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Lake Oswego City Council adopts Climate Action Plan
The Lake Oswego City Council officially adopted a Climate Action Plan it its meeting on Tuesday.
The unanimous vote capped off a yearlong development process in which volunteers from the City's Sustainability Advisory Board and the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network worked to research and draft the plan.
The two groups lobbied for the development of a plan to be added as a council goal for 2017, and pledged to donate the time to develop it. At Tuesday's meeting, multiple councilors praised the efforts of the dozens of volunteers who brought the plan to fruition, and commended several of the items in the plan.
"I'm particularly excited about the tree planting," said Councilor Jeff Gudman. "We can argue about when they get cut down, but everyone likes when they get planted."
SAB co-chair Eliot Metzger and City Sustainability and Management Analyst Jenny Slepian presented the plan. They were joined by LOSN co-founder Duke Castle, who thanked the councilors for pursuing the project.
"We wouldn't be here doing what we're doing if we didn't have your support," Castle said.
The Climate Action Plan is divided into a series of action areas, such as Transportation and Connectivity; Buildings and Energy; Consumption (Food and Materials); and Resources and Resilience. Each one includes two or three recommended actions, such as electrifying transportation or cutting food waste in half.
The plan also recognizes three distinct actors: City government, the Lake Oswego School District and community groups. Each recommended action is further broken down into multiple suggestions for how each of the three overall groups can take action.
The six-page plan is smaller than most city climate plans, but it is supplemented by a much longer appendix. On Tuesday, Metzger emphazed the focus on action items.
"I think it makes sense for us," he said. "This was the art of the practical."
Castle also ran through a long list of upcoming events and discussions that are already underway in the community to begin implementing aspects of the plan.
"Most cities have told us the biggest problem they have is implementing their plans," he said, "but we're off and running."
Now that the council has officially adopted the plan, City staff will work to integrate it into Lake Oswego's 11-year-old Sustainability Action Plan for City Operations, which staff say is currently outdated.
The combined document will be known as the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, and City staff say the goal is for the new plan to be more operational and incorporated into staff members' day-to-day decisions.
One of the first things the City will need to do, according to staff, is establish a baseline measurement of Lake Oswego's greenhouse gas emissions, which will serve as the basis for evaluating future sustainability actions. Lake Oswego's evaluation will be carried out over a period of 20 weeks, with guidance from the City of Portland.
Also on Tuesday's agenda:
-- The council held its annual joint meeting with the Planning Commission, primarily to look at the topic of street standards. The issue came up as a result of a recent Planning Commission decision to limit the number of "flag" lots that can be built off single private roads, which necessitated clarification about the standards for those streets.
The commission recapped its agenda from the past year and gave the council a chance to offer input on next year's agenda. Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff asked at one point if the Planning Commission could take a look at the Development Code as it relates to tree removal, a sentiment echoed by Councilors John LaMotte and Joe Buck.
Mayor Kent Studebaker pointed out that the council had recently discussed the issue and voted 4-3 not to proceed. Councilor Skip O'Neill reiterated his view that before any changes are discussed, more time needs to pass in order for the City to get an accurate assessment of the performance of the recently updated Tree Code.
-- Former Planning Commissioners Bill Garr and Adrienne Brockman were each honored with a Distinguished Service Award. Both of them recently departed the commission; Brockman served for 16 years, and Garr has served for six years.
"The real honor is being able to give back to the city," Garr said.
Brockman also called out the commission, the council and Planning Director Scot Siegel for recognition.
"This couldn't have happened without the support of everybody," she said.
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