Lake Oswego City Council reviews draft of Climate Action Plan
Lake Oswego's Climate Action Plan is nearing the finish line following a public Open House and a City Council study session held last week to discuss strategies for officially adopting and implementing the proposal.
City Councilors made development of a plan one of their goals for 2017, and the current draft is the result — the product of a yearlong collaboration between City staff, the Sustainability Advisory Board and volunteers from the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network.
Jenny Slepian, the City's sustainability and management analyst, presented the final draft to the council on Feb. 27, emphasizing that the authors had sought to keep a narrow focus on specific "action items" that the City could actually take.
"A lot of cities have this wonderful plan that they can't implement," she said, "and we didn't want to end up with that."
The plan suggests a combination of City and community actions. The community actions can be undertaken at any time, and several volunteers have already begun working on some of the suggestions.
But the City actions will require more of an official framework to be carried out, which is why Slepian said she and others involved in drafting the plan recommended that the council incorporate the plan into Lake Oswego's existing Sustainability Action Plan for City Operations.
The sustainability plan is due for an update anyway, she said, and while climate action and sustainability aren't precisely the same topics, there's considerable overlap between the two.
"This isn't a comprehensive plan, and I wouldn't treat it that way," said SAB co-chair Eliot Metzger, who joined Slepian at the study session. "I think this can live inside other plans that the City has on the books."
Metzger recapped the plan's development process and thanked several of the community leaders who helped draft the document, including Stephanie Glazer, Duke Castle, Lisa Adatto and Bob Sack.
Mayor Kent Studebaker asked about the plan's transportation goals, and Metzger outlined the document's support for electric vehicle adoption and charging stations, as well as further transit development. But he added that the issue might not be entirely in Lake Oswego's hands.
"We've heard in the past that TriMet has had plans but not money," he said.
A significant portion of the study session focused on goals relating to waste, consumption and recycling, which have beeen in the news lately because of changes in the global recycling market that have forced local companies to begin accepting fewer plastics.
"Waste is a hot topic," Slepian said. "It's probably 90 percent of the calls I get from the public."
Metzger said that some of the plan's actions can already start being implemented even before the final draft comes back, but Councilor John LaMotte said it would be important for the plan to receive official approval and for the City to provide leadership. He asked Slepian if the City would be able to fulfill that role.
"We now have somebody from every department who is aware we're working on this process," she replied. "And we need that staff buy-in."
Councilors Jeff Gudman, Jackie Manz, Theresa Kohlhoff, Joe Buck and LaMotte all expressed support for the plan, although an official adoption vote was delayed until after the community Open House. With both of the two final reviews now finished, the next step will be for the council to officially adopt the plan, which is currently scheduled to take place at its April 3 meeting.
The council will likely vote on a pair of resolutions: one to adopt the Climate Action Plan itself, and another to adopt a revised Sustainability Action Plan for City Operations that incorporates the City's action areas.