Over the years community organizing with BIPOC and frontline leadership has helped push Portland and Multnomah County to adopt bold, equity- and justice-focused climate planning and policies, including :

  • Climate Action Plan (City & County, 2015)
  • 100% Renewables Resolution (City & County, 2017)
  • Portland Clean Energy Fund (voter-approved measure 2018, adopted City policy)
  • Climate Emergency Declaration (City, 2020)

These were huge wins moving us towards a fossil-free world and climate justice! 

But getting the policy passed is often just the beginning. These policies have to be implemented, enforced, turned into real life progress, and safeguarded. Unfortunately, the bold commitments made in resolutions like the 100% Renewable Energy Resolution and the Climate Emergency Declaration can end up being words on paper that are not followed by resources and actions.

Once the spotlight is gone it can be easy for local leaders to stop paying attention, or worse, to start listening to groups like the Portland Business Alliance who will try to water down and hobble policies that they don’t like.

So we need to be vigilant and keep the spotlight on this important work. In short, we need to watchdog.

The City / County Watchdog team works to make sure we have local climate plans and policies that:

  • Follow climate justice principles
  • Engage and build trust with the community, esp. frontline communities
  • Are fully resourced (staff and money)
  • Have transparent, accountable metrics and processes
  • Are enforceable (have teeth)
  • Are ambitiously implemented (like the Portland Clean Energy Fund implementation process)
  • Are supported by local and state code/policy changes

2021 Goals

  1. In the year ahead, our team will continue advocating frontline community priorities and demanding action and resources on scale with the Climate Emergency that was declared. This includes monitoring the implementation of a new climate justice governance structure and pushing for full funding in next year’s budget cycle.
  2. We will share updates with the community and opportunities to engage so that we can all hold our local leaders accountable and ensure that we move toward climate justice.
  3. Update the team’s strategic plan with a stronger racial/social justice lens – work out how the team can act as a better co-conspirator to frontline communities

Favorite Tactics

  • Diving deep into the policies and plans
  • Reviewing and providing comments on draft resolutions and progress reports
  • Working in coalition with community partners
  • Meeting with city and county staff
  • Helping to mobilize the community to show up and testify at public hearings

Join the Team

Our small but steady group started in 2018 and is usually around 6-10 people. We’ve gone completely online since the pandemic started, and we’ve also been diving deep into anti-racism topics to reevaluate how our work can be rooted in justice

Fill in the volunteer form to get more involved in 350PDX.