Building Climate Resiliency in the Lower Willamette Region of Western Oregon: A Report on Stakeholder Findings and Recommendations
The Lower Willamette region of western Oregon will face significant impacts across its natural, built, economic, human, and cultural systems as a result of increasing temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and loss of snowpack. Climate change will challenge decision makers due to the complex interactions and linkages between changing climatic patterns, biological systems, and socioeconomic factors and the present uncertainties inherent in modeling projections. It is essential that global and local action be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; even so, the existing level of emissions in the atmosphere will continue to cause considerable changes to the climate for the next 50 to 100 years. As temperatures rise, changes in climate patterns affect land and water resources and the plants, animals, and humans that rely on them.
To address these challenges, the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) conducted a series of workshops in 2010 called Climate Futures Forums in the Mid and Lower Willamette region of Western Oregon (collectively referred to as the Lower Willamette in this report). Over 200 stakeholders were involved, with expertise in natural, built, economic, human, and cultural systems. CLI’s intent in initiating this project was to inform those responsible for developing climate mitigation and preparedness strategies with the combined wisdom of professionals representing multiple disciplines and with deep experience in the Lower Willamette region.
Workshop participants were asked to: 1) assess local climate projections provided by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) and Portland State University (PSU); 2) identify impacts across systems and sectors; 3) propose strategies to prepare for the projected changes; and 4) provide a vision of what the Lower Willamette would look like by mid-century should the recommendations be implemented. This report summarizes the results of the Climate Futures Forums.