View a PDF of the Multnomah County Sustainability Timeline.
On September 20, 2012 the Board of County Commissioners adopted the Healthy Purchasing Initiative (HPI). This pilot program is a joint effort among Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the Oregon Environmental Council and leaders in the green industry. The HPI calls for vendors and manufacturers to disclose potentially hazardous chemicals in cleaning and office supplies, building products and materials when doing business with the county and city.
In 2012, the Sustainable Jail Project was launched by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Inspired by the Washington State Sustainable Prison Project, the Multnomah County Sheriffs' Office developed the Sustainable Jail Project as a roadmap to more efficient, cost effective operations that protect the environment, support the local economy, and reduce recidivism rates.
The Vehicle Idling Reduction Policy was adopted to help protect public health and the environment by reducing emissions of air toxins by reducing idling of County Fleet and vendor vehicles. This policy will lead to financial savings by reducing fuel consumption and engine wear as well.
In March 2010, the Multnomah County Health Department was awarded a $7.5 million health prevention grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which led to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners' launch of the Health Department’s “A Healthy Active Multnomah County: It Starts Here” campaign at its board meeting with the presentation of a resolution. The It Starts Here” campaignhas held a series of community education efforts, as well as providing worksite wellness recommendations for Multnomah County employees. Community-wide health promotion campaigns have been found to positively affect health practices when executed in conjunction with policy efforts and local public health initiatives.
A Sustainable Purchasing Policy was adopted by Multnomah County on July 1, 2010, and amended on February 7, 2011 to include Social Equity, and Employee Healthcare and Other Benefits. This new policy demonstrates support for better business practices by integrating environmental stewardship and social equity, alongside fiscal responsibility, into the procurement process. The County seeks to partner with Proposers who demonstrate a commitment to these considerations. It is expected that the successful Proposer shall incorporate sustainable practices into daily business operations and shall continue to do so while meeting the requirements of the contract resulting from the procurement.
Green Meeting and Event Policy passed in 2010 aimed to establish best practices for hosting green meetings and events at the County. Intentional green meetings and events ensure that all aspects of an event, including its location, food services, transportation and the provision of materials are approached with the goals of minimizing any negative impact on the environment and saving the County money. A checklist for employees to use in planning meetings and addresses specific considerations like composting food waste, offering local and organic food choices, using durable or compostable service ware, providing participants with tap water and increasing informational resources to further promote mass transit to county meetings is provided. Visit the policy's page for more information.
The Take Back the Tap Campaign and subsequent resolution was launched on October 14, 2010 when the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted to ban the purchase of bottled water with taxpayer funds. Commissioner Willer sponsored the campaign in partnership with Food & Water Watch. The campaign's message is simple: local tap water is the smart choice over bottled water or soda. Read the official press release.
The Food Action Plan "Grow and Thrive 2025 " a 15-year plan, released in 2010, that addresses a growing concern regarding the vast issues around food that people face in Oregon and Multnomah County. The main goal of the action plan is to create a sustainable food system that is affordable and healthy, based off a strategy of collaborative action and community participation.
The Advisory Committee on Sustainability & Innovation (ACSI)was formed in 2010 to provide advice and advocacy to Multnomah County on sustainability issues affecting our community, the environment, and the economy. Members of the ACSI provide recommendations on implementing the 2009 Climate Action Plan, sustainable government operations, improving social equity, and promoting a healthy, prosperous and resilient community. Members will also evaluate proposals for innovations in technology and business processes that may be applicable to county operations. The ACSI meets on a quarterly basis and all ACSI meetings are open to the public and welcome community participation. Meeting announcements and minutes are posted on this page.
Passed in 2009, the NutritionalLabeling Act requires restaurants with at least 15 or more outlets to post calorie counts on menus, menu boards and drive-through menu boards. It also requires restaurants to provide customers with information about saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates and sodium upon request at the point of ordering. Multnomah County hopes that making nutrition information easily available to consumers at the point of ordering will enable them to make healthier choices.
Climate Action Plan : In 2009 the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and the City of Portland unanimously adopted the 2009 Climate Action Plan to serve as a 40-year roadmap for the institutional and individual change needed to affect climate change. Our vision is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. Eighteen objectives in eight different categories light the path toward the year 2030. Of particular interest to County suppliers are:
Objective 16 wherein Multnomah County will encourage residents and businesses to change their behavior in ways that reduce carbon emissions, and
Objective 18 which requires that City and County operations reduce carbon emissions by 50% from 1990 levels. Future procurement decisions will not only take the carbon emissions of the goods we buy into consideration, but also the sustainable practices of the business we buy goods and services from.
Local Purchasing Policy: In the purchase or lease of any personal property, public improvements or services, Multnomah County shall prefer goods or services that have been manufactured or produced in this state if price, fitness, availability and quality are otherwise equal.
Green Jobs Resolution: Green jobs are defined as jobs that contribute significantly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality; provide career pathways and family wage jobs for all workers; and emphasize community-based investments that cannot be outsourced. This resolution adopts the "Local Government Green Jobs Pledge."
Solar Installations on County Facilities : By Resolution 07-125, adopted June 28,2007, the Board resolved to collaborate with Energy Trust of Oregon, Inc. (Energy Trust) on a series of solar energy production projects sited on County facilities with a goal of generating at least 1,000,000 kWh per year of renewable electricity from County owned buildings and properties by the end of 2010. Through Resolution 08-096 the County authorized use of County property for the installation of solar facilities to provide solar generated energy to County facilities. This project was hailed as the largest solar power project in Oregon and helped build the local market for green energy.
The Cool Counties Resolution , in partnership with Clackamas County, Multnomah adopted the 2050 climate stabilization goal, thus pledging to take immediate steps to help the federal, state, and local governments to achieve this ambitious goal.
LEED Gold and High Performance Green Building Policy: Adopting a LEED Gold and High Performance Green Building Policy for Multnomah County and Repealing Resolution 04-178. The resolution states that performance green building practices shall be utilized for all Multnomah County building construction and major renovation projects 10,000 square feet and greater. Multnomah County will strive for the highest level of LEED certification whenever practicable, and if costs to achieve the highest level of LEED certification are over 3% of the entire cost, the project will be brought to the Board for approval.
Cell Phone Recycling: Facilities and Property Management and the Sustainability Program are directed to establish a cellular phone recycling program. They will develop and issue a Competitive Proposal Quote for Goods and Services (CPQ) every two years for a program that maintains on-going cellular phone collection containers in select high-traffic public buildings and facilitates an annual cellular phone collection event in at least eleven county buildings.
County Digs : Resolution to create a “County Digs” Project (“Project”) which identifies County-owned property suitable for urban agriculture and makes the property available to the public through property transfer or long-term lease for agriculture purposes.
Benzene Reduction Policy:Resolution to reduce benzene vapors by requiring county vehicle operators to limit idling time to no more than one minute whenever reasonably possible, and prohibit topping off at county-owned fuel stations.
Toxic Reduction Strategy: Resolution to adopt the Toxic Reduction Strategy, a plan for minimizing toxic substances of concern in government operations by using the Precautionary Principle.
A Waste Prevention and Recycling Plan was adopted in 2005 to facilitate earlier recycling goals and direct waste prevention for County Facilities. This plan identified long-term goals and provided guidance for all County departments.
Green Cleaning Policy: Resolution to reduce exposure of building occupants and custodial personnel to potentially hazardous chemical contaminants. The policy outlines requirements for cleaning products and custodial services, the use of Green Seal standards as guidance.
Paint and Paper Purchasing Policy: Citing the Sustainable Procurement Strategy as a precedent, a joint team of Multnomah County and the City of Portland called for simple steps in executing that strategy: Reduce paper consumption 10% by 2005 and 15% by 2008, largely through the use of duplex printing; state a preference for post consumer recycled paper that is processed chlorine free and raise the requirement on post consumer recycled content to 50% by 2005; use reblended latex paints when latex paint is specified.
Sustainable Procurement Strategy:Multnomah County collaborated with the City of Portland in the development of guidelines to balance economic issues with issues related to environmental health as well as social equity when using public finds for purchases. The strategy provides a blueprint to implement sustainable procurement and decision makers are directed to use full life cycle costing in the procurement process. The policy acknowledges the power of public procurement and the value of an adaptive and varied local economy.
The Amy Joslin Memorial Eco-Roof at County headquarters was dedicated on November 10, 2005 in honor of Ms. Joslin's commitment to sustainability and her leadership in the development of the eco-roof. Read about this eco-roof and others.
National Pollution Prevention Week was held in 2004 in recognition of the work that has been done to date by Multnomah County and the City of Portland to support reduction and elimination of public and environmental exposures to toxic pollutants. Workgroups were created a to work on a Toxic Reduction Strategy for government operations using the precautionary principle.
Travel Smart - Employee Commute Options: Resolution to accept the recommendations of the ECOpark committee as outlined in the “Travel Smart” document dated December 28, 2001.
Global Warming Action Plan: Approving Adoption of a Joint City of Portland and Multnomah County Local Action Plan on Global Warming to Promote a Sustainable Future by Reducing Total Multnomah County Emissions of Greenhouse Gases by Ten Percent from 1990 Levels by 2010.
Sustainability Initiative: Since 2001, Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability has led the county’s efforts to adopt sustainable internal government operations and works to support sustainability efforts in the community.
Green Power Purchases: Citing the pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels, Earth Day advocates challenged all local governments to purchase 1% of their power from a renewable source. The policy highlighted the relatively low impact of hydroelectric facilities and the near zero impact of wind power. The County began purchasing renewable energy from PacifiCorp and General Electric the day after Earth Day 2000.
Recycled Materials Purchasing was adopted by the County in 1996. Multnomah County realized that creating a strong market for recycled products is key to being a leader of environmental stewardship.