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191692

Emergency Ordinance

*Accept grant from Metro for $500,000 for the Eastbank Crescent/OMSI Environmental Mitigation Bank Pilot Project

Passed

The City of Portland ordains:

Section 1. The Council finds:

  1. Environmental mitigation banking is a complex and highly regulated tool allowing industrial and other development to compensate for legally-allowed environmental impacts by buying credits from a third party that has preserved, enhanced, or created habitat conservation areas in a similar ecosystem. Purchasing credits allows a development to proceed without resulting in a net loss of natural resources. 
  2. The City has considered mitigation banking in many different planning efforts and for regulatory compliance efforts but has never had sufficient resources to address the financing, governance, and long-term administration of a bank. At the repeated request of private development and conservation stakeholders, Commissioner Mapps, as the Commissioner-in-Charge of the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), established a multi-bureau working group to make recommendations to overcome some of these challenges and, in the FY23 budget, secured Special Appropriations funding to dedicate a limited-term employee to advance the concept and pursue a pilot project.
  3. The City identified the Eastbank Crescent area of the Willamette River, along the riverbank between the Hawthorne and Marquam Bridges, as a potential environmental mitigation site. A preliminary concept plan was approved by the Council in 2017 via Resolution No. 37294. The site is owned by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and is adjacent to the publicly-owned Hollman dock and adjoining beach area.
  4. The City is partnering with OMSI and the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission (CRTIFC) to incorporate the mitigation bank concept into the development of OMSI’s Waterfront Education Park and to support the Center for Tribal Nations connection to the river. 
  5. As authorized by Ordinance No. 191397, BES applied for Metro’s 2040 Planning and Development grant, seeking $500,000 to advance the Eastbank Crescent Environmental Mitigation Bank pilot project to 30% design engineering, which would allow the City to initiate the regulatory approval process.
  6. On March 7, 2024, the Metro Council approved Resolution 24-5386 awarding the grant.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

  1. The Mayor is hereby authorized to accept on behalf of the City a grant from Metro for the Eastbank Crescent Environmental Mitigation Bank Pilot project in the amount of $500,000 and to execute the Metro Grant Intergovernmental Agreement in Exhibit A.
  2. The Office of Management & Finance Grants Management Division is authorized to perform all administrative matters in relation to the grant application, grant agreement or amendments, requests for reimbursement from the grantor, and to submit required online grant documents on the Mayor’s behalf.
  3. The Director of the Bureau of Environmental Services is authorized to accept on behalf of the City any subsequent modifications by Metro for the Eastbank Crescent Environmental Mitigation Bank Pilot, provided such modifications do not increase the City’s financial obligation or risk. Any modifications that increase the City’s financial obligation or risk must be authorized by the Council.

Section 2. The Council declares that an emergency exists because a delay would interfere with the City's ability to perform the activities authorized by the grant; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.

An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)

Passed by Council

Auditor of the City of Portland
Simone Rede

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

This project is intended to advance the concept of environmental mitigation banking in Portland. Environmental mitigation banks will support private and public development. Mitigation banking was initially proposed by Portland in 2010 to support industrial development in the Willamette River. 
Metro Regional Government collects an excise tax which is used to support economic development through the 2040 Planning and Development Grant process. In 2023, Metro included a new category for Industrial Development, requesting proposals that supported development or addressed barriers to industrial development. Environmental mitigation banking is specifically designed to address regulatory barriers while improving environmental outcomes. 

The City of Portland has been working collaboratively with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Columbia Intertribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) to further the development of an environmental mitigation bank on the north section of OMSI’s waterfront, known as the Eastbank Crescent Environmental Mitigation Bank Pilot. 

Metro formally awarded the City a $500,000 grant to advance the project to 30% design. This will represent the most significant progress on this site since Council approved the concept plans in 2017. This ordinance grants the authority to BES to accept the grant. 

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

There will be $500,000 in new grant revenue, to be spent over the 2-year grant period. The grant does not require cash match, however the City is utilizing remaining FY23 Special Appropriations funding which has been carried over to FY25 to support this grant. This grant will be administered by existing staff within the Bureau of Environmental Services, utilizing existing program resources, and will require no additional financial commitments.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

The Eastbank Crescent concept plan was developed in 2016 by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Prosper Portland. To develop the concept, BPS led an extensive public engagement process. Council accepted the concept plan in June, 2017. Immediately following approval, the City of Portland partnered with Oregon Museum of Science to incorporate the concept plan into its development plans, utilizing OMSI’s extensive engagement process including its partnership with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) to establish an Indigenous Advisory committee that greatly influenced OMSI’s Central City Master Plan. OMSI’s Central City Master Plan, which was approved by the Portland Design Commission in 2023, included plans for a continuous Waterfront Education Park and identified the Eastbank Crescent area as a future restoration area or potential mitigation bank. 

As part of the Metro Grant and to advance development of the Eastbank Crescent Mitigation Bank, BES, OMSI and CRITC intend to develop a Memorandum of Agreement to co-create the Eastbank Crescent Mitigation Bank as a key element of the overall Waterfront Education Park, centering Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Culture in the design of the mitigation bank.
In addition, because mitigation banks are highly regulated, the City of Portland has convened quarterly meetings with federal, state and local regulators to work through regulatory challenges with urban mitigation banks. 

The partners, led by the City, will continue to pursue additional funding opportunities to advance the designs from 30% to Construction with an intent to begin construction in 2027. Additional public, stakeholder, and partner engagement will continue throughout the design process.

More broadly, as part of the development of mitigation banking, the Bureau of Environmental Services commissioned a first-of-its-kind equity analysis of mitigation banking and has proposed an equity index to ensure environmentally burdened communities receive the environmental benefits from mitigation banking. The equity index assessed impacts from industrial development in the Willamette River and found that the Eastbank Crescent mitigation site provided environmental benefits to similarly situated environmentally burdened neighborhoods of Portland. 

100% Renewable Goal

While this project does not contribute to the City’s goal of meeting the 100% community wide energy needs, it is a project captured by the 2022-2025 Climate Emergency Workplan. In addition to providing additional flood storage and habitat for fish and wildlife, the 30% project design will explore ways to enhance carbon sequestration in the project design, construction and long-term operations and maintenance.

Agenda Items

329 Consent Agenda in April 24-25, 2024 Council Agenda

Passed

  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea

Requested Agenda Type

Consent

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date