Chapter 5: Building on State and Local Strengths

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Salem conducted its first greenhouse gas inventory in 2019 and joined ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development, in 2020. These recent commitments build on the city’s dedication to creating a more sustainable Salem and on the state’s longstanding foundation of improving regional environmental quality. For decades, the State of Oregon has been leading the way for a climate-smart future. Understanding past and present efforts to address climate change at the state level helps provide context for Salem’s actions at the local level. This section provides an overview of recent actions from the State of Oregon and a summary of Salem’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the realities of climate change.

State of Oregon leadership

Recent legislation at the state level helps incentivize and reinforce equitable climate action here in Salem. In March 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04.4 This executive order set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals for the State of Oregon:

  • At least 45% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2035; and
  • At least 80% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

Prior to these state-level goals, Governor Brown also issued Executive Order 17-21 in 2017, which focuses on accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).5 Both executive orders highlight the importance of the transportation sector in achieving GHG emissions reduction goals. In 2020, a new law (SB 1044) went into effect that establishes goals that promote zero-emission vehicle use and requires entities of executive departments to promote zero-emission vehicle use. At a national level, as well as at a state level in Oregon, the transportation sector currently represents the largest source of GHG emissions.6

In 2021, several important new pieces of climate-related legislation were signed into state law.

  • HB2021, the 100% Clean Energy Standard, requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040.
  • HB 2062 establishes new energy efficiency standards for appliances and certain water fixtures.
  • HB2165, the Transportation Electrification Package, provides incentives and rebates to Oregon residents, including low- and moderate-income individuals, toward the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs). It also expands EV charging infrastructure with a particular emphasis on underserved communities.
  • HB2180 requires certain newly constructed buildings to be EV-ready, meaning they are built with the electrical service capacity for charging electric vehicles.
  • HB 2475 requires the Public Utility Commission to set different rates for lower-income energy users, and allows for greater public engagement in PUC proceedings by low-income and environmental justice advocates.
  • HB 2842 establishes the Healthy Homes program to grant funds for home weatherization and building retrofits for low-income households.
  • HB 3141 continues funding energy efficiency projects across the state.

In September 2021, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced a new rulemaking process to establish a Climate Protection Program.

The purposes of the Climate Protection Program (CPP) are to: set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from significant sources in Oregon, including large stationary sources, transportation fuels, and other liquid and gaseous fuels; achieve co-benefits from other air contaminant reductions; and prioritize equity by promoting benefits and alleviating burdens for environmental justice and impacted communities. Importantly, this new rule would mandate emissions reductions from natural gas utilities. The proposed rule is expected to go before the Environmental Quality Commission in late 2021.

Focused rulemaking has been established by the State to help ensure transportation and land use planning efforts are equitable and help the State of Oregon, as well as local governments, achieve climate-related goals. Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission initiated Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) Rulemaking in September 2020 and is responsible for several different actions and outcomes related to meeting Oregon’s GHG emissions reduction goals and other climate-related targets. From the CFEC Rulemaking initiative, local governments can expect requirements from the State regarding climate-friendly and equitable land use and transportation planning. According to the CFEC Rulemaking Charge, specific requirements are expected to include:7

Creation of climate-friendly areas allowing high levels of mixed-use development, focused transportation investments.

  1. Planning for high-quality pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure.
  2. Limiting off-street minimum parking mandates.
  3. Limiting motor vehicle congestion standards.
  4. Prioritizing and selecting transportation projects to meet climate and equity goals.
  5. Supporting EV charging.

City of Salem initiatives

Over the past decade, the City of Salem has completed dozens of climate actions. The City’s Climate Actions Audit,8 completed in 2020, includes an inventory of past climate actions based on interviews with City staff and a thorough review of projects, practices, programs, 11 core City of Salem plans, and 12 climate action plans adopted by peer municipalities. Many of Salem’s actions align with the forthcoming transportation and land use planning requirements from the State listed above. Additionally, Salem has completed or has in place over 25% of the recommended actions and policies identified for inclusion in CAPs. Examples of Salem’s previous actions across five categories are listed below.

Buildings and Energy

  • All new city facilities are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard.
  • City of Salem participates in PGE’s Green Future Impact program. Through the program, Salem expects 80% of the energy that powers city operations will come from renewable sources by the end of 2021.
  • Streetlights and signals have been converted from older, less energy efficient light fixtures to longer lasting and more efficient LEDs.
  • Improvements to the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant continue the City’s production of renewable energy from biogas to power the plant. At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce up to 1,200 kW of electricity, which is about 50% of the electricity needed to operate the plant for a year, or enough to power over 900 homes in Salem.

Land Use

  • Three new Mixed-use Zones have been added that prioritize pedestrian-oriented development.
  • To accommodate dense and affordable living, barriers to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) developments have been reduced.

Transportation

  • Between 2008 – 2016, the City completed nearly 50 different projects to upgrade existing or add new sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossing islands, shortened crossings at certain intersections, and radar speed signs.
  • Access to bicycles and support of biking as a transportation mode have increased through a downtown-focused bikeshare program and installation of rentable bike lockers for storage.
  • To enhance collaboration and efficiency, the City has increased its communication with Cherriots, the agency that provides public transit in Salem.
  • EV charging stations have been installed at City and community facilities. Currently there are 41 publicly accessible EV charging stations in Salem.9

Materials Management

  • The City participates in the State of Oregon Sustainable Procurement procedures to help reduce waste at the source and reuse materials before resorting to recycling or landfilling items.

Natural Systems and Community Wellbeing

  • Salem facilitates an environmental education program for the community’s youth. The program serves an average of 12,530 students every year.
  • Access to and connectivity between parks has increased.
  • Salem has a tree canopy goal and invests in tree planting projects on City owned properties.

Though great efforts have been made in Salem since 2010, the City recognizes that there is always more work to be done. The City’s Climate Actions Audit laid the groundwork for this current Climate Action Plan, including an evaluation of areas for improvement. One such area is the development of a climate vulnerability assessment.

Salem conducted its first greenhouse gas inventory in 2019 and joined ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development, in 2020. These recent commitments build on the city’s dedication to creating a more sustainable Salem and on the state’s longstanding foundation of improving regional environmental quality. For decades, the State of Oregon has been leading the way for a climate-smart future. Understanding past and present efforts to address climate change at the state level helps provide context for Salem’s actions at the local level. This section provides an overview of recent actions from the State of Oregon and a summary of Salem’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the realities of climate change.

State of Oregon leadership

Recent legislation at the state level helps incentivize and reinforce equitable climate action here in Salem. In March 2020, Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 20-04.4 This executive order set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals for the State of Oregon:

  • At least 45% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2035; and
  • At least 80% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

Prior to these state-level goals, Governor Brown also issued Executive Order 17-21 in 2017, which focuses on accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).5 Both executive orders highlight the importance of the transportation sector in achieving GHG emissions reduction goals. In 2020, a new law (SB 1044) went into effect that establishes goals that promote zero-emission vehicle use and requires entities of executive departments to promote zero-emission vehicle use. At a national level, as well as at a state level in Oregon, the transportation sector currently represents the largest source of GHG emissions.6

In 2021, several important new pieces of climate-related legislation were signed into state law.

  • HB2021, the 100% Clean Energy Standard, requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040.
  • HB 2062 establishes new energy efficiency standards for appliances and certain water fixtures.
  • HB2165, the Transportation Electrification Package, provides incentives and rebates to Oregon residents, including low- and moderate-income individuals, toward the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs). It also expands EV charging infrastructure with a particular emphasis on underserved communities.
  • HB2180 requires certain newly constructed buildings to be EV-ready, meaning they are built with the electrical service capacity for charging electric vehicles.
  • HB 2475 requires the Public Utility Commission to set different rates for lower-income energy users, and allows for greater public engagement in PUC proceedings by low-income and environmental justice advocates.
  • HB 2842 establishes the Healthy Homes program to grant funds for home weatherization and building retrofits for low-income households.
  • HB 3141 continues funding energy efficiency projects across the state.

In September 2021, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced a new rulemaking process to establish a Climate Protection Program.

The purposes of the Climate Protection Program (CPP) are to: set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from significant sources in Oregon, including large stationary sources, transportation fuels, and other liquid and gaseous fuels; achieve co-benefits from other air contaminant reductions; and prioritize equity by promoting benefits and alleviating burdens for environmental justice and impacted communities. Importantly, this new rule would mandate emissions reductions from natural gas utilities. The proposed rule is expected to go before the Environmental Quality Commission in late 2021.

Focused rulemaking has been established by the State to help ensure transportation and land use planning efforts are equitable and help the State of Oregon, as well as local governments, achieve climate-related goals. Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission initiated Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) Rulemaking in September 2020 and is responsible for several different actions and outcomes related to meeting Oregon’s GHG emissions reduction goals and other climate-related targets. From the CFEC Rulemaking initiative, local governments can expect requirements from the State regarding climate-friendly and equitable land use and transportation planning. According to the CFEC Rulemaking Charge, specific requirements are expected to include:7

Creation of climate-friendly areas allowing high levels of mixed-use development, focused transportation investments.

  1. Planning for high-quality pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure.
  2. Limiting off-street minimum parking mandates.
  3. Limiting motor vehicle congestion standards.
  4. Prioritizing and selecting transportation projects to meet climate and equity goals.
  5. Supporting EV charging.

City of Salem initiatives

Over the past decade, the City of Salem has completed dozens of climate actions. The City’s Climate Actions Audit,8 completed in 2020, includes an inventory of past climate actions based on interviews with City staff and a thorough review of projects, practices, programs, 11 core City of Salem plans, and 12 climate action plans adopted by peer municipalities. Many of Salem’s actions align with the forthcoming transportation and land use planning requirements from the State listed above. Additionally, Salem has completed or has in place over 25% of the recommended actions and policies identified for inclusion in CAPs. Examples of Salem’s previous actions across five categories are listed below.

Buildings and Energy

  • All new city facilities are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard.
  • City of Salem participates in PGE’s Green Future Impact program. Through the program, Salem expects 80% of the energy that powers city operations will come from renewable sources by the end of 2021.
  • Streetlights and signals have been converted from older, less energy efficient light fixtures to longer lasting and more efficient LEDs.
  • Improvements to the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant continue the City’s production of renewable energy from biogas to power the plant. At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce up to 1,200 kW of electricity, which is about 50% of the electricity needed to operate the plant for a year, or enough to power over 900 homes in Salem.

Land Use

  • Three new Mixed-use Zones have been added that prioritize pedestrian-oriented development.
  • To accommodate dense and affordable living, barriers to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) developments have been reduced.

Transportation

  • Between 2008 – 2016, the City completed nearly 50 different projects to upgrade existing or add new sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossing islands, shortened crossings at certain intersections, and radar speed signs.
  • Access to bicycles and support of biking as a transportation mode have increased through a downtown-focused bikeshare program and installation of rentable bike lockers for storage.
  • To enhance collaboration and efficiency, the City has increased its communication with Cherriots, the agency that provides public transit in Salem.
  • EV charging stations have been installed at City and community facilities. Currently there are 41 publicly accessible EV charging stations in Salem.9

Materials Management

  • The City participates in the State of Oregon Sustainable Procurement procedures to help reduce waste at the source and reuse materials before resorting to recycling or landfilling items.

Natural Systems and Community Wellbeing

  • Salem facilitates an environmental education program for the community’s youth. The program serves an average of 12,530 students every year.
  • Access to and connectivity between parks has increased.
  • Salem has a tree canopy goal and invests in tree planting projects on City owned properties.

Though great efforts have been made in Salem since 2010, the City recognizes that there is always more work to be done. The City’s Climate Actions Audit laid the groundwork for this current Climate Action Plan, including an evaluation of areas for improvement. One such area is the development of a climate vulnerability assessment.

Page last updated: 15 November 2021, 15:09