This week, we have an opportunity to ensure climate solutions, environmental justice, and sustainability are centered in Portland’s transition to a new governmental structure. We worked together to pass sweeping reforms to the City Charter through Measure 26-228 in 2022 for a more equitable, representative form of city government. Portland City Council has a hearing on Wednesday, 11/1, at 2pm, where the City’s Transition Team will bring important recommendations.

Here are ways you can take action:

Call for the City of Portland to create a Climate Officer role in the City Administrator’s Office and a natural resources plan

The City’s Transition Team and chief administrative officer have recommended a draft organizational structure for City employees, bureaus, and service areas to reflect the Charter reform mandates. We want to make sure the new structure prioritizes climate justice, so we are advocating for the City of Portland to create a Climate Officer position, as well as strong networks for collaboration between bureaus, agencies, and service areas working on climate, environmental justice, and sustainability goals.

PLEASE NOTE: Commissioners are discussing amendments; information that is known about the possible amendments is included in this talking points toolkit. Though amendments are not yet publicly available, Commissioner Mapps has signaled interest in working on a natural resources plan by next September, which we support. Commissioner Rubio has suggested she might make an amendment to move the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) from the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability to the City Administrator’s office — instead, we would like to see an additional position created (Climate Officer), since the CSO already has a lot to do.

1.  Send this letter to City Council, the Mayor, and transition teams advocating for a Climate Officer position and a natural resources plan.

2.  Share a public comment at a City Council hearing on Nov 1 at 2pm (virtual or in person). Draft a 1-minute comment using the talking points in this toolkit for inspiration. The toolkit will be updated as we receive more information. You can register for public comment here, virtually or in person, and submit written testimony here (item 926).

Help shape the Sustainability & Climate Commission (SCC):

Sign up to attend a Sustainability & Climate Commission Community Conversation this Wednesday, November 1, from 12-1pm, and 6-7pm. You can attend virtually or in person.

Fill out this survey from the City to share what you would like to see in a Sustainability & Climate Commission.

Thank you for ensuring Portland’s new structure will focus on addressing climate change, environmental concerns, and equity.

Cherice Bock,
Policy Manager, 350PDX