The city of Bend’s environmental and climate committee is looking at possibly recommending an emergency climate resolution to the Bend City Council.
On Thursday, Kavi Chokshi, a member of the committee working to help further the city’s climate-related goals, pitched the idea in a virtual meeting.
“We are already living in a climate emergency,” Chokshi said. “The city of Bend should declare it.”
The idea is prompted in part because of recent events like worsening wildfire smoke and June’s record-breaking heat wave, Chokshi said.
Details about what exactly a resolution would say, or what the tangible impacts of a resolution like this would be, have yet to be discussed. The committee will discuss these details in a meeting next month. If the committee chooses to move forward with the idea, then it would recommend the resolution to the City Council, which would vote to formally adopt the resolution or not.
Bend would not be alone in having one if the council chose to pursue it. Two cities in Oregon and one organization — the Oregon Coast Visitors Association — have made similar declarations since January of last year.
Internationally, more than 2,000 cities and jurisdictions have adopted similar resolutions, Chokshi said.
The committee is already tasked with researching and prioritizing goals from the council’s recently adopted community climate action plan. A climate emergency resolution, however, could be used to stand in solidarity with other cities that have taken similar measures, or address any gaps identified in the city’s current climate plan, according to several members of the committee.
One idea being considered for the resolution, which came from a climate emergency resolution passed in Milwaukie, would require the city to assess climate impacts on new projects or proposals.
City staff already do this kind of analysis on fiscal impacts from new projects and proposals.
“It makes it very clear that as a city that we are living in a climate emergency and that this is an urgent priority,” Chokshi said.
The committee will discuss the resolution again at its next meeting on Oct. 14.