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About the Sustainability and Climate Commission

View of Tilikum Crossing and the Willamette River with clear skies.
BPS is currently setting up the Sustainability and Climate Commission (SCC) to guide future City climate action and sustainability goals. The SCC will serve as a new body of governance and champion for climate action in the City.

The Sustainability and Climate Commission will be a new governance structure for climate action in Portland and serve as the official climate connection to other governance bodies at the City of Portland. It will allow elected officials to continue their legislative work while it helps shape climate action for Portland as it serves as a bridge between staff and political leaders.

The Sustainability and Climate Commission will guide City climate action and sustainability goals as a new governance structure and champion body for current and future climate work. In their advisory capacity, and through public hearings and discussions, convening joint meetings with other advisory and decision-making bodies, commissioners will review and propose actions to City Council to achieve City-adopted goals to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 and make Portlanders more resilient, especially communities of color and those most at-risk and vulnerable to impacts of climate change.

Project background

In January 2009, the Sustainable Development Commission and the Planning Commission merged to create the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). At that time, the Bureau of Planning and the Office of Sustainable Development merged to create BPS. The PSC had a dual focus, and its responsibilities increased as the need for climate action grew.

In April 2022, an organizational consultant informed City leadership that the PSC needed clarity on its vision, roles, expectations, power and priorities. Commissioner Rubio then directed BPS to split the PSC back into two distinct commissions: planning and sustainability.

In March 2023, the Planning Commission was created, and research phases for the new Sustainability and Climate Commission (SCC) began. The SCC process continues and will form in April 2024.

Project timeline

Timeline of the SCC process drawn with circles that have arrows indicating the process flow. Starts with Research in April through June 2023, then Internal engagement from June through August, then Community feedback from August through October, followed by city processes in October through early 2024, with Recruitment in late 2024 and ends with the SCC in effect in late 2024 or early 2025.
  1. Research – Connect with other climate commissions and review previous Portland community input.
  2. Internal City engagement – Input and comments from City leadership, staff and Climate Preparedness Group.
  3. Community feedback – Gather input through workgroups, events and surveys.
  4. City processes – City restructuring vote and move through the City Ordinance approval process.
  5. Recruitment – Commissioner recruitment, interviews held and appointments made.
  6. SCC in effect – Commission seated, and work begins.

Research to seat the SCC began in April 2023 and a research draft was issued in May, with briefings on its findings held in June and July. A community kickoff event was held September 6, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. After that event, staff began working towards a final draft and anticipates presenting a City Ordinance for approval to City Council in early 2024. If approved, recruitment for the Sustainability and Climate Commission will occur in late 2024 with an official SCC start in late 2024 or early 2025.


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