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Council to consider climate change responses

The City Council will consider plans to respond to climate change on Wednesday.

According to the resolution accompanying the plans, "the scientific evidence is increasingly clear that human activities are largely responsible for accelerating changes in the global climate" and "the impacts of climate change are already evident in the Pacific Northwest region."

Existing impacts include an average annual temperature increase of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th Century that has accelerated over the last three to four decades, the resolution says.

There is no estimate of how much the plan will cost to enact, even though it involves 10 different city bureaus that are directed to implement them. Instead, the financial analysis submitted with the plan says the costs will be included in future budget of each agency.

The Climate Change Preparaton Strategy and associated Risk and Vulnerabilities Assessment is a joint effort with Multnomah County. The plans to be considered by the council was approved by the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

The Climate Change Preparaton Strategy has 12 objective, each with several steps to be undertaken. The objective range from decreasing heat in certain parts of the city covered with a high percent of asphalt to managing the increased risk of landslides caused by predicted increased winter precipitation. The strategy also calls for protective vulnerable populations to be prioritized.

The Risk and Vulnerabilities Assessment analyzes predicted climate change results that could threaten Portland, ranging from higher peak temperatures in summers to heavier rainfall in the winter. It identifies potential risks that include more heat-related illnesses in the summer to more flooding in the winter.

In addition to the PSC, city agencies involved in preparing the plans include: the Bureau of Environmental Services; the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; the Office of Healthy Working Rivers; the Bureau of Transportation; the Portland Development Commission; the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management; Portland Parks and Recreation; the Portland Water Bureau. Multnomah County agencies include: the Department of Human Services; the Department of Community Justice; the Department of County Assets; the Health Department; the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office; the Office of Emergency Management; and the Office of Sustainability. Outside advisors include the Oregon Climate Change Research institute; the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development; and the Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral industries.

To read the resolution and related documents, visit www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=505201

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