 Action 1. Accommodate all population and business growth within the existing Urban Growth Boundary.
Action 2. For each type of urban neighborhood, identify the land use planning changes, infrastructure investments, including public-private partnerships that are needed to achieve a highly walkable neighborhood and develop an implementation action plan.
Action 3. Require evaluations of planning scenarios and individual land use decisions to include estimates of carbon emissions.
Action 4. Adopt a schedule of funding for public investments to make neighborhoods highly walkable. Coordinate complimentary land use developments.
Action 5. Complete the Streetcar Master Plan and fund the next eight miles of streetcar lines.
2030 Objective 5. Reduce per capita daily vehicle miles traveled by 50 percent from 2008 levels.
2012 Action 1. Update the Transportation System Plan to incorporate mode-share goals that will result in a 50 percent reduction in transportation-related emissions by 2030.
Action 2. Together with Metro and TriMet, develop a joint funding schedule for infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks and improved access to destinations beyond a reasonable walking distance.
Consider establishing a bicycle license feeto provide funding for bike infrastructure, particularly as gas tax revenue declines, and to encourage responsible bicycling behavior.
One member of the group felt strongly about this. Others opposed this on the basis of impact on the homeless (how do you register when you have no cash and no address?), and the civil liberties issue of restricting yet another mode of transportation to those who can present the proper papers when demanded by authorities.
Action 3. Allocate transportation expenditures among maintenance and infrastructure projects to improve the target mode shares.
Remove the State Legislature’s control of speed limits on surface streets in Portland. Eliminate the Speed Board, and give local governments control of speed, access and positioning of traffic lights and crosswalks for ALL surface streets within the local jurisdiction. This would include local control of state highways when those they are overlaid on surface streets (i.e., 82nd, Powell Blvd, others).
Action 4. Identify the steps necessary to create a world-class bicycle system throughout Portland and Multnomah County.
Action 5. Fund the first tier of improvements identified in the City of Portland Bicycle Master Plan and adopt a schedule of funding to address subsequent improvements.
Action 6. Expand the Smart Trips program to a county-wide effort to reach each resident at least once every five years.
Action 7. Invest in advanced telecommunications infrastructure to enable widespread e-commerce and telecommuting.
Action 8. Implement appropriate pricing mechanisms on driving such as congestion pricing, tolls and parking pricing and direct these funds to infrastructure for non-automobile transportation modes and programs to promote their use.
Action 9. Protect existing intermodal freight facilities.
2030 Objective 6. Increase the average fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles to 40 miles per gallon.
2012 Action 1. Support implementation of state tailpipe emission standards that are more aggressive than federal standards.
Action 2. Provide educational opportunities to residents and businesses to drive the most efficient vehicle that meets their needs.
2030 Objective 7. Reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of transportation fuels by 20 percent.
2012 Action 1. Implement the second phase of the City’s renewable fuels standard to require that diesel fuel sold in Portland include at least 10 percent biodiesel, half of which must be made from sources that can be produced in Oregon.
Action 2. Accelerate the transition to plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles by supporting the installation of a network of electric car charging stations.
Related Items from Action Area 8 LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
2030 Objective 16. Reduce carbon emissions from City and County operations 50 percent from 1990 levels.
2012 Action 6. Require that local government fleets, regulated fleets (e.g., taxis and waste/recycling haulers), and the fleets of local government contractors meet minimum fleet fuel efficiency standards and use low-carbon fuels.
Action 7. Buy electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for City and County fleets as they become commercially available.
Eight people attended the first session and five attended the second. In addition to the specific comments below, four overall themes emerged:
All recommendations were unanimous.
2030 Objective 8. Reduce total solid waste generated by 25 percent.
2012 Action 1. Encourage businesses and residents to purchase new and reused goods with minimal packaging that are durable, repairable and reusable.
Action 2. Participate actively in the process to develop state and federal product stewardship legislation.
ADD NEW ACTION 3. Establish a zero waste policy or strategy.
2030 Objective 9. Recover 75 percent of all waste generated.
· Target is too weak; it should be 90%.
2012 Action 1. Complete the implementation of mandatory commercial food waste collection in Portland and begin collection of residential food waste.
Action 2. Assist 1,000 businesses per year to improve compliance with Portland’s requirement of paper, metal and glass recycling.
Action 3. Together with Metro create a regional hierarchy of materials disposal to guide decisions on technologies such as commercial composting, digesters, plasmafication and waste-to-energy systems.
Action 4. Regulate solid waste collection for unincorporated Multnomah County.
Action 5. Provide technical assistance to contractors and construction firms to meet Portland’s new requirement to recycle 75 percent of construction and demolition debris.
ADD NEW ACTION 6. Support local community waste reduction and related education efforts.
2030 Objective 10. Maximize the efficiency of the waste collection system.
2012 Action 1. Provide weekly curbside collection of food waste, other compostable materials and recycling. Shift residential garbage collection to every other week.
Related Items from Action Area 8 LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
2030 Objective 16. Reduce carbon emissions from City and County operations 50 percent from 1990 levels.
ADD NEW ACTION (before Action 8). Reduce total waste produced in City/County operations by 50%.
· This is to correspond with our recommendation under Objective 8 (Reduce total solid waste generated by 50 percent).
2012 Action 8. Recover 85 percent of all waste generated in City and County operations.
· i.e., waste remaining after the reduction recommended in the previous new Action.
2012 Action 9. In City and County purchasing decisions, consider carbon emissions from the production, transportation, use and disposal of goods as a criterion.
· Substitute stronger language: “In City and County purchasing decisions, make an active effort to select suitable products that are the least carbon-intensive in their production, packaging, transportation, use and disposal. Establish thresholds that products must meet to be considered.”
Four people attended the first forum, and four the second.
At the second forum we had a Subject Matter Expert, Scott Fogarty, Executive Director of Friends of Trees. He spoke at length about the work they are doing, work that is addressing the CAP Urban Forestry Objectives, with positive results in carbon sequestering and in other areas such as stormwater runoff reduction, heat island effect reduction, community building, wildlife corridor creation and improvement, increasing home values, minority green jobs creation, and health improvement.
The work being done by Friends of Trees is directly in line with the goals in the CAP, and the group feels that supporting their work is one of the most effective ways to further CAP Urban Forestry and other goals.
It will be advantageous to coordinate planning for Forestry projects with those in the Buildings/Energy and the Food/Agriculture Action Areas to ensure that actions do not conflict or compete, and fulfill multiple needs wherever possible (i.e., planting trees that generate food but don’t shade food gardens, and ensuring that solar projects and forestry projects are appropriately sited and do not compete or interfere with each other). This begins to resemble the permaculture idea of interlocking, mutually supportive systems – i.e., considering the entire city (or county) as a permaculture. See new Action 5 regarding development and use of the LIDAR database, which shows solar potential of areas.
2030 Objective 11. Expand the forest canopy to cover one-third of Portland.
Currently, 26% of Portland/Multnomah County is covered with the Urban Forest, the objective is to increase that to 33%. The baseline should be stated in the plan.
2012 Action 1. Expand public and private programs to encourage planting and preserving trees.
Provide multiple sources for discounted/subsidized prices for trees. Friends of Trees already discounts their trees heavily.
Expand the Urban Forestry Program with expert staff, emphasizing staff that can help citizens better take care of their trees and protect them from the stress of expected climate change, i.e., from insects and disease.
Convert some streets to forest corridors from automobile corridors. This and the following item would have stormwater control benefits as well.
Reclaim streets to make more room for trees, bikes and pedestrians (they are much wider than will be needed when there are fewer automobiles). Fund/support research into effects on present forest of climate change. What types of trees that thrive locally are able to withstand the vicissitudes of climate change? Toronto is planting trees that are more resistant to severe climate events.
Plant fruit and nut trees and thereby fulfill two needs – carbon sequestering AND local food production. Eliminate prohibition against planting them on parking strips.
Identify existing fruit and nut trees in the City and County and create a GIS database accessible to people and groups interested in gleaning from them. Partner with the Portland Fruit Tree Project and other gleaner groups on this.
Introduce some urban predators that can help reduce squirrels harvesting of nuts in the city, possibly developing roosting and nesting habitat for predator raptors around nut tree concentrations.
Increase the City and County budgets for tree planting, including grants to nonprofits working in this area.
Require developers to retain and plant more trees. In some areas developers are required to plant two trees for every one taken out.
Utility workers need to be better trained to be guided by the mindset of protecting tree roots and limbs as they do their work.
Action 2. Acquire, restore and protect open spaces to promote functional forest ecosystems with high potential to sequester carbon dioxide.
Convert forest stands from short-lived and/or susceptible trees (e.g., cottonwoods that splinter in ice or wind storms) to longer-lived and more resistant varieties.
Promote uneven age tree management (stands in parks, etc. are often a single age).
Develop denser tree plantings in available areas (ball fields, parks, golf courses). Possibly require a minimum percentage of tree cover on golf courses. This might also create wildlife habitat.
For open spaces that are brownfields awaiting remediation, perhaps this can be accomplished through planting forests and also fungi to ameliorate the toxicity within the brownfields.
Set up an indicator program marking certain trees to monitor the health of forests in the City and County and the effects of climate change.
Continue improving forest health through efforts to promote healthy soil regimes in forested areas by planting nitrogen-fixing plants (alders, legumes).
Action 3. Develop and implement an outreach campaign to provide educational resources to residents about the benefits of trees, tree care and tree regulations.
Give more resources to the Urban Forestry Division for educational outreach programs. Educate regarding the benefits of trees. Develop curricula to teach children and other citizens on how critical trees are for the health of the climate, the air and society.
Explore more stringent rules against cutting down trees. Institute a program where homeowners can swap a tree you want to take out for a new tree planted.
Explore the idea that trees have become valuable enough to the environment and climate stabilization that they should have rights as a part of the commons.
Action 4. Recognize trees as a capital asset to City and County infrastructure.
What is a capital asset? Is it a line on a balance sheet, or something a community can use in promoting its quality of life? Or both?
We value clean air as an asset, so we can find a way to value trees – “33% of our city is covered in beautiful trees!” Create a sense of the sacred nature of trees.
Have schools adopt (watch, monitor, measure, water….) trees in their neighborhood.
Create a Special Trees Program within the City, with some designation or sign (a distinctive cord?) that anyone can use to say ”this tree is special?.
Employ managed harvests where appropriate to generate funds, in cases where stands need thinning or replacement in case of disease.
Create value through growing food for the Food Bank. Develop some of the existing parks as food forests – a community resource for food.
ADD NEW ACTION 5. The City/County/Metro should expedite the development and use of the LIDAR inventory to determine solar potential within the City/County/Metro area.
This inventory will allow the assessment of the solar potential of areas by measuring the tree canopy and tree height based on the location around homes and buildings. Local government needs to be aware of the need to integrate solar potential into all areas to generate solar based power. Where trees have to be sacrificed to improve solar gain, replacement trees should be planted.
20 people attended the first session. 14 people attended the second session.
Food is a “hot” issue today. The constituency of citizens concerned about food issues is growing (e.g., more people are attending the Food Policy Council). Overall, these plans lack specificity and, because most are not measurable, there is little accountability for achieving them. They are safe and conservative.
See the report for Group 4, Urban Forestry, for several recommendations regarding urban orchards of fruit and nut trees
2030 Objective 12. Significantly increase the consumption of local food.
2012 Action 1. Establish joint City-County institutional capacity to support the development of a strong local food system. Provide policy direction and resources to significantly increase the percentage of home-grown and locally-sourced food.
Although the CAP provides directives for the City/County, food and agricultural recommendations need to be considered as part of a bioregional system with emphasis on both “bioregional” (partnerships with other counties and Metro) and “system” (production and consumption as well as the financial dynamics of the local food system). The food needs of Portland cannot be satisfied without considering the surrounding counties.
Except for Action 6, this objective is lacking in quantitative commitments and measures that would insure accountability for achieving them.
Diesel fuel for farm equipment and fertilizer for crops are significant costs in agriculture. Using biodiesel and fertilizer by-products produced from a combination of sources of raw oil (waste cooking oil along with reliable, low cost fuel crops like White Mustard) could significantly reduce these costs.
Action 2. Work to reestablish funding to the Multnomah County Extension Service.
Action 3. Increase the viability of farmers’ markets, community gardens, community-supported agriculture farms and home-grown food through qualitative goals. Integrate these goals into all planning processes.
Action 4. Provide educational opportunities for residents that will enable them to grow fruit and vegetables at their place of residence and in cooperation with their neighbors.
This action relies heavily on developing a sense of community and bringing people together around food. An emphasis on the health and well-being of a community of people should be central to all educational efforts about producing food in one’s own neighborhood. Neighbors can work together and develop creative ways to use space/land perhaps by taking down fences. Growing one’s own food can take a lot of energy, which may be difficult for some people but relaxing to others. This is why neighbors helping neighbors is important. Neighborhood associations and their sustainability committees can facilitate this kind of networking.
· Create a special information campaign to educate people on converting their lawns to gardens (“Food Not Lawns”); depaving and remediation techniques and doing container and “earth box” gardening. Link to and support the “Vote with Your Fork” Campaign and Food Not Lawns.
Action 5. Encourage the use of public and private urban land and rooftops for growing food and remove obstacles to local food production.
Action 6. Create 1,300 new community garden plots.
This goal seems quite low. We prefer 1,300 new community gardens, not simply individual plots.
2030 Objective 13. Reduce consumption of carbon intensive foods.
· As stated, this objective lacks the commitment of specific, measurable targets/outcomes. Quantitative goals for a specific time period should be established. Reduce consumption by how much, by when?
· Define “carbon-intensive foods.” The definition should consider type of food (meat and dairy) as well as how the food was produced (whether from deforested land , organic or industrial techniques, chemicals and pesticides used, etc.), packaged, transported (local or not, how shipped, etc.) stored, and where the waste goes. Defining the carbon intensity of foods inevitably requires looking at the entire lifecycle of food. This means looking beyond the physical boundaries of the City/ County.
2012 Action 1. Create a public engagement campaign highlighting food choice as a key action to live a climate-friendly lifestyle.
· Develop a scorecard with a point system to help people make better food choices; (e.g., points for buying local, for buying food not produced with petroleum). Provide awards (sign for their yard, etc.) when they do. Use signage and icons at the point-of-purchase to help consumers make better food choices. Perhaps develop a Willamette Valley and/or Oregon label to distinguish foods that are grown/produced locally.
· Offer or facilitate the offering of cooking classes that teach people how to cook delicious and nutritious meals without meat.
· Develop something like a “200-Mile Diet Challenge” to emphasize the climate-friendliness of eating food produced in our local region. At the same time require or encourage food stores to identify where food products come from.
Action 2. Create City and County partnerships with healthcare, schools and other organizations to promote healthy, low-carbon diets.
ADD NEW 2030 OBJECTIVE XX. Ensure that all objectives and action steps in this Climate Action Plan be deliberately and carefully developed within the context of systems thinking (inputs and outputs) and use a lifecycle framework for analyzing the climate impacts of food.
Fourteen people attended the first session. Eleven attended the second session. In addition to the specific comments below, these themes emerged:
2030 Objective 14. Motivate all Multnomah County residents and businesses to change their behavior in ways that reduce carbon emissions.
2012 Action 1. In partnership with businesses, universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, non-profits, public agencies, neighborhood associations and faith-based, social and community organizations, launch a community-wide public engagement campaign to promote carbon emission reductions.
Action 2. Establish a business leadership council to catalyze the business community to create a prosperous low-carbon economy.
Action 3. Create a center to bring together academia, businesses and government to foster policy development, best practices and collaboration to address climate change.
Six people attended each session. In addition to the specific comments below, these themes emerged:
2012 Action 1. Prepare an assessment of climate-related vulnerabilities of local food, water and energy supplies, infrastructure and the public health system.
Action 2. Analyze the costs and benefits of addressing major vulnerabilities identified in the assessment and prioritize preparation actions.
Action 3. Adopt a climate change preparation plan assigning responsibility to appropriate bureaus or departments to address prioritized actions.
· Work with and include grassroots groups – not just city government bureaus and departments – to address prioritized actions. Use community groups as partners to identify vulnerabilities, conduct assessments, make recommendations and take needed actions.
In 2007, Portland City Council and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted resolutions directing staff to design a strategy to reduce local carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Achieving the 80 percent reduction goal is not something government can do alone: We need to work together with every citizen and every business to make the fundamental changes that will help us reach the 2050 goal.
The 2009 Climate Action Plan will serve as the 40-year roadmap for the institutional and individual change needed to reach our ambitious climate protection goals in the City of Portland and Multnomah County. This draft plan proposes objectives and actions that will help residents, businesses and government meet the 2050 goal
We encourage you to read the proposed plan and share your thoughts with us.
Draft Climate Action Plan 2009
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To be on track to reach the 2050 emissions reduction target, all buildings must consume 25 percent less energy than today. By 2030, many new and highly efficient buildings will have been built that will consume less than half the energy of today’s buildings. However, because over two-thirds of the buildings that will exist in 2030 are in place today, existing buildings must be retrofitted with energy-saving measures to achieve the necessary aggregate building effi ciency improvements.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Establish an investment fund with public and private capital to provide easy access to $10 million annually in low-cost fi nancing to residents and businesses for energy performance improvements.
Require energy performance ratings and consumption disclosure for all homes so that owners, tenants and prospective buyers can make informed decisions.
Require energy performance benchmarking for all commercial and multi-family buildings.
Provide resources and incentives to residents and businesses on energy-reduction actions on existing buildings.
Work with partner organizations to promote improved operation and maintenance practices in all commercial buildings.
Climate change is the defining challenge of the 21st century. The world’s leading scientists report that carbon emissions1 from human activities have begun to destabilize the Earth’s climate. Billions of people will experience these changes through threats to public health, national and local economies and supplies of food, water and power.
The challenge of climate change is more urgent than ever, but it is not new. Nor is our region’s response. For more than 15 years Portland has sought to reduce carbon emissions, starting with the City of Portland’s 1993 Carbon Dioxide Reduction Strategy and followed, eight years later, by the joint Multnomah County–City of Portland Local Action Plan on Global Warming. These plans launched ambitious carbon-reduction efforts, like public transit expansions and new green building policies, that promise to benefi t the region’s long-term economic, social and environmental prosperity. Th ese actions helped achieve impressive results, such as a reduction in local carbon emissions in 2007 that were one percent below 1990 levels, despite rapid population growth. At the same time, average emission levels throughout the United States increased 17 percent. Clearly Portland is bucking the trend and heading in the right direction. In addition, these efforts go far beyond reducing carbon emissions, and help us to:
Clean Up Local Air Pollution. When you cut carbon emissions, you also reduce air pollution – such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, benzene, and particulates. Less pollution means cleaner air and healthier families.
Create More Local Jobs. Th e past decade has proven that many of the technologies, products and services required for the shift to a low carbon future can be provided by Portland area companies. Dollars currently spent on fossil fuels will no longer leave our economy and will stay here to pay for home insulation, lighting retrofits, solar panels, bicycles, engineering, design and construction.
Rely Much Less on Imported Oil. Every action in this Plan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. As prices continue to increase in the long run and supplies become more uncertain, a reduced reliance on volatile, non-domestic oil supplies will diminish the risks faced by everyone.
Save Money. Using less energy, means lower energy bills for residents, business and government. While the early achievements of the Portland region are notable, the latest science suggests that dramatically more ambitious actions are required to mitigate the most extreme impacts of the changing climate. Cities across the United States and around the globe are assessing the impact of local emissions and creating action plans to address this urgent global issue.
In 2007, Portland City Council and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted resolutions directing staff to design a strategy to reduce local carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. Th is document responds to that directive. Th e 2009 Climate Action Plan will lead future eff orts by the City and County and provide an innovative framework for the region’s transition to a more prosperous, sustainable and climate- stable future. In doing so, it will strengthen local economies, create more jobs, improve health, and maintain the high quality of life for which this region is known.
CLIMATE ACTION PLAN VISION:
Each resident lives in a walkable and bikeable neighborhood that includes retail businesses, schools, parks and jobs.
Green-collar jobs are a key component of the thriving regional economy, with products and services related to clean energy, green building, sustainable food and waste reuse and recovery providing living-wage jobs throughout the community. Homes, offices and other buildings are durable and highly efficient, healthy, comfortable and powered primarily by solar, wind and other renewable resources.
Urban forest, green roofs and swales help cover the community, reducing the urban heat island effect, sequestering carbon, providing wildlife habitat and cleaning the air and water.
Food and agriculture are central to the economic and cultural vitality of the community, with productive backyard and community gardens and thriving farmers markets. A large share of food comes from farms in the region, and residents eat healthily, consuming more locally grown grains, vegetables and fruits.
The broad-scale coordination and planning required to achieve the 80-percent carbon reduction goal will demand that governments, businesses, civic organizations and residents collaborate extensively and take the lead in their own activities.
Fossil fuels are a finite and costly resource, as disruptive swings in oil and natural gas prices make clear. A “low-carbon” society — one markedly less reliant on fossil fuels — will be more stable, prosperous and healthy.
Reducing carbon emissions dramatically is a global challenge that local governments cannot solve alone. The federal government must make fundamental shifts in its energy policy and align its vast research and development resources with climate protection. Th e State of Oregon has an invaluable role to play in transportation investments, strengthening building codes, regulating utilities, managing forest lands, reducing waste and guiding local land use policies.
Local governments have an indispensible role to play as well; with their important roles both in developing the fundamental shape of the community, transportation systems and buildings and in helping individuals make informed choices about everyday business and personal choices.
Guided by this Climate Action Plan, Portland and Multnomah County will carry out policies and programs to minimize household, business and government emissions and prepare for the coming environmental and economic challenges. These efforts will help the entire community thrive now and in the future.
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Proposes an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.
Establishes objectives to achieve the interim goal.
Focuses principally on major actions to be taken in the next three years to shift Portland and Multnomah County’s emissions trajectory.
To draft this Climate Action Plan, City and County staff worked with a steering committee and working groups to identify the objectives and actions most likely to foster the long-term changes necessary to achieve such ambitious goals.
Key criteria in developing the actions were the magnitude of emissions reductions, the scale of economic and community benefi ts, and the ability of local governments to facilitate their implementation.
Portland and Multnomah County are committed to acting decisively to implement these actions and constantly evaluate progress–adapting and revising as necessary.
The City and County will:
Report on community carbon emissions annually.
Evaluate existing actions and identify new actions every three years.
Re-examine the objectives every ten years.
Here are some actions individuals can take right now:
Calculate your carbon footprint — visit www.b-e-f.org/calc
Get free help with what your business can do — visit www.bestbusinesscenter.org or call (503) 823-3919.
Contact the Energy Trust of Oregon at www.energytrust.org or (866) ENTRUST
(968-7878) for a free home energy review.
Discover how driving doesn’t have to be your only option —
Contact your utilities to sign up for clean energy.
Portland General Electric —
or (800) 542-8818
PacifiCorp — www.pacificpower.net
or (888) 221-7070
NW Natural — www.nwnatural.com
or (800) 422-4012
Learn about energy-efficiency and green building for your next home project visit www.buildgreen411.com or call (503) 823-5431.
Reduce stuff. Contact the Metro Recycling
Information hotline at (503) 234-3000 to learn how to reduce the amount of garbage you generate.
Count the number of times you eat red meat in a week; replace 20 percent of your red meat consumption with other food.
Ask a friend what she or he is doing to address climate change.
A VISION FOR 2050
An 80 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050 will entail re-imagining the entire community — transitioning away from fossil fuels and strengthening the local economy while shifting fundamental patterns of urban form, transportation, buildings and consumption. Important details remain to be sorted out, but in planning for climate protection the City and County are guided by the following vision:
In 2050, Portland and Multnomah County are at the heart of a vibrant region with a thriving economy and rich cultural community.
Personal mobility and access to services has never been better. Every resident lives in a walkable and bikeable neighborhood that includes retail businesses, schools, parks and jobs. Most people rely on walking, bicycling and transit rather than driving. Pedestrians and bicyclists are prominent in the region’s commercial centers, corridors and neighborhoods. Public transportation, bikeways and sidewalks connect neighborhoods. When people do need to drive, vehicles are highly efficient and run on low-carbon electricity and sustainable biofuels.
Green jobs are a key component of the regional economy, with products and services related to clean energy, green building, sustainable food, green infrastructure and waste reuse and recovery providing living-wage jobs throughout the community.
Homes, offi ces and other buildings deliver superb performance. Th ey are durable and highly effi cient, healthy, comfortable and powered primarily by solar, wind and other renewable resources. Th e urban forest and green roofs cover the community, reducing the urban heat island eff ect, sequestering carbon and cleaning the air and water.
Food and agriculture are central to the economic and cultural vitality of the community, with backyard gardens, farmers’ markets and community gardens productive and thriving. A large share of food comes from farms in the region, and residents eat healthily, consuming more locally grown grains, vegetables and fruits.
Residents and businesses use resources extremely efficiently, minimizing and reusing solid waste, water, stormwater and energy.
The Portland region has prepared for a changed climate, having made infrastructure more resilient, developed reliable supplies of water, food and energy and improved public health services
Th e optimal time to begin addressing building efficiency is in the initial building design stage. Buildings that have been designed and built with performance as a primary goal are capable of significantly outperforming similar, previously built buildings that have been retrofitted for efficiency. Because total emissions from buildings must be reduced by much more than can be accomplished with retrofi ts alone, it is critical that buildings built after 2030 generate more energy from clean sources than they consume, resulting in a net emissions reduction.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Adopt green building incentives for high performance new construction.
Participate actively in the process to revise the Oregon building code to codify the performance targets of Architecture 2030.
Accelerate existing efforts to provide green building design assistance, education and technical resources to residents, developers, designers and builders.
2030 OBJECTIVE 3. - Produce 10 percent of the total energy used within Multnomah County from on-site renewable sources and clean district energy systems.
Current projections anticipate that the population of Multnomah County will increase by more than 30 percent by 2030, with a corresponding increase in demand for energy. State law requires that by 2025, 25 percent of all electricity sold in Oregon be generated from clean renewable sources. Some of these sources will take the form of utility-scale wind farms or solar facilities located far from population centers. District- and neighborhood scale energy systems, as well as on-site renewables and distributed generation sources, also provide opportunities for efficiency gains by reducing transmission losses.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Make the investment fund referenced in Objective 1, available to fi nance distributed generation and district energy systems.
Establish at least one district heating and cooling system.
Facilitate the installation of at least five megawatts of on-site renewable energy, such as solar energy.
Despite thoughtful land-use planning and quality transportation options, residents of Multnomah County are more dependent on automobiles than are the residents of more compact cities on the East Coast and in much of the rest of the world. A critical and basic step to reduce automobile dependence is to ensure that residents live in “20-minute neighborhoods,” meaning that they can comfortably fulfill their daily needs within a 20-minute walk or bike ride from home.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Accommodate all population and business growth within the existing Urban Growth Boundary.
For each type of urban neighborhood, identify the land use planning changes, infrastructure investments, including public/private partnerships that are needed to achieve a highly walkable neighborhood and develop an implementation action plan.
Require evaluations of planning scenarios and individual land use decisions to include estimates of carbon emissions.
Adopt a schedule of funding for public investments to make neighborhoods highly walkable. Coordinate complimentary land use developments.
Complete the Streetcar Master Plan and fund the next eight miles of streetcar lines.
Currently, the per capita daily passenger vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) in the Portland region are about eight percent above 1990 levels. (Figure 9). To be on target for the 2050 goals, per capita daily passenger VMT must decline by about 30 percent from today's by 2030. This reduction must occur in addition to vehicle fuel efficiency improvements and the development of cleaner fuels. Reducing per capita VMT while maintaining the mobility of, and access to services for, Portland and Multnomah County residents will require significant growth in walking, bicycling and transit (Figures 10 and 11).
The current Transportation System Plan projects that drive-alone trips will decrease from 62 percent in 1994 to 57 percent in 2020 (Figure 12). To achieve the 2030 objective, VMT reductions will need to accelerate dramatically from the current trajectory. The benefits of this shift will do more than protect the climate: because the average Portland household spends about 20 percent of household income on transportation, reductions in VMT can significantly increase disposable income.
4 See, for example, “The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring the True Affordability of a Housing Choice.” Center for Transit Oriented Development and Center for Neighborhood Technology, January 2006.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Update the Transportation System Plan to incorporate mode share goals that will result in a 50 percent reduction in transportation related emissions by 2030.
Together with Metro and TriMet, develop a joint funding schedule for infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks and improved access to destinations beyond a reasonable walking distance.
Allocate transportation expenditures among maintenance and infrastructure projects to improve the target mode shares.
Identify the steps necessary to create a world class bicycle system throughout Portland and Multnomah County.
Fund the first tier of improvements identified in the City of Portland Bicycle Master Plan and adopt a schedule of funding to address subsequent improvements.
Expand the Smart Trips program to a county-wide eff ort to reach each resident at least once every five years.
Invest in advanced telecommunications infrastructure to enable widespread e-commerce and telecommuting.
Implement appropriate pricing mechanisms on driving such as congestion pricing, tolls and parking pricing and direct these funds to infrastructure for non-automobile transportation modes and programs to promote their use.
Protect existing intermodal freight facilities.
Current federal standards require that the average fuel economy of new cars must be 35 miles per gallon by 2020. As of April 2009, the EPA is reviewing a request to allow California to impose more stringent carbon emissions standards for all new vehicles sold within that state. Oregon may adopt California’s proposed standards, which would eff ectively increase the fuel economy of cars sold in Oregon to 39 mpg by 2020. Whatever standards Oregon adopts, the City and County must pursue additional policies and programs to improve fuel effi ciency.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Support implementation of state tailpipe emission standards that are more aggressive than federal standards.
Provide educational opportunities to residents and businesses to drive the most efficient vehicle that meets their needs.
Portland’s 2007 requirement that all fuel sold in the city contain minimum amounts of biofuels has already been a success. Biofuels have become widely accepted in Portland and Multnomah County, and manufacturers are beginning to design engines to accept higher blends of biofuels. Additional fuel-related emissions reductions will be possible as a new generation of more sustainable alternative transportation fuels ( e.g., cellulosic ethanol and electricity) becomes commercially available.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Implement the second phase of the City’s renewable fuels standard to require that diesel fuel sold in Portland include at least 10 percent biodiesel, half of which must be made from sources that can be produced in Oregon.
Accelerate the transition to plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles by supporting the installation of a network of electric car charging stations.
Portland’s recycling rate is among the highest in the U.S., reaching 64 percent in 2007, almost twice the national average of 33 percent. Total solid waste generated, however, refers to both the amount of materials sent to landfi lls and the amount of materials recovered (i.e., recycled, composted, converted to energy or otherwise put to a use other than the original intended purpose). At the current growth rate for solid waste generation, the Portland area in 2030 will generate over one and a half times the amount of waste it generates today (Figure 13). Given expected population growth, a 25 percent reduction in total waste from current levels means that, on a per capita basis, residents and businesses must generate about half the waste in 2030 that they do today.
The Portland Recycles Plan, adopted by Portland City Council in 2007, establishes an objective of reducing per capita waste generation to 2005 levels by 2015. Th is objective is consistent with the statewide goal of limiting per capita waste generation to 2005 levels and limiting total waste generation to 2009 levels.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Encourage businesses and residents to purchase new and reused goods with minimal packaging that are durable, repairable and reusable.
Participate actively in the process to develop state and federal product stewardship legislation.
As noted above, in 2007, 64 percent of all waste generated in Portland was diverted from landfill disposal. Given available technology, only nine percent of the total amount of waste generated cannot readily be recycled. This means more than 90 percent can be recovered. Portland has established a city-wide objective of recovering 75 percent of all waste by 2015. In 2008 it adopted a detailed plan to help businesses comply with that requirement.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Complete the implementation of mandatory commercial food waste collection in Portland and begin collection of residential food waste.
Assist 1,000 businesses per year to improve compliance with Portland’s requirement of paper, metal and glass recycling.
Together with Metro create a regional hierarchy of materials disposal to guide decisions on technologies such as commercial composting, digesters, plasmafication and waste-to-energy systems.
Regulate solid waste collection for unincorporated Multnomah County.
Provide technical assistance to contractors and construction firms to meet Portland’s new requirement to recycle 75 percent of construction and demolition debris.
2030 OBJECTIVE 10 - Maximize the efficiency of the waste collection system.
As of 2007, haulers in Portland are required to use at least 20 percent biodiesel in trucks used to collect waste in Portland. Waste collection-related carbon emissions can be further reduced by reducing the miles driven by garbage and recycling trucks and by utilizing even cleaner transportation fuels.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Provide weekly curbside collection of food waste, other compostable materials and recycling. Shift residential garbage collection to every other week.
Currently, the Portland urban forest covers 26 percent of Portland and removes 88,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year, equal to about one percent of all local carbon emissions. If local emissions are successfully reduced by 80 percent by 2050, this amount of sequestration would equal fi ve percent of local emissions. Should the urban forest’s capacity to sequester carbon dioxide be compromised, Portland will have to reduce emissions beyond the 80 percent goal to compensate.
The City of Portland’s “Grey to Green” initiative, which calls for planting an additional 50,000 street
trees and 33,000 yard trees over the next five years, is an example of the kinds of programs and actions that must be implemented to achieve this objective.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Expand public and private programs to encourage planting and preserving trees.
Acquire, restore and protect open spaces to promote functional forest ecosystems with high potential to sequester carbon dioxide.
Develop and implement an outreach campaign to provide educational resources to residents about the benefi ts of trees, tree care and tree regulation.
Recognize trees as a capital asset to City and County infrastructure.
A county-wide urban food and agriculture initiative promotes a long-term vision of a city and county that can grow a signifi cant portion of its food.
A community-based, local food system can reshape the community’s relationship to food and provide substantial environmental, economic, social and health benefits. A public-private initiative can significantly increase the amount of home-grown food and reduce the carbon intensity of the food chain.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Establish joint City-County institutional capacity to support the development of a strong local food system. Provide policy direction and resources to significantly increase the percentage of home-grown and locally sourced food.
Work to reestablish funding to the Multnomah County Extension Service.
Increase the viability of farmers’ markets, community gardens, community-supported agriculture farms and home-grown food through qualitative goals. Integrate these goals into all planning processes.
Provide educational opportunities for residents that will enable them to grow fruit and vegetables at their place of residence and in cooperation with their neighbors.
Encourage the use of public and private urban land and rooftops for growing food and remove obstacles to local food production.
Create 1,300 new community garden plots.
From a carbon perspective, not all food is created equal. As shown in Figure 16, consumption of red meat (beef and pork), for example, results in more than twice the carbon emissions, on a per-calorie basis, of dairy products, almost three times that of chicken, fi sh, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and almost eight times the emissions of cereals and carbohydrates. Red meat production is significantly more carbon intensive than other foods because:
the digestive process of cattle produces large amounts of methane gas and
over 30 calories of inputs are often needed to produce one calorie of beef.6 If the average household were to shift the calories of one day’s meat and dairy consumption per week to grains and vegetables, the resulting carbon emissions reductions would be equivalent to driving approximately 10 percent less per year.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Create a public engagement campaign highlighting food choice as a key action to live a climate-friendly lifestyle.
Create City and County partnerships with healthcare, schools and other organizations to promote healthy, low-carbon diets.
A successful community engagement campaign must tie together existing eff orts, develop new initiatives and forge a partnership between government and the community.
Reaching this objective requires cooperation among governments, neighborhoods, schools, non-profit organizations, faith communities, businesses, civic organizations and individual community members.
Actions to be completed before 2012
In partnership with businesses, universities, non-profits and public agencies, launch a community-wide public engagement campaign to promote carbon emission reductions.
Establish a business leadership council to catalyze the business community to create a prosperous low-carbon economy.
Create a center to bring together academia, business and government to foster policy development, best practices and collaboration to address climate change.
Climate change is already affecting Portland and Multnomah County. To adapt, the region must understand and prepare for change. Th is work has already begun. In 2002, for example, the Portland Water Bureau analyzed potential impacts of climate change on supply and demand for potable water. At a regional level, the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and University of Washington Climate Impacts Group are leaders in advanced scientifi c research on likely climate change impacts.
A comprehensive review of likely impacts in the Portland area has not yet been undertaken, however. Because of the long lead time necessary for some of the adaptive actions that may be required, it is key that this review and resulting recommendations take place soon.
Impact areas such as infrastructure, energy, economy, transportation, water, food, stormwater management, social and health services, public safety, environment and biodiversity, population migrations and emergency preparedness.
Planning arenas that the City or County manages or for which they set policy.
Co-benefits of preparation efforts.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Prepare an assessment of climate-related vulnerabilities in local food, water and energy supplies, infrastructure and the public health system.
Analyze the costs and benefits of addressing major vulnerabilities identifi ed in this assessment and prioritize preparation actions.
Adopt a climate change preparation plan assigning responsibility to appropriate bureaus or departments to address prioritized actions.
Th e City and County own and operate hundreds of buildings, thousands of streetlights and traffi c signals and several large-scale industrial plants. As public entities, the City and County can invest in capital projects with relatively long payback periods and, like all businesses, need to examine every facet of operations for emission reduction opportunities.
Actions to be completed before 2012
Issue capital improvement bonds or identify other funding sources to fi nance energy-efficiency upgrades in City and County facilities.
Require that all new City and County buildings achieve Architecture 2030 performance targets.
Convert street lighting, water pumping, water treatment and other energy-intensive operations to more efficient technologies.
Adopt and implement green building policies that include third-party certifi cation of energy, water and waste conservation strategies.
Purchase or generate 100 percent of all electricity required for City and County operations from renewable sources, with at least 15 percent from on-site or district renewable energy sources such as solar and biogas.
Require that local government fl eets, regulated fl eets (e.g., taxis and waste/recycling haulers) and the fl eets of local government contractors meet minimum fl eet fuel efficiency standards and use low-carbon fuels.
Buy electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for City and County fl eets as they become commercially available.
Recover 85 percent of all waste generated in City and County operations.
In City and County purchasing decisions, consider carbon emissions from the production, transportation, use and disposal of goods as a criterion.
The Transition Initiative in Portland invites you to meet with us to begin planning and organizing an effort to build community resilience in the face of climate change, rising energy costs and economic decline. Building on work started by many organizations, we will put into action energy descent planning around a variety of aspects; neighborhood organizing; coalition building with partner groups; and a holistic vision of how we can cope with major changes in our lives. In the process we will create stronger communities and more satisfying lives based on sharing and cooperation.
You’re welcome to come whether you are already committed or just curious about the possibilities. If you’re working with a neighborhood or a group with a related mission, we invite you to come and explore how different groups and communities can network and link together in a shared effort to build a lower-carbon future. Also, we urge you to circulate this notice to your group and anyone else you think should be there.
What we choose to focus on is up to you. The Open Space format enables the people who come to create the agenda. Anyone can suggest a topic to discuss on Saturday based on the theme of creating resilience. If people choose to show up and discuss that topic, and to create an action team, it will become a part of the overall project. Some examples of projects that have emerged in other Transition Towns are
Later Saturday you will have a chance to sign on for any projects you have energy for and begin work toward crafting and implementing Energy Descent Action Plans. There will also be an opportunity to connect with others from your neighborhood.
We are very excited about moving toward a more cooperative and joyful future. The knowledge of what to do already exists; it’s just scattered throughout the community. This is the beginning of our tapping and integrating that knowledge, making it available to everyone, and putting it to work in a plan for resilient communities.
So please pass this on to anyone you think should be there. There’s a lot needing to be done to create a resilient future in our region for ourselves and our children. Please join us and help shape that future.
And thanks to our cosponsors:
Collin - Introduce Community Exchange Network
South African birth – now a global platform
Actually is a system for Tracking IOUs, a LET System for tracking mutual services, a Demand system, a zero-sum game.
The system is based on reputation, trust.
Mutual credit clearing is an entirely new model – not based on scarcity.
Mike: But money is not, in fact, scarce.
Collin: Right. Banks create scarcity because debt in the system (with interest) creates scarcity. In this system with no interest, repayment can be in services.
Kate: How is it used in practice?
A: Daily transactions can be indirect exchanges. Citywide or neighborhood – either base.
Bob: Is other money required – e.g., dollars – to make it work?
A: Yes, Aggregate.
Bob: Could the present system be transformed with dollars [and avoid using alternate currency]?
A: That has been tried. Our system would eliminate the people who make money off
debt. In this system the government can’t create inflation.
I suggest we read Thomas Grecco’s The End of Money, Future of Civilization. This won’t solve all issues, but many.
Kate: two questions:
1. How is true value of a contribution determined?
2. How is trust established in a large community like Portland?
A: Now in PDX the Green Kurrant is tied to the dollar 1:1. Letting it go is under
Collin: What ecological system is needed to support and benefit from CEN?
Could form a group.
Bob: Question of keeping up with changes in the dollar’s value.
Michael: [Long answer about] Long Term Hedging.
John: Tying the Kurrant to the dollar – what’s the difference?
A: the model.
John: Functionally – how does it add value?
A: It’s really an educational piece [at this point] – helping people understand money.
Michael: Stop thinking about it like money and start thinking of it as expenditure of
energy. The system as a whole zeroes itself out as a flow of energy. Payback creates work and value in the local community.
Also CEN is proposing a non-profit fundraising model – selling Green Kurrants for
dollars – and association with the Center for the Development of Social Finance..
Q: Where can it be used now?
A: Consumer to consumer only. We are approaching Saturday Market and New Seasons. Collin will be the administrator and keep accounts honest.
LOGISTICS: NEXT STEPS
What: outreach, making art and music
Where: Skidmore Fountain
Who: artists, musicians/homeless
When: Saturday or Wednesday
Why: Create relations with new groups,
invite to Transition.
This group originally had two conveners (Leslee and Liz) and Kathleen’s group joined us shortly. Each convener explained her concept.
TPDX Open Space
September 26, 2009
Liberating Structures TPDX Discussion
Processes and methods using minimum structures to liberate maximum innovation
Conveners: Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz
Meg Bowman “transilience”
Will Newman II
How did your answers change from one round to the next?
Did anything surprising or interesting happen?
Did any small thing make a big difference for you?
Has your sense of what can happen for you and for us at this event shifted?
The focus of my answers got tighter – I could express my answers better.
I learned from listening to what my pair partner hoped for and that influenced my thinking.
Some people like process and some people like content.
We need to define terms, be clear about what we mean. Some of these conversations are the same as we had 8 months ago.
* What is resilience?
Everybody had a strong urge to keep talking to each other and continue the conversation.
Successful experience – lots of energy!
i. A tells B’s story to group
ii. B tells A’s story to group
iii. Repeat until all stories are told.
Common patters from appreciative interview stories:
Question for the rest of the day: How do these stories suggest how we can all pull together to create a resilient Portland?
o How do we collaborate, honor?
o At least minimize calendar?
o How necessary is this? CNRG is close
o Build relationships first. Need to know people and their needs.
o Assessment of needs and resources of people/NA
o Getting to know you
o What if documented and given to other groups?
o All groups involved need to [be] energized by the frame.
o Connecting with people
o Role needs to be defined
o 15% of population even recognized need for transition
o Does transition provide any additional momentum
o Also who has a chainsaw, etc. – privacy issues came up, source of H2O
o How do you live?
o Age 30’s, working folks, too busy to engage
o But also more aware and living differently
- Food Security
- In context of Water
o (Mortgages, credit cards, food import/export, energy)
o Including community – bring whole community along
o Meaningful work
o Transition is avoiding emergency
o Linking to resources à clearinghouse at neighborhood level
o Clarity of “transition” mission
o “We” – strategic planning – organizational structure to carry forward
o What is the scale?
o What is the frame? – added value? Role? (educator, convener, etc.)
o How to connect with existing organizations (issues) and neighborhoods (geography)
§ Focus on relationships
o Do we create assessments, action plans, and community handbooks?
o Who are they/”we”?
o Is this a coalition structure?
o Transition’s size and success depends on what they/we choose to do.
o Most people don’t know why transition is needed
§ Working against media/propaganda
§ Where will emergency will happen first
· Many people are left behind
· Energy literacy
One Principle: Resource Generation
Question: How do we spread the idea, introduce this to business?
Need a Business Model to Identify Resources to utilize/generate
i. How can we change?
ii. How many of each kind do we need?
iii. How can we decide?
i. A product
ii. A resource
Is it a false assumption that we can assess what is Sustainable?
We may need to allow for a few that are not sustainable but are essential – e.g., computers
Choosing what to preserve from destructive industries
Can’t destroy what we have without a design
Carrying capacity – Population Growth is greatest world threat, and question is:
How to avoid massive die-off
Compare with life in the Middle Ages – e.g., communications
Stimulating Response – Response limited to early adopters
How do we move businesses into the Sustainability model?
Back to Collaboration –
The business of business should be values – no longer profits in money
- Eliminate Toxic ad inappropriate government subsidies for old industries and corporate farms – NOT LOCAL
· MONDRAGON EXAMPLE: Industry Cooperatives create a fund to support new businesses, cooperatives.
· Finance: created a bank to advance their kind of enterprise
· Expanding around the world – e.g., China, Brazil, etc.
· YES Magazine article
So: How do we support local businesses in this environment?
Suggestion: LEARN FROM SUCCESS – Mondragon, Italian Coops
Neighborhood Business Associations – Alliance of NBAs
Explain how we can help them stay in business
PURPOSE FOR THIS GROUP:
Remember the slogan of entrepreneur: WIIFM means What’s In It For Me?
- NEXT STEP: ASSESS WHAT’S OUT THERE AND MAP WHAT’S AVAILABLE
- HUB Meeting October 14th to talk with groups.
The Portland Plan is a long-range plan to make Portland a thriving and sustainable city – a city that is prosperous, healthy and rich in opportunity for all. Through it, Portlanders can help define community priorities, guide investments and set the course for the city and partner agencies for the next 25 years. The Portland Plan is built on a foundation of equity.
See below for the full and summary text of the proposed draft for the PDX Plan, here is a Google Spreadsheet of the Objectives and Actions.
Read the plan and comment by December 28th. Learn more about how to comment...
Full-length Plan (44MB)This is the complete version of the Portland Plan ? Proposed Draft, which includes more than 100 actions to achieve multiple objectives.
This summary of the draft plan is an abbreviated version of the complete plan.
We hope you will join us for the first day of two marking the first Portland Transition Convergence. This day is about re-imagining Transition in Portland. We’ll dream our dreams anew, collaborate on a shared direction and focus, and create effective actions based on where people’s energy is – all in a context of expansion, excitement, joy and purpose.
We’ll begin in a lighthearted way by creating some excitement and forward thinking about the world we want to create. We’ll look at the assets, resources and experiences that TPDX has created in our first two-plus years. Then we’ll fashion an inventory of what needs and opportunities we have, along with specific projects and actions people want to see happen.
Finally, we’ll winnow our list and gather groups together based on what people want to work on (if anything - it will be fine to say none, or none for right now, and just listen). Included will be an opportunity for people to get together who want to focus on their neighborhoods. These groups will share their enthusiasm, ideas, skills, resources, and contact information, and plan to get together before Day Two (see below).
Please be there so that your dreams and ideas can help shape our direction. Come at 9:00 for registration, coffee, tea and edibles; we begin at 9:30.
Day One will be followed on Saturday, March 19 by Day Two, a day of re-structuring when we will organize to attain the goals we set. We’ll consider our mission and the principles that we want to be guiding us. We will look at some different models for a steering group and related structure – including any new ideas from those present. We’ll select one – or combine and adapt some – and based on that we’ll select a new steering group. Then we’ll celebrate!
Many people have asked how it went. I love it. And the answer is: it was magnificent. We had a party Friday night. We meant to invite everyone on the list, butapparently not everyone received clear invitations. Sorry about that. But the proof was in the pudding. We ate and drank and played with no purpose. We just got to move toward friendship. We think that should become a permanent part of our program as we move forward.
As a result, we were feeling like friends when we started on Saturday. We spent the whole day – and there were 45 of us by the time we closed – looking at our past, imagining ideas for our future, and forming teams that could accomplish some of them. The first half of the day was inspiring, the 3rd quarter (early afternoon) was difficult - so many ideas, so little time – and the last hour and a half were energizing, for we finished with 7 or 8 teams that are determined to accomplish miracles. Or at least progress. It was a good feeling, and if you weren’t there, you missed a breakthrough day.
That’s not the end, of course. Saturday was the first half of a major process to re-imagine our whole organization’s direction, projects, purpose and form. The atmosphere throughout the day, except for that hour or so when we did some of the hard work that was needed to punch into a breakthrough, was positive and energetic, and we enjoyed a feeling of community all day long.
We began with the preliminaries, first a short, uplifting welcome that focused on appreciating the crisis the world –and therefore our city and region – is in and the historical importance of creating Transition as this empire comes into its closing phase. And second, we watched two short but spirited films (to see them, Google The Wombat and 300 Years in 300 Minutes) and held short, one-on-one conversations about our personal reactions to them and visioning the world we want to create.
In the first real phase of work the whole assembly contributed to an appreciation of the accomplishments and assets created by Transition PDX to date – including among others the public education efforts; support from St. Francis Church; the study groups; the foundation of Heart and Soul and other theme and action groups; public policy initiatives including the City-County Climate Action Plan and the Multnomah Food Initiative; the founding of the first neighborhood Transition initiatives in Sunnyside, Woodstock, SW Portland, and others; and most of all the wonderful people we’ve attracted and the bonds of community we’ve formed. We began to see for ourselves that these have been years of accomplishments, despite what always seems like the slow pace of things.
This acknowledgement of how far we’ve come in two and a half years opened up our imaginations in the second stage, which was really fun. We broke into groups to talk about our potential expansion and initiatives. By lunch time, when we came back together to see what all the groups had done, we had created a wall full of new ideas for programs, projects and expansion. (See photo) The prospect was exciting but totally confusing.
After lunch, although the Planning Team had grouped the into results clusters of related ideas and eliminated the duplicates, we still lived in the confusion for a short time as people grappled with the necessity for choice and the problem of picking out the important ideas. We voted with colored dots. That let us know which ideas appealed to more people. Finally we invited individuals who had an interest in one idea to stand up and take responsibility for convening a group to pursue that idea. That broke the stalemate: groups gathered, talked over the ideas under their categories, compared each others’ talents and interests, shared their contact information, and made plans to meet again to get started. For those whose interests encompassed more than one area, there was opportunity to float from group to group and become a part of more than one. In less than an hour we went from feeling overwhelmed by all the options to a release of energy that was refreshing and inspiring. This was what we had come for, and we had achieved it.
The closing was simple and eloquent, honoring everyone in the circle, and deeply moving as each person expressed what we hope to do and be through Transition. Afterwards, it was suggested that we should do this every year, so we can see where we have come and re-set where we want to go.
One remarkable result of the day was the increased sophistication of the program suggestions from past convocations of Transition PDX. Saturday’s results were immediately translatable into activities, and they represented an expanded range of new interests – from food security to publicity, and from the local economy to planning.
The 45 people who joined in this day-long journey ranged from longer-term members who had been to many meetings, taken the 2-day Training for Transition, and started neighborhood and study groups, to newcomers for whom this was the first experience of Transition. They ranged in age from 75 down to a six-month old, and included a few representatives of groups with compatible goals who came to support and to suggest and add to our range of concerns.
The planning team for this event had begun thinking about the meeting in December after three resignations from the Hub had reduced it to three members, an impossible situation. Soon after, a group of 15 had responded to the invitation and met to help plan and begin formulating the goals and the design for the 2011 Convergence. One of the best characteristics of that group was the range of ages and experience with Transition that was represented; another was the goodwill and spirit of teamwork with which it conducted its business. We started by setting the intention of the Convergence: “To create a context of expansion, excitement, joy and purpose, and an organizational form that liberates the energy of Transition.” This first day of the Convergence, we decided, should focus on our dreams, ideas and projects. Then on a second day we would formulate a set of principles and communications patterns, and we would use those principles to decide on a scheme for coordinating the whole movement that would fit our creation during this inspiring Day One, and finally we would choose a new coordinating body.
Shortly after last Saturday, the Planning Team set to work on designing Day Two of the Convergence, which will be held Saturday, March 26, and you are invited. Mark your calendar now. Meanwhile, the groups that formed during Day One will meet and each should plan to send at least one of its number to represent them at Day Two so that they can report on progress and become officially recognized as Transition PDX groups. This second day will be as productive and inspirational as the first as we continue re-imagining our journey forward. We are really excited at the prospect.
Transition PDX 2011 Convergence:
Brainstorming Actions, Plans and Support Activities
February 26, 2011
**New group, *Existing group or function
ACTING (Projects, Initiatives & Actions for Transition to Resiliency)
Coming Together to Transform Transition PDX
“Liberating the Energy of Transition”
As of the end of Day 1 we had expanded to 7 Working Groups: Food, Local Business & Finance, Neighborhood Organizing, Publicity/Communications, Policy & Planning, and the preexisting groups Heart & Soul and Community Preparedness. In each one a convener had volunteered to hold a first meeting to discuss their plans and select a representative to Day 2, who could report on their activities so far.
At Day 2, after reporting on their work to date and our discussion of the CG formation process, the groups were asked to hold another meeting, which they would announce on the Updates list so that all TPDXers have the option to participate. At that next meeting, to be held before the General Meeting on April 20, each group will select a representative to the new CG. The representatives of each group will be welcomed into the CG at that General Meeting, and they will then start a process to set the date for their first CG meeting.
One aspect of the new organization was left open: the administrative team – both its job and its make-up. At the Convergence we agreed in principle that the admin team will make proposals to the CG and if it approves, the CG will either carry out the proposal or delegate action to the admin team or to another group. In turn the CG will also give direction to the admin team and be the adopting body for Transition-wide plans, strategies and priorities. Our purpose was to encourage a balance between administrative and planning activities.
Proposed Range of CG Responsibilities
Our discussion of the work and structure of this CG was preceded by a discussion of what we want it to do – its responsibilities, duties, and scope of action. We wanted to give it legitimacy on behalf of the whole organization to exert leadership and make long-term plans for growth and programs – as well as coordinate activities throughout the whole network. The team that had designed the Convergence had looked into about 100 other Transition Initiatives in preparation for this discussion. The team presented the following proposed list of responsibilities, drawn from those approaches used by other Transition Initiatives that seemed appropriate to TPDX:
We broke into small groups to discuss these suggested duties. The small group discussions added some important ideas and advice to the new CG.
One group also recommended that the new CG consider holding retreats for process training and call in an outside facilitator who might be helpful for some tasks. This group also cautioned that the CG should work with the purpose of getting results, not just supporting activities. It was also noted that conditions will change and we must be flexible in our ability to change to meet new developments. What we are establishing today, they noted, is only for today, especially for the first stage of the CG until changed, and may need to be amended in future.
We anticipate that the CG will face a tension between on the one hand simply giving support for requests from local and working groups and on the other hand providing leadership – choosing strategies and prioritizing among alternative future programs. This balance will be worked out in actual practice as we move forward, and it may vary over time as the groups propose more or less activity and as the CG and admin team together develop plans and proposals. Our purpose on Day 2 was to set up goals and a tentative structure that would provide the opportunity for Transition PDX as a whole to grow and to engage a growing number of people in actions to increase the resilience of our communities. The future is an unknown. Accordingly we framed a structure and suggested responsibilities that we hope will inspire initiative and inventiveness in the framework of a unified movement toward community, resilience, and a joyful future for everyone.
Working Vision of the Central Group and the Working and Local Groups
This diagram, copied from the flip chart we created, represents the sense of the meeting. What it is meant to convey is that each working group, including Neighborhood Organizing (which represents the neighborhood groups) will be represented by a member on the CG. The group also recognized (1) that IT has a central function independent of the working groups and (2) that we need an administrative/planning group to support the work of the CG and also to propose initiatives, most importantly a strategy for the CG to follow so that development can occur in a planned way as well as spontaneously. So an administrative team will be formed by the CG. It is expected to include some members of the Policy and Planning Group and the IT people as well as officers or members named by the CG.
An Energy Descent Action Plan is a guide to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and reducing our carbon footprint over the next 20 years, during which we expect many changes associated with declining oil supplies and some of the impacts of climate change to become more apparent. In this EDAP we have built a picture of this future scenario based on visions of a better future. What we have tried in the process to invite the community to dream how the future could be, and to then work out the practical pathways by which we actually get there.
Here are two links about the EDAP in general
Regarding creating an EDAP in our area, here are some existing planing efforts of note
By Jeremy O'Leary and Liz Bryant
The draft Portland Plan, intended to guide the city's development to 2035, is in its final public comment stage.
Transition PDX -- a group committed to building resilient, sustainable and just communities that can adapt to challenging times -- recently held a series of discussions about the plan.
Despite its commendable emphasis on equity and its many innovative, aspirational goals for education, the local economy and neighborhoods, the plan falls short for us in the 99 percent in some fundamental ways.
Notably, the plan assumes economic growth.
But growth is far from guaranteed. In a recent city-sponsored talk, energy expert Richard Heinberg joined the National Intelligence Council, environmental economists and retired Wall Street and government insiders in predicting a future characterized by declining tax revenues, persistent high unemployment, falling household income, increased demand for social services, higher energy costs and continued financial system instability.
These are serious problems, brought into focus by Occupy Portland. To ignore them is perilous. In 2007, the city's own peak oil task force report described the potential for an oil shock and outlined various adverse economic effects in three economic scenarios. The plan should build on them.
Research shows that healthy, prosperous communities have narrow income disparities. Economic and environmental shocks will hit our poorest citizens hardest. The new Office of Equity needs to lead in narrowing disparities in income, housing, food and health care.
Although we commend the plan's emphasis on neighborhood hubs and its intent to make schools available for community use, it should go further: seismically safe school buildings could become community centers and mainstays of neighborhood resilience. They can become incubators for micro-enterprises and cooperatives, centers for learning forgotten skills, emergency food storage sites, meeting spaces and dance halls, community kitchens, health clinics and tool-lending libraries.
Other ways to enhance community resilience include food-buying clubs, rainwater catchment, and practical, small-scale approaches to emergency sanitation. These kinds of local solutions need to become widespread before an earthquake or serious economic or energy shock hits.
We offer several other recommendations:
The city should educate, encourage and help residents prepare for such emergencies.
The plan should emphasize developing local industries to substitute for imported products. Supporting Portland's small businesses is vital.
To support its emphasis on community participation, the plan should significantly broaden the list of potential partners (now mostly public agencies). The proposed physical changes in neighborhoods, for example, will need to engage neighborhood associations and other community organizations.
The plan should address significant needs in east Portland by increasing its few designated neighborhood hubs and envisioning major improvements to walking, biking and transit facilities -- not to mention housing and security.
Finally, achieving economic equity and many other plan goals could be undercut by dwindling tax revenues. Incorporating citizen initiatives and participation in designing and implementing programs could cut costs. The city could promote financing innovations ranging from a state bank to a local currency for buying local products, paying local taxes and engaging unemployed people in otherwise unaffordable projects.
Transition PDX hopes to see a Portland Plan that will facilitate all Portlanders working together to create a resilient, adaptable city. Written comments can help create this more comprehensive Portland Plan. Go to pdxplan.com before Dec. 28 to help build a future for all. Our children are depending on you.
Jeremy O'Leary and Liz Bryant live in Portland and are participants in Transition PDX. They wrote this in collaboration with other members.
Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact.
We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.
What we are convinced of is this:
This site, just like the transition model, is brought to you by people who are actively engaged in transition in a community. People who are learning by doing - and learning all the time. People who understand that we can't sit back and wait for someone else to do the work. People like you, perhaps... Final point Just to weave the climate change and peak oil situations together...
The above was taken from...
If you are interested in:
There are several ways to get and stay involved and informed:
There are several mailing lists for Transition PDX and our related groups.
Mailing lists for the whole community interested in the Transition Initiative:
Working Group mailing lists:
Neighborhood Group mailing lists:
Click on the above links if you are interested in joining the mailing list. Other Working and Neighborhood Groups have mailing lists that are privately maintained; see the TPDX Groups page for contacts. We make a point of having each of these groups check in at our monthly General Meeting on 3rd Wednesdays.
The mission of TransitionPDX is to inspire, to encourage, to network, to support and train the communities and neighborhoods of the Portland metro area as they consider, adopt, adapt and implement the transition model in order to establish Transition Initiatives.
We live in an oil-dependent world, and have got to this level of dependency in a very short space of time, using vast reserves of oil in the process – without planning for when the supply is not so plentiful. Most of us avoid thinking about what happens when oil runs out (or becomes prohibitively expensive), but The Transition Handbook shows how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome. These changes can lead to the rebirth of local communities, which will grow more of their own food, generate their own power, and build their own houses using local materials. They can also encourage the development of local currencies, to keep money in the local area.
The book has three sections, the Head, the Heart and the Hands. The Head explores the issues of peak oil and climate change, and how when looked at together, we need to be focusing on the rebuilding of resilience as well as cutting carbon emissions. It argues that the focus of our lives will become increasingly local and small scale as we come to terms with the real implications of the energy crisis we are heading into. The Heart looks at where we find the personal tools for responding to what can feel like overwhelming challenges. It argues that key to our success will be our ability to generate positive visions of future, to harness the power of engaged optimism, and overcome powerlessness. The Hands offers a detailed exploration of the Transition model, setting out its principles, its origins, the 12 Steps of Transition, how they were applied in the first year of Transition Town Totnes, as well as offering a taste of how the model has been applied in a range of other settings. The book also contains lots of ‘Tools for Transition’, exercises and activities that can help to deepen this work in your community.
There are now over 40 Transition Towns in the UK, with more joining as the idea takes off. With little proactivity at government level, communities are taking matters into their own hands and acting locally. If your town is not a Transition Town, this upbeat guide offers you the tools for starting the process. It is a process which is, as Richard Heinberg writes in his Foreword, “more like a party than a protest march”.