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Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project

Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project

Planning and conservation    Regional planning and policy    Climate change    Climate Smart Scenarios

The Oregon Legislature has required the Portland metropolitan region to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions from cars and small trucks by 2035. Learn what the region is doing to create livable communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project was developed to help show us how the choices we make today about how we live, work and get around will determine the future of the Portland metropolitan region.

How we live

How we work

How we get around

Judie Hammerstad

Kim Parker

Angus Duncan

Judie Hammerstad
Lake Oswego community member
Kim Parker
Clackmas County Business Alliance
Angus Duncan
Oregon Global Warming Commission

Hear more local perspectives on building great communities  Go

Climate smart communities scenarios project timeline

Climate Smart Communities graphic

In a three-phase process, the region studies scenarios that represent what the region could look like in the future, with different land use and transportation strategies in place. The goal of the project is to engage community, business, public health and elected leaders in a discussion with their communities to shape a preferred approach that meets the state mandate and supports local and regional plans for downtowns, main streets and employment areas.

Shaping the preferred approach in 2014

To stimulate thinking about our choices for the future, Metro is working with community and business leaders and elected officials across the region to answer these and other questions:

  • Which strategies are most effective for supporting community visions and reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What will our choices cost and what can we afford?
  • What are the risks, opportunities and tradeoffs of our choices?

There is no single solution to meet the state's target. There are many ways to reduce emissions while creating healthy, more equitable communities and a vibrant regional economy. Providing services and shopping near where people live, improving transit service, encouraging electric cars and providing safer routes for walking and biking all can help. Investing in communities in ways that support their visions for the future will be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What we've learned so far

The first phase began in 2011 and concluded in early 2012. This phase consisted of testing strategies on a regional level to understand what it might take to meet the state greenhouse gas emissions reduction mandate.

Download the Phase 1 findings report

As part of the first phase, Metro staff researched strategies used to reduce emissions in communities across the nation and around the world. This work resulted in a toolbox describing the range of potential strategies, their effectiveness at reducing emissions and other benefits they could bring to the region, if implemented. Most of the strategies identified are already being implemented to varying degrees across the region to realize community visions and other important economic, social and environmental goals. Examples include: providing schools, services and shopping near where people live, improving transit service, building new street connections, using technology to manage traffic flow, encouraging electric cars and providing safer routes for walking and biking.

View the toolbox report

Reduced GHG emissions graphicThe second phase began in 2012 and concluded in October 2013. In this phase, Metro worked with community leaders to shape three approaches – or scenarios – that were tested in the summer of 2013 and the criteria to be used to evaluate them. Locally-adopted land use and transportation plans across the region served as the foundation for each scenario, including recently adopted community plans and visions such as the Beaverton Civic Plan, McLoughlin Area Plan, South Hillsboro Plan, AmberGlen Community Plan, Portland Plan, and the Gresham Downtown Plan. Eight community case studies were also produced to showcase investments and actions communities have already taken to realize their vision for the future and that also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Future series

As Metro and regional partners look at ways to address a state mandate to reduce tailpipe emissions in the Portland region, Metro News is digging into some of the 144 ideas under study.

April 11, 2014: At climate summit, leaders support transportation investments

April 2, 2014: Community leaders speak out on tailpipe reduction, say transit is a priority

March 14, 2014: Communities looking at smaller transit systems to address local needs

View more stories from this series

The results of the analysis were released in fall 2013. Our analysis indicates that adopted local and regional plans can meet our target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – if we make the investments and take the actions needed to implement those plans.

Results of scenario analysis

This is good news, but there is more work to be done. Local, regional, state and federal partnerships are needed to make the investments and take the actions needed to implement those plans and meet the state target.

Considerations for developing a preferred approach

  • Costs and benefits across public health, environmental, economic and social equity goals
  • Financial implications
  • Public support and political will

Through a collaborative process involving hundreds of civic leaders, health officials, business owners, and community members, Metro recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach won't meet the needs of our diverse communities. Instead, a combination of many local approaches, woven together, will create a diverse yet shared vision for how we can keep this a great place for years to come.

Looking ahead

Working together, cities, counties and regional partners will decide which investments and actions from each of the three approaches should go forward into one preferred approach for the region to adopt in December 2014.

January to May 2014 Community and business leaders, local governments and the public are asked to weigh in on which investments and actions should be included in the region's preferred approach.

April to May 2014 Regional policy advisory committees are asked to shape a draft preferred approach and make recommendations to the Metro Council.

June 2014 The Metro Council considers the policy committees' recommendations and is asked to provide direction to staff on the draft preferred approach.

Summer 2014 Staff evaluates the draft preferred approach.

September 2014 Final public review of preferred approach.

December 2014 Metro Council considers adoption of the recommended preferred approach.

January 2015 Submit adopted approach to Land Conservation and Development Commission for approval.

Need assistance?

Peggy Morell

what people are saying

Community conversations

Learn what the public and community leaders have said about the investments and actions that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create great communities.

Stakeholder interviews
Focus groups
Phone survey
Community conversations

Policymakers conversations

Discover what information was shared with policymakers at the April 11 joint MPAC and JPACT meeting as they begin to shape the region's approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating great communities.

Policymakers discussion guide
Presentation to policymakers
Public opinion results
Community engagement results
Straw poll results

Climate smart materials

Reports, workshops and fact sheets
Reports, workshops and fact sheets

See how equity, economics and the environment are addressed in the Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project. Download fact sheets, reports and presentations from 2011 to now. Go

presentation toolkit

Talking about Climate Smart Communities

Inspire discussion in your organization, agency or community group about how choices we make today about where we live, work and how we get around help create livable communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Results brochure
Case studies
Frequently asked questions

resource spotlight

What's EcoDriving?

EcoDriving is a way to drive that improves fuel economy and reduces vehicle emissions.

Learn more and download materials to create your own EcoDrive campaign. Go

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