Our Green Future:

Cameron's Plan for Climate Action That Includes Everyone

 

"Cameron supports policies and investments needed to make walking, biking and transit safe, affordable and convenient. His activism and lived experience would bring a new perspective to the Metro Council."

Jillian Detweiler, Executive Director, The Street Trust Action Fund

There is a reality that our region must face. 

 

Climate Change is a global emergency and our region will not be exempted from its effects. People across the world and here in Oregon are already experiencing the consequences of our climate crisis, as extreme weather events like heat waves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes threaten our quality of life.
 

In order to guarantee a healthy, habitable, and prosperous planet for our children, grandchildren, and future generations, we must adopt a sustainable energy system in the next 15 years.


In the Metro region, we have opportunities available to not just reverse course regionally, but to truly lead the nation in what a sustainable economy can look like. To realize this opportunity, we must invest in a green future that uplifts all Portlanders. 

 

Cameron knows that climate change is the greatest challenge facing our world. He’s seen firsthand how vulnerable communities are at the highest risk of negative environmental consequences, and supported efforts for solutions to climate change to center the voices of those most impacted.

 

As a graduate of 1000 Friends of Oregon’s inaugural Land Use Leadership Institute, Cameron was galvanized to work on solutions to address climate change through housing and transportation policy. He joined advisory committees for the Portland Bureau of Transportation and TriMet and helped to pass policies on climate-friendly housing development.

 

Cameron is a committed champion for helping grow the climate justice movement at Metro.

The “Our Green Future” Plan:

 

With federal inaction and certain Oregon lawmakers walking out on their responsibility to address climate change, we need our local leaders to bring effective solutions. A regional Green New Deal will provide the framework to effectively address the scope of this challenge. By leveraging Metro’s critical role in conservation, transportation, and our solid waste system, we can create a vibrant and sustainable economy that uplifts all Portlanders.

Act With Urgency

We have a small window of opportunity to take on the climate crisis, and we must make a serious public commitment to lead. Here’s how:

 

  • Advocating for a Regional Climate Emergency and rallying local jurisdictions to take action on a regional Green New Deal. 

  • Supporting community-led efforts to accelerate our goal to get 100% of our energy from renewable sources by 2040, and we go beyond that by crafting a vision of a carbon negative economy that helps to reverse the impacts of climate change. 

Transportation System of the Future

Climate change threatens our quality of life, and 40% of our carbon emissions originate from transportation. Our region’s population grows by 20,000 people per year, resulting in congestion that harms public health, the environment, and the economy. We need leadership that will take action to create the transportation system of the future. Here’s how:

 

  • Continuing to collaborate with local jurisdictions to think big and follow through with best practices, to make sure that every Metro resident has affordable access to safe, accessible, and reliable transportation options.

  • Advocating for policies that set goals for every regional transportation infrastructure investment to consider the effects of greenhouse gas and reduce carbon emissions.

  • Continuing to support a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on the Rose Quarter I-5 corridor project.

  • Strengthening intergovernmental agreements with TriMet and aggressively pursuing accountability on our vision of a vibrant, sustainable, and multi-modal transportation system. This includes expanding Youth Pass to students throughout the region.

  • Continuing to support the electrification of public transportation by helping school districts and TriMet by replacing older diesel buses with electric buses. 

  • Promoting transit oriented development that mitigates the climate impact of sprawl and links affordable housing to vital community amenities. 

  • Continuing to support Vision Zero by providing robust data tracking, planning, technical, and financial resources focused on ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Just Transition

We must fulfill our obligation to workers by creating union, family-wage jobs for those who currently work in the fossil fuel industries that will need to be transformed. Here’s how:

 

  • Implementing policies to establish job placement assistance, health care, four-year college education or vocational job training for workers currently in the fossil fuel industry.

  • Creating policies to ensure Green New Deal jobs and job training and placement resources are accessible to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Climate Resilience

Climate change will continue to change the stability of our infrastructure and society. Metro must make smart investments to create resilient infrastructure and communities that can withstand the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Here’s how:

  • Expanding the climate justice movement by building a truly inclusive movement focused on empowering underrepresented communities.

  • Using the convening power of Metro to develop a regional climate resilience plan, leveraging our relationships with local universities.

  • Strengthening the use of the EJSCREEN developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to collect comprehensive information about how environmental challenges impact vulnerable communities and report progress every five years.

  • Continuing to support efforts of local equity leaders with Albina Vision to create seismically resilient caps over I-5 that allow for new, affordable, and sustainable development in our City’s core. 

  • Incentivizing community ownership of farmland for historically underrepresented communities by successfully creating pathways for agriculture workers to earn equity and wealth. 

Solid Waste

Due to international trade history and lack of local infrastructure, many single use products cannot be easily recycled by consumers, which results in alarming levels of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere. Metro needs to be a leader in transforming our solid waste system. Here’s how:

 

  • Advocating for an environmental levy that holds corporate polluters responsible for single use products. The amount they pay into the system declines as the return rate for their products rise. This will encourage the use of more reusable and recyclable goods.

  • Continuing to support consumer recycling education programs, implementing innovative ideas like feedback tags for residents who need to improve their recycling habits. 

  • Continuing to support research for less resource-intensive methods and alternatives to plastic from fossil fuels, rapidly moving away from petrochemical plastics production.

Natural Areas

Our public lands are a regional treasure, providing free or low cost health, educational, and recreational opportunities and mitigating the impacts of heat waves and other extreme weather. Every Metro resident should live in a neighborhood that has access to protected natural areas. Here’s how:

  • Preserving natural areas outside of the urban growth boundary.

  • Making data driven decisions around projected air and water quality, cultural impacts, and habitat improvement to decide where to allocate resources.

  • Continuing to encourage efforts to connect people directly to restoration and mitigation efforts, partnering with groups like Trail Keepers of Oregon and the Washington Trails Association.

  • Continuing to educate the public about the Willamette River Superfund Site and collaborate with partners to protect healthy water quality, aquatic species, and human health.

Read Cameron's op-ed in Bike Portland about the need for more inclusive solutions to climate change.

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Friends of Cameron Whitten | PO Box 6807 Portland, Oregon 97228 | Email: vote@whittenfororegon.com