Salem’s Climate Action Planning Process Begins

Posted on September 23, 2020

City of Salem – 09/22/20 5:00 PM

Salem, Ore. —The City of Salem has begun a community-wide effort to develop a Climate Action Plan for Salem. The Climate Action Plan will ultimately chart a course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate change throughout the community.

Impacts from climate change are already visible in the Pacific Northwest. Wildfires, floods, and drought have affected Salem in recent history. The fires of 2020 and the flood of 2012 that closed approximately 18.5 miles of roads due to flood waters or associated damage are two of the most notable examples.

When complete, the Climate Action Plan will include strategies to reduce emissions and strengthen infrastructure, while also building social capital, spurring innovation, and increasing equitable access to services. This approach will help ensure the community’s ability to adapt to climate changes that are expected to occur through the coming decades.  The planning process will involve broad stakeholder engagement including many opportunities for the public to provide input. A Task Force representing a diverse cross-section of the Salem community will guide the work organized around the following pillars: visioning, vulnerability assessment, strategy development and implementation planning. Members of the public are invited to visit the online public engagement platform at https://salemclimateactionplan.com/ to learn more and to register for future updates.

The planning process is expected to take 16 months with the final plan anticipated to be presented to City Council for its adoption in December 2021. Salem has contracted with Verdis Group to lead the community through the climate action planning process.

The City of Salem began its resource conservation focus in 2006 with documentation of conservation practices in the report, Energy Conservation Summary: Accomplishments and Ongoing Activities 2000 to July 2007.  The report was followed by the development and implementation of the Environmental Action Plan and the Community Energy Strategy. The City’s 2017 Strategic Plan identified conducting a Greenhouse Gas Inventory and developing a Climate Action Plan.  The Greenhouse Gas Inventory as well as a comprehensive Climate Actions Audit of the city’s operations and practices were completed in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The Salem climate action planning process will be closely coordinated with Our Salem, the City’s ongoing project to update the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan. Climate action strategies are likely to achieve multiple and overlapping community goals with the Our Salem Plan.

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