The Intertwine Alliance is tracking this year's rapidly moving Oregon State Legislative session. Below is legislation that we support and are working to advance.
Our goal is to keep this page updated with opportunities for partners and friends to engage. Let's mobilize for policy that benefits nature and our communities!
We're keeping an eye on other bills not listed here, but so far, The Intertwine Alliance supports:
Senate Bill 530, Natural Climate Solutions
Senate Bill 775, Equitable Representation on Soil & Water Conservation Districts Boards
House Bill 3016, Community Green Infrastructure
House Bill 3159, Recovering Oregon's Wildlife Fund
House Bill 3515, Regarding Park and Recreation Special Districts
Please read on for info and emerging action alerts for each.
NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS
Senate Bill 530
SB 530 advances natural climate solutions critical for fighting climate change and protecting our forests, farms, grasslands and wetlands.
Natural climate solutions include:
- Planting more trees in urban areas
- Protecting and recovering watersheds and wetlands
- Planting cover crops on agricultural lands
- Lengthened logging rotations on private lands
- Protecting mature and old-growth forests on public lands
- Protecting coastal communities from storm surge and flooding
These practices offer proven solutions for reducing climate change impacts by keeping carbon stored in our living ecosystems instead of the atmosphere. As we contend with increasing drought, heatwaves, flooding and fires, these solutions will be critical in offsetting climate impacts. Important co-benefits include protecting fish and wildlife habitat, as well as clean and abundant water for communities.
Portland Audubon provides additional information, advocacy talking/writing points, and more here.
EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION on Soil & Water Conservation District boards
Senate Bill 775
SB 775, relating to urban Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) zone director eligibility, was introduced to the Senate Committee on Rules by Sen. Lew Frederick. It currently has no co-sponsors and does not yet have a hearing date. Current requirements for SWCD zone directors are inequitable because they are tied to requirements of land ownership.
Currently, state law limits the eligibility of SWCD zone directors to those who own or manage at least 10 acres of land. This requirement is a barrier to leadership opportunities for urban residents, tenants, conservationists who don’t own land, and people of color who continue to be burdened by a legacy of exclusionary laws. Several SWCDs in Oregon with urban populations are funded through local property tax levies, but the majority of taxpayers in these settings are not eligible to run for SWCD zone director positions. Zone directors represent the majority of the board for most SWCDs, and these positions set policy, and make budgetary and financial decisions governing millions of dollars per year.
Members of the Senate Rules Committee need to hear from their constituents and others about the importance of this bill. Please reach out to the following senators if you know them, are in their districts, and/or let others you know in their districts contact them to show support:
Committee Chair Sen. Kate Lieber (D - Beaverton, Aloha and parts of Washington and Multnomah counties)
Committee Vice Chair Sen. Tim Knopp (R - Bend, Redmond, Tumalo and Sisters)
Committee Member Sen. Bill Hansell (R - Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman and parts of Wasco counties)
Committee Member Sen. James I Manning Jr (D - North/West Eugene, Veneta)
Committee Member Elizabeth Steiner (D - NW Portland, Beaverton)
In 2019, a parallel bill was introduced by Rep Rob Nosse (D - Portland), but it died in committee due to opposition, in part because it applied to all SWCDs statewide. This bill focuses on districts with larger urban populations.
To ensure that SB 775 has a fair chance of passage, we must first get a public hearing scheduled in the Senate Rules Committee. To request a hearing, advocates should reach out to Committee Chair Senator Kate Lieber AND to bill sponsor Senator Lew Frederick at Sen.KateLieber@oregonlegislature.gov and Sen.LewFrederick@oregonlegislature.gov.
Please consider other individuals, groups and advocates who may be interested in supporting this bill and send them this information.
COMMUNITY GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
House Bill 3016
HB 3016 allocates funding to support green infrastructure projects and workforce development to address climate change and build community resilience. Developed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and urban tree canopy expert Dr. Vivek Shandas at Portland State University, the legislation is modeled after Washington State's Evergreen Communities Act.
Intertwine Alliance partner Urban Greenspaces Institute is working with a broad coalition of urban tree canopy advocates to help develop and advance this important legislation.
RECOVERING OREGON'S WILDLIFE FUND
House Bill 3159
HB 3159, Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund, secures dedicated, sustainable funding for the implementation of Oregon’s Conservation
and Nearshore Strategy. Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund utilizes a 1.5% increase to Oregon’s state transient lodging tax, one of the lowest state lodging taxes in the nation, to offset impacts from tourism and other natural and manmade impacts to Oregon’s landscapes, wildlife, and fish.
At the request of Congress, Oregon developed a State Wildlife Action Plan in 2005 to assess the health of Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitat and create a roadmap of conservation actions needed to sustain them. Known as the Oregon Conservation Strategy and Nearshore Strategy, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has identified at least 294 species of greatest conservation need and 11 native habitats needing proactive restoration actions. However, the current funds available for implementing the Oregon Conservation Strategy and Nearshore Strategy is only a small fraction of what is required to recover our state’s most at-risk fish and wildlife.
ODFW estimates it would cost $25 million per year to implement just 50% of the identified conservation actions in the Oregon Conservation and Nearshore Strategy. The Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund would generate approximately $30 million a year. It's a bold, proactive solution that will directly help at-risk species.
A small governance change with BIG POSSIBILITIES FOR PARKS
House Bill 3515
Our region sorely needs more flexible and stable funding options for parks and recreation. One such funding mechanism is the park and recreation special district. These districts can be an effective governance option to provide critical park and recreation services, but under current law, a city council is not allowed to be the governing body.
HB 3515 would amend ORS 266 to allow a city governance option for a park and recreation special district in cities with populations over 600,000.
This bill would lay the foundation for the City of Portland and other larger cities in our region to pursue park and recreation special districts -- which we think are an important strategy to stabilize parks over the long haul.