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What is Sustainability?


 The Oregon Sustainability Act of 2001 (ORS 184.421) defines sustainability as "using resources in a manner that enables people to meet their current needs while allowing for future generations to meet their needs."

Sustainability is a uniquely broad and long-term concept that addresses quality of life and efficiency concerns. It takes into account both local and global views, applying a timeframe that considers costs and benefits over lifetimes rather than one- or two-year cycles. Sustainability is an important consideration for agency decision-making - both for internal state agency operations as well as the mission-related activities of agencies. Incorporating sustainability into decision-making can have positive effects for stakeholder relations, for the bottom line, and for the natural resources of the state.

Sustainability As A Core ODOT Value

Sustainability was added to ODOT's Value Statements in 2010. The current Sustainability Value reads: We balance economic, environmental and community well-being in a manner that protects the needs of current and future generations.

Sustainability in ODOT Policies

Goal 4 of the Oregon Transportation Plan is Sustainability and calls for providing a transportation system that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, distributes benefits and burdens fairly, and is operated, maintained and improved to be sensitive to both the natural and built environments. 

Sustainability Mandates in Oregon

There are various directives that require ODOT to incorporate sustainability into its operations:

The Oregon Sustainability Act was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in 2001 (ORS 184.421) and provides state agencies with 10 objectives for conducting their internal operations and 10 objectives for carrying out their missions to support sustainable communities. Further, it created the Oregon Sustainability Board to provide oversight to sustainability efforts in the state.

Executive Order 06-02 ("Sustainability for the 21st Century") re-energized the sustainability agenda in the state by reaffirming the agency sustainability planning process and creating several interagency teams to address specific sustainability initiatives such as greenhouse gases, purchasing, electronic waste, and energy. This executive order also addressed sustainability in the private sector and in Oregon's University System. Finally, it reauthorized the Oregon Sustainability Board.

Oregon Sustainability Board

The Oregon Sustainability Board, created in 2001 under the Oregon Sustainability Act, encourages activities that best sustain, protect and enhance the environment, economy, and community for the present and future benefit of Oregonians. The Governor appoints Board members who represent a variety of stakeholders in Oregon.