2024 Oregon Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The Oregon legislative session wrapped up this past weekend, and we are celebrating that several climate justice bills passed! Over the past month, over 400 people in the 350PDX community sent messages to their legislators calling on them to prioritize climate justice during the session, and dozens more lobbied their legislators in person or submitted public testimony. These bills only passed because of support from the local climate justice movement — from people like you — contacting their legislators again and again.

Join us in thanking our legislators for passing climate justice bills, and calling on them to prioritize climate justice next year.

While we are disappointed that some bills didn’t pass, we would still like to thank our legislators for what they did pass this session — and to call on them to deepen their commitment to climate justice by listening to us, the people of Oregon, in all future decisions.

Wins from the legislative session:

The COAL Act (HB 4083) passed

The COAL Act tasks the Oregon State Treasury with divesting from coal within their fiduciary duty, protecting PERS members’ retirement funds.

Coal is a dying industry, a major contributor to climate change, and is harmful to public health, predominantly affecting low income communities and communities of color. Oregon started phasing out coal as a power source in 2016, and the COAL Act now pushes the Treasury to follow that phase-out plan by actually divesting from coal. This is only the third divestment-related bill in the country to pass a state legislature, so this is a big win that can serve as a precedent to help other states pass similar bills.

Healthy Homes Fully Funded in Housing Package

Housing justice is climate justice! We have concerns that some climate-friendly aspects of the housing package (particularly in the Housing Production Bill, SB 1537) were removed before it passed, and that the package still allows small one-time expansions of Urban Growth Boundaries.

However, we were glad to see some of the equity-focused and environmentally-friendly parts of this package pass, and the package is a significant step towards ensuring all Oregonians have a safe and affordable place to live.

We are particularly glad to see that the funding package provides $15 million to the Healthy Homes grant program, as part of SB 1530. The housing bills did not originally include any funding for Healthy Homes, but due to advocacy from groups like ours, it was included. The community pushed for the full $15 million — and won! The Healthy Homes program provides resources to low-income Oregonians to weatherize their home, such as to improve indoor air quality during wildfire season, all while lowering their energy bills.

The final Emergency Housing Stability & Production package also includes $65 million in funds for ongoing homeless shelter support, $34 million for homelessness prevention services delivered through programs such as Eviction Prevention Rapid Response, $25 million for the purchase and redevelopment of property into affordable housing in Portland’s Albina neighborhood, $3.5 million for air conditioners and air filters provided on an emergency basis to at-risk individuals, and more.

Marine Reserves (HB 4132) passed

This bill establishes funding to continue protections for marine reserves, which maintain ocean health and contribute to a more sustainable climate.

The Wildlife Package (HB 4148) – did not pass, but some aspects still funded

While the Wildlife Package did not pass, some aspects of the package relating to invasive species and diseases that attack wildlife received funding through budgeting decisions. Unfortunately, other aspects of the package did not receive funding, such as wildlife crossings and other conservation efforts.

Unfortunately, some bills did not pass this legislative session:

Some of the bills and budgeting decisions we supported did not receive funding or were not passed. Though we can try again next year, it is frustrating to see these necessary policies being delayed.

  • Climate Change Fund for Oregon Worker Relief did not receive funding this year, making it difficult for farm workers to take time off during extreme weather conditions
  • Climate Change Target Modernization (SB 1559) did not pass
  • SB 1593 Funding for Fire Safe Communities did not pass, leaving large gaps in funding for community wildfire preparedness. No bills that addressed funding for fire suppression or mitigation passed this session
  • The HB 4044 Toxic Plumes Study did not pass, although this may have been an oversight in final budgeting decisions. So we’re optimistic that HB 4044 may pass during the next legislative session. HB 4044 would authorize the Department of Environmental Quality to study risks related to toxic inhalation during an earthquake, providing essential information for determining the future of the Critical Energy Infrastructure hub in Portland.

Not every bill passed that we supported, but we achieved some important wins that we will continue to build on, throughout the year and into the next legislative session. Thank you for taking action! Together, we will continue to build on this momentum, and continue to demand climate justice action from our legislators year round.

Dineen O’Rourke (350PDX Campaign Manager), Brenna Bell (350PDX Forest Climate Manager), and Cherice Bock (350PDX Climate Policy Manager)