The Climate Crisis

Climate change is no longer an abstraction. In just the past five years Multnomah County has experienced massive wildfires, hazardous air from wildfire smoke, and deadly heat-waves. Similar extreme weather events related to a heating atmosphere are playing out all over the U.S. and the world. 

The science is clear: Unless the globe abandons the use of fossil fuels and dramatically curbs greenhouse gas emissions to near zero by 2050, the conditions we are experiencing now — as dire as they are — will only get worse, with the greatest impacts falling on frontline communities. 

The good news is that we can take action to stop the climate crisis from getting worse and in the process make our community healthier, more resilient and fair.

A History of Climate Action

Multnomah County has a long history of addressing the climate crisis that stretches back over 20 years. These efforts include groundbreaking work by the County Health Department to understand the links between climate change and our health, as well as the 2015 Climate Action Plan

In addition to plans and policies that advance our sustainability goals, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has committed the County to a 100% renewable energy-based future and banned the use of fossil fuels in new County buildings

While emissions are down in Multnomah County, more needs to be done. Worsening air quality and the recent arrival of severe, life-threatening heat-waves have created an even-greater sense of urgency to take action. In response, Multnomah County continues to look for new ways to address emissions by working with communities — especially frontline communities that experience disproportionate harms of the climate crisis — to co-create solutions.

A New Way of Climate Planning: Climate Justice by Design

Climate Justice by Design (CJxD) is an approach to climate planning that embraces a simple idea: If the current system is designed around the exploitation of people and the planet, then a system rooted in justice and regeneration can also be designed. Using a targeted universalism framework, CJxD provides a pathway for local government to partner with frontline community-led organizations to:

  • Build spaces where community and government show up as equals,

  • Recognize the unique roles that community and government play in affecting change, and

  • Identify opportunities where collective impact can address the climate crisis.

Climate Justice Plan

The County is working with community and government partners to develop a Climate Justice Plan (CJP), which will include a vision and goals for 2030, and strategies to achieve those goals. The CJP will help guide needed policy innovations and investments that address local impacts of climate change and reduce emissions in Multnomah County. 

Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability will work with a variety of stakeholders to develop the CJP, including: 

  • Leaders of frontline communities and community-based organizations who helped to design the Climate Justice by Design (CJxD) process, 

  • A core group of community-based organizations, 

  • Government partners, and 

  • Multnomah County’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability & Innovation

Crucially, because the CJP will have a broad impact across our region, all community members will be invited to comment on and help to shape the CJP. The Office of Sustainability will perform targeted outreach to ensure those who represent diverse identities and have various outlooks can provide input, particularly people with lived experience of racism, houselessness, and other factors that may place a person at higher risk of experiencing the harms of climate change.

Contact us and receive updates

To receive updates about Multnomah County's Climate Justice Plan and learn of ways that you can get involved, please fill out and submit the form below.