WashCo Dems Call to Action: Help Washington County Create A Climate Action Plan!

text reading A Call To Action

The Washington County Board of Commissioners needs to hear from you about creating a climate action plan! Despite having 3 Democrats (enough to have a majority for any vote) the commission is dragging its heels in getting started on creating a climate action plan, and are considering not making plans to reduce emissions.

I know you care about climate change and understand that we don’t have time to wait. So I’m asking you to join me in these 4 actions:

Here’s 4 Ways that You can Help!

1. Send an email either in your own words or based on the text we provide below. (Best window begins now, and no later than March 6 – you could email more than once).

2. Give oral testimony on 2/21 or 2/28 at the 10 am Board of Commissioners Meeting – in person or virtual (How to Testify) 2 min per person, 5 min for a group

3. Attend Budget Town Hall meeting 2/23 at 6pm (We suggest asking for budget creativity to prioritize the Climate Action Plan. We acknowledge the general budget challenges, but this is a priority that we must address urgently.)

4. Ask your friends/family/colleagues to also take the above actions 1-3.

    • Seriously, forward this message and text someone asking them to join you in these actions.

Our sample letter for your use is below with more context and talking points.

Hot tip:

Share your own story (as long as it’s not too emotionally taxing, it is emotional labor). Politicians want to know why this matters, and your story might just move their heart – certainly more than a fact could – add facts too if you like.

Sample Email Comment

Subject Line – We must Adapt AND Mitigate. Washington County needs a Climate Action Plan, Now!

Dear Commissioners:

As leaders of one of the largest counties in Oregon, you have a huge role to play and I trust that you want to be leading the way on our community’s climate resilience strategy. I believe Washington County needs a strong, comprehensive climate action plan to effectively manage this crisis, led by people on the frontlines of climate impacts. That plan must address both climate mitigation and adaptation.

I’m a resident of Washington County. [insert a personal statement/story about why addressing climate change matters to you, and a little about yourself if you’d like].

As you know, people in Washington County are already dying due to climate disasters, as witnessed during now annual extreme heat events. We’re experiencing longer wildfire seasons with increasing exposure to smoke and higher risks to health and safety. We’re expecting large reductions in streamflows which will compound the effects of heat and drought in our region. All of these are directly impacted by carbon emissions.

Mitigation and adaptation are not mutually exclusive efforts and costs – there are many programs like building efficiency upgrades that serve to reduce carbon emissions significantly (mitigation) while also making those buildings more livable during extreme climate events (adaptation), and at the same time reduce health care costs (e.g. reduced rates of asthma when heating is electrified).  The county also plays a critical role in coordinating cities and within the county, including during climate disasters, and should be working in coordination with other efforts to maximize their impact in reducing emissions while helping our community transition to a clean energy future.

A comprehensive climate action plan for Washington County is a prerequisite to identifying these creative solutions and securing certain types of federal and state investment which the county will need to enact the plan. A plan will enable the county to prioritize our largest sources of emissions, and ensure that we take advantage of the current opportunity, supported by federal incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), to make our county more resilient to future risks and costs. Given budget concern, it’s appropriate to reappropriate other departmental funds and staff time to support a Climate Action Plan.  A pound of creative investment at this stage can avoid a ton of crisis management costs.

We absolutely must prepare our community members for the climate impacts to come, but we can’t adapt our way out of this crisis.


(Your Name)

For more information, please visit 350.org