Climate Resilience Planning in Lane County, Oregon
Lane County, Oregon is located on the western side of Oregon and stretches from the Three Sisters mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It is home to a diverse population in both rural and urban settings. In mid-2020 Beyond Toxics and NAACP Eugene/Springfield established a Climate Equity and Resilience Task Force. Comprised of community representatives and stakeholders who live and work with diverse and underrepresented communities in Lane County. their role was to ensure that the actions developed by the County in their Climate Action Plan were equitable.
This effort provides a unique opportunity to see a successful collaboration between local government and community organizations. Both entities were committed to finding a pathway for community input, insights, and expertise in the County’s formal planning process. Beyond Toxics produced a countywide vulnerability assessment as a starting point. Next came developing meaningful strategies that incorporated community input while also reflecting the realities of Lane County staff and resources.
Recognizing the different and specific expertise in County departments and in the community, the strategy development phase used a novel approach. Of the vulnerabilities identified in the assessment, Beyond Toxics focused on those with a direct impact on the daily lives of the community. They hosted a larger strategy development workshop focused on these vulnerabilities for community members. Then followed that with 3 additional regional workshops and direct conversations with stakeholders. The resulting list of strategies was provided to Lane County and most were taken up in their draft plan!
The strategies report also includes information about other ideas and approaches, as well as details around equity implications and co-benefits of the community recommendations. Overall this project is a successful example of community engagement across and large and diverse county.
Our team provided technical support to this effort from the climate projections through strategy development. We helped with virtual and in-person workshop development and facilitation, as well as report drafting and editing.