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Bailey releases expanded climate change plan before important environmental debate

Portland mayoral candidate Jules Bailey has released an expanded plan for fighting climate change ahead of an important debate before a leading environmental group.

Although Bailey had several proposals for fighting climate change in the three-page program he released when he announced for mayor in January, the plan released Wednesday has many more specifics, including a call for a statewide carbon tax or cap-and-trade program.

“Portland has been a national and global leader on the environment. We’ve always been a city that has embraced sustainability. It’s a big part of who we are. But with climate change looming over all of us, it’s time for Portland to show the rest of the world how we can both reduce carbon pollution and grow our economy. The more we do here, the more we can keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Bailey, who is a Multnomah County Commissioner.

Bailey released the expanded plan the day before he, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Portland First Stop Assistant Director Sarah Iannarone are scheduled to debate before several environmental groups. Perhaps the most important one is the Oregon League of Environmental Voters, which has financed mass mailings and other kinds of campaign support for candidates it backs in the past. Bailey would benefit the most from such support because he has limited contributions to $250.

Other sponsors include the Oregon Chapter of Sierra Club and the Oregon Environmental Council, 1000 Friends of Oregon, 350 PDX, Audubon Society of Portland, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Coalition of Communities of Color, Columbia Riverkeeper, Let's Talk Climate, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Urban Greenspaces Institute, and Willamette Riverkeeper.

The debate will be held Thursday evening at Benson High School.

The plan released Wednesday includes:

• Price carbon by working with the legislature to enact a meaningful state carbon tax or cap-and-trade program to hasten the transition to affordable clean energy sources like wind and solar power, and to create thousands of high-quality jobs.

• Expand the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program to include energy efficiency upgrades and earthquake safety for homes, and accelerate commercial building upgrades partnered with building certification.

• Establish a “sustainable building competition” in the technology sector to create better building energy analytics and management programs based on the city database of building energy use disclosure.

• Upgrade all Portland city buildings to LEED platinum or better energy use by 2030.

• Create incentives for infill development that are Energy Star certified, and FAR bonuses for net-zero buildings.

• Promote electric vehicles by working with utilities to partner on charging station expansion, including investigating rate-basing EV infrastructure as a method of balancing variable power from renewables.

• Streamline permitting for solar, electric vehicle charging stations, and other renewable energy investments.

• Partner with Enhabit, the Energy Trust, community action organizations, and neighborhood groups to promote low-income weatherization and basic home repairs, building off the successful model in the Cully neighborhood.

• Establish an environmental justice lens to prioritize energy efficiency and renewable energy investments that work with low income communities and communities of color.

• Bring back the Solarize program for solar on residences, working with neighborhood associations, contractors, and the Energy Trust.

• Use city assets as test beds for clean technology, like public buildings for efficiency technology and software, and other infrastructure, like the successful partnership with Lucid energy to generate electricity from the municipal water system.

• Continue to divest from fossil fuel companies, and pursue aggressive climate-smart divestment policies.

• Expand contracts to run city fleets on recycled biodiesel, such as waste vegetable oil from restaurants, as well as plug in hybrids and EVs for smaller vehicles.

• Build a climate-smart transportation system, implementing congestion pricing, and funding infrastructure that promotes walking, biking, and transit, with compact urban form and smart land use.

• Reduce heat island effects, preserving tree canopy cover, building new parks in underserved areas, and creating other heat “sinks”.

• Prepare for climate change resilience by building infrastructure to deal with increased droughts, severe weather, and more flooding.

• Create a city low carbon procurement policy that prioritizes a carbon lifecycle analysis on all major contracts.