New 350 Clackamas County group takes on climate change
Last fall, a group of environmentally minded individuals met to form 350Milwaukie, a local subset of 350.org.
350.org is an international organization founded in 2008 dedicated to opposing new coal, oil and gas projects and supporting "clean energy solutions that work for all."
The organization was named after 350 parts per million, the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere determined by NASA.
Within a few meetings, 350Milwaukie was renamed 350 Clackamas County to attract a broader membership base. The 350 group's next meeting will feature a slideshow presentation from a member of the Stop Fracked Gas PDX team on the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in southern Oregon.
Joining as an early member of the local 350 group was Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, who last month traveled to Chicago's North American Climate Summit to give a presentation on the climate advantages of cross-laminated timber and speak on creating safe routes to schools.
Following the Trump administration's June 1 announcement to pull out of the Paris agreements, Gamba and Gladstone Mayor Tammy Stempel joined nearly 400 U.S. mayors, so far, in signing on to the Mayors National Climate Agenda promising to pursue actions to achieve emission reduction targets.
350 Clackamas County co-founders Milwaukie resident Michael Hall and Oak Grove resident Tori Simons are excited to have a local group to encourage the county to serve as an example for other entities to emulate. They want to build a progressive, sustainable and green economy that will serve not only its current inhabitants but those to come.
"Our goal is to help lead Clackamas County into a future that promotes environmental and sustainable practices countywide that result in healthier communities and environment while building a flourishing local economy grounded in sustainable industries," Simons said.
350 Clackamas County works in partnership with 350pdx, but with focus on such county issues as forestry, agriculture and land use, given the large proportion of the county that is farm and forest land. With 73 percent of the county being forest land, local 305 members see an opportunity for a local cross-laminated-timber mill that would assure sustainable practices are implemented in the harvesting of the wood, the running of the mill and the disbursement of the product.
"It is important that Clackamas adhere to strict sustainable forest and ag practices and focus on finding sustainable industries that will lead to a flourishing and sustainable local economy," Simons said.
At the beginning of the monthly meeting in January, Deborah Romerein, from the Stop Fracked Gas PDX team, will offer a presentation on the proposed Jordan Cove export terminal near Coos Bay. A Canadian company wants to build a 235-mile pipeline through Oregon to move fracked gas from Canada and the Rockies. It could then be shipped to overseas markets in Asia.
Opponents of the project see the pipeline as potentially the largest clear-cut in Oregon's history to create the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases in the state. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, a former supporter of the project's goals to boost the local economy, recently voiced opposition due to its predicted effects on climate change.
Romerein's presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in the Performing Arts Center of Rose Villa, 13505 S.E. River Road, Oak Grove. All are welcome to stay for the 350ClackamasCounty meeting immediately following.
In March, the focus of the 350ClackamasCounty meeting will be to prepare a request that the city of Milwaukie divest from fossil fuels. 350pdx last year asked Clackamas County to join Portland, Multnomah County and the Metro Council in divesting from 200 companies on the Carbon Tracker list. Now that there is a 350ClackamasCounty group, there's a local group to pressure county commissioners to go further in taking steps against global warming.
A county resolution July 6 was intended to be a restatement of county policies going back as far as 2008. The county pledged in 2016 to reduce energy usage by 5 percent by 2020. Also, the county adopted goals for sustainability and energy in 2008, and incorporated them in 2014 in Performance Clackamas, a set of standards by which county agencies will be measured.
The 350 group also plans to encourage Clackamas County commissioners to promote education around no-till farming. Simons said 350 Clackamas County is creating a subgroup to address county commissioners with proposals and hopefully spur action toward a sustainable future.
"We have yet to decide what our priorities will be, but should have that sorted once the subgroup has its inaugural meeting this month," Simons said.
350 Clackamas County holds its regular meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Mondays of the month at Rose Villa.