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Climate Office

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The ODOT Climate Office mission is to identify and pursue actions that reduce transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The office is also charged with helping the agency understand, prepare and respond to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

The Climate Office leads ODOT’s effort to track and follow the strategies outlined in the Statewide Transportation Strategy (STS): A 2050 Vision for Greenhouse Gas Reduction, and fulfill Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order to reduce GHG emissions in Oregon.

Why do we need a climate office?

In Oregon, about 40 percent of total GHG emissions come from transportation. Because emissions are one of the biggest contributors to climate change, ODOT plays an important leadership role in reducing GHG output. 

Oregon’s climate is already changing. More frequent and intense wildfires, floods, landslides, heat waves, winter storms and other extreme weather events across the state are challenging our transportation system. ODOT is taking action by reducing GHGs from transportation, and by making important changes to the system that enhance preparation, response and recovery from these events. 

leafcharge.jpgWhat does the Climate Office do?

The Climate Office is responsible for integrating climate considerations into ODOT business and transportation systems. The office works across ODOT Divisions, with other state agencies, local jurisdictions, and the public in this work. Mitigation work focuses on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, including transportation electrification and implementing State directives. Adaptation work focuses on preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change to transportation infrastructure. The office’s Sustainability Program conserves resources, such as water and energy in ODOT business and operations, and includes efforts like the Oregon Solar Highways Program. The Climate Office also supports legislative and Governor’s Office directives related to climate change mitigation, adaptation or sustainability.



Transitioning to electric commercial fleets, public transit systems, and personal vehicles is one of the best ways to reduce emissions from transportation quickly. ODOT is a leader in facilitating the electrification of our transportation system and has set a goal to triple the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on Oregon roads by 2023. In addition, the agency continues to lead efforts to expand EV charging infrastructure by 10-percent state-wide by the end of 2025. 

The number of EVs on our roads is increasing. The Transportation Electrification Infrastructure Needs Analysis highlights how we can meet and support growing demand through ambitious and strategic charging infrastructure improvements. 

If you are interested in EVs, check out  programs like Go Electric Oregon that help make them more affordable, and explore the updates to the West Coast Electric Highway that expand charging options for EV drivers across Oregon.

Mitigation actions (like reducing GHG emissions from transportation) include doing our part to slow the pace of climate change and reduce its negative impacts. Some of these efforts include minimizing emissions when we build roads or repair them; incentivizing car travel alternatives like public transit and biking/walking; and coordinating with other agencies to make progress on our emission reduction goals. 

Greenhouse gas lens
The Climate Office is developing a “climate lens” to apply when considering statewide transportation improvements. This lens is applied at each project stage, helping decision-makers reduce GHGs by changing how we plan, invest, design, and maintain the system.  

Every Mile Counts
State agencies have to work together to meaningfully reduce emissions. Every Mile Counts​ is a two-year work plan that specifically targets cleaner vehicles and fuels, reducing drive-alone trips, and local planning for pollution reduction. The rolling work plan is carried out in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Energy, Department of Environmental Quality, and Department of Land Conservation & Development. It is part of a broader effort at ODOT to track and implement the Statewide Transportation Strategy.  

Adaptation actions are adjustments that we make to prepare for and flexibly respond to changes in climate. These actions help our transportation system put up with extreme weather. A stronger system is also quicker and easier for us to repair, should weather damage it. 

Climate Resilience Planning
The Climate Office is working with groups in and outside the agency to create a climate resilience plan. The plan will provide specific strategies across all of ODOT’s activities for reducing negative impacts and enhancing the system’s ability to prepare, respond, and “bounce back” after an event. This may include improving communications and interagency collaboration, collecting more and different information about climate impacts to the transportation system, and updating infrastructure to withstand more frequent and intense hazardous weather events.

Fact Sheets: How ODOT is Responding to Climate Change Challenges 
Check out these fact sheets to learn how landslides, coastal erosion, wildfire, flooding, and winter storms are already affecting our transportation system, and what ODOT is doing to adapt.


​Oregon's Governor and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) have made it clear: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a critical near-term priority. In response to Executive Order 20-04, ODOT will develop and apply a process for considering the GHG emissions of transportation projects as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP guides transportation investments, and planning for the current 2024-2027 STIP is well underway.

ODOT will consider GHG emissions during key phases of STIP decision-making: 1) when funding is allocated between investment programs, 2) as project lists are compiled and narrowed, and 3) at the final STIP. This effort will establish an emissions baseline and provide the data and decision-support tools that inform investment tradeoffs, such as balancing important outcomes like climate, equity, safety and the economy. The agency will strive to report overall GHG reductions from STIP emissions. 

ODOT has moved quickly to integrate climate considerations into the current STIP – and with tangible results. In January 2020, the OTC approved STIP funding that significantly increased investments in our Active and Public Transportation (non-highway) programs.

Phase 1 – 2024-2027 STIP Scenario Analysis Report.pdf 
Phase 1 – ​CO_STIP_GHG_Phase1_ReportAddendum.pdf

This work is new and challenging. ODOT will capture lessons learned and use these to make adjustments and improve the process going forward. ODOT will submit a progress report to the Governor's Office by June 30, 2021. Other updates on this effort will be posted as they become available.

ODOT STIP GHG Evaluation Process-June 2021

  • ​​Every Mile Counts Plan
    This plan is a multi-agency effort to prioritize, track, and reach short term greenhouse gas reduction goals that are aligned with key elements of the Statewide Transportation Strategy.
  • ​Electric Vehicles and EV Infrastructure
    This webpage provides information and links to several EV resources, including charging station maps, funding opportunities for cities and states to upgrade infrastructure, and more.
  • ​ODOT Sustainability Program
    This webpage outlines the sustainability focused priorities and specific sustainability initiatives that ODOT takes in its own operations.
 

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The Climate Office works to advance:

  • Transportation electrification, including electric vehicle and charging infrastructure access
  • Mitigation: decreasing the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
  • Adaptation: preparing the transportation system to withstand the effects of climate change.
  • Sustainable practices that blend environmental, social, and economic benefits for all Oregonians.


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Contacts

EmailEmailEmailEmailSuzanne Carlson, Director
Telephone (503) 986-3919

EmailEmailEmailEmailMary Brazell,Transportation Electrification Program Manager
Telephone (503) 986-3839

EmailEmailEmailEmailGeoff Crook, Policy Lead
Telephone (503) 986-3425

EmailEmailEmailEmailZechariah Heck, Sustainability Program Manager
Telephone (503) 986-4261

EmailEmailEmailEmailBrian Hurley, Mitigation Program Manager
Telephone (503) 986-4398

EmailEmailEmailEmailKatherine Silva, Adaptation Program Manager
Telephone (503) 986-3495

EmailEmailEmailEmailTara Weidner, Climate Impact Program Lead
Telephone (503) 986-4226

EmailEmailEmailEmailMatt Noble, Media Contact, ODOT Communications
Telephone (503) 779-9868

Questions, comments, or concerns Climate Office

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