Staff from across the County worked with the City of Portland and experts from around the country to develop the Climate Change Preparation Strategy and associated Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment. The Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment explores the risks that climate change poses to community health, public infrastructure, and the natural environment, while the Climate Change Preparation Strategy identifies a set of actions to strengthen our community against these vulnerabilities. The recommended actions are grouped into eleven objectives to be met by 2030. These objectives address three main action areas: hotter, drier summers, warmer winters with increased likelihood of intense rain events, and building greater capacity to prepare for and respond to climate change.

Download these documents here, or at the bottom of the page:

Climate Change Preparation Strategy: Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment (1.42 MB)

Climate Change Preparation Strategy (2.43 MB)

What is Climate Change Preparation?

Venn Diagram Climate Mitigation vs Preparation
Climate Preparation and Climate Mitigation are Different but Overlapping

Climate change preparation is about getting our people and institutions ready for those changes that are already expected to occur. Preparation includes activities like flood management, establishing cooling centers for extreme heat events, and monitoring and control of disease vectors like mosquitoes. Climate change mitigation, however, focuses on policies and actions that reduce carbon emissions to limit future harm. Mitigation includes improving energy efficiency, reducing car travel, and increasing the use of alternative transportation like bus, bike, and rail. In 2009 the City and County adopted the Climate Action Plan, which outlines steps to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. There is some overlap between mitigation and preparation, with some actions touching on both, like home weatherization and construction of ecoroofs. The Climate Change Preparation Strategy recommends many of these overlapping actions in addition to more specific preparation measures so that our community can successfully adapt to changes that are already happening and those that are expected to occur in the future. 

What changes are already happening?

Some of the changes to our climate are already noticeable. Average temperatures in the Pacific Northwest have increased by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. Less snowpack and earlier spring melt are decreasing summer river and stream flow, with potential impacts for the ecological community. These and other effects of climate change are likely to worsen over time, making it only more important to prepare ourselves and our communities for continued impacts.

What changes can our community expect from Climate Change?

In our region we expect climate change to result in hotter, drier summers with increased likelihood of extreme heat events and warmer winters with more intense rain events and increased likelihood of flooding and landslides.

The Climate Change Preparation Strategy and associated Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment demonstrate these risks in more detail and propose several policies to reduce these risks. For more detail click on the images below to download the attached documents.

Climate Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment Cover Page