A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Zoning for climate: A questionable quest

Written December 2nd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

This carpet of autumn leaves in a big yard has nothing to do with “climate friendly areas” Albany and other cities are under orders to create. But it looks kind of cool, no?

Albany and other Oregon towns above 50,000 are preparing to comply with a state order to designate “climate friendly areas.” All I can say is good luck.

I had my doubts about the wisdom of this program when I wrote about it on Nov. 18. At an online public meeting Nov. 30, I didn’t hear anything to dispel my doubts.

The main point, according to the presenters from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, is to help Oregon meet its goal to get rid of carbon dioxide emissions by various points in time between now and 2050.

Creating climate friendly areas is supposed to help by cutting back on the use of piston-powered vehicles.

But, I’m wondering, if Oregon intends to ban the sale of piston-powered vehicles by 2035, most vehicles of that type should be off the road 10 or 15 years later. Thus, the contribution of greenhouse gases from the consumer part of the transportation sector should be gone by then whether people live in climate friendly areas or not.

In Albany and similar-size cities, the Department of Land Conservation and Development wants at least one 25-acre climate friendly area, with at least 25 dwellings per acre and apartment blocks up to 85 feet high, along with shops and various job sites.

People living in such an area would be able to walk or bike to work, and they would not need a car for most daily errands.

This area would be created, supposedly, with changes in the development code.

But code changes alone won’t do it. The city can’t create jobs or decide where job sites are opened, moved, or closed. Property owners and developers will decide what if anything gets built where based on demand and many other factors in the real world.

In addition, Albany already has the zoning to allow for mixed uses and walkable neighborhoods. These “village centers” develop slowly, as has happened around Hickory Street in North Albany.

This new state-mandated effort to help save the climate with new zoning requirements is unlikely to have any practical effect. So why go through it? Because the state’s land department says so.

If you want more details about the climate friendly areas, the Albany planning staff has put together a helpful summary here. If you read it and reach a different conclusion, I invite you to let me know by leaving a comment below. (hh)

10 responses to “Zoning for climate: A questionable quest”

  1. thomas earl cordier says:

    thanks HH and to think we are paying the bill for all this BS

  2. Cap B. says:

    The climate friendly areas where a person doesn’t have to depend on driving everywhere they need to go is a great idea. I hope it can happen, but I wish it had been decreed about 20 years ago. I do not look forward to summer-time now. It is brutal and dangerous because of the extreme heat. We need to do something about it, if it is not too late.

  3. MarK says:

    It’s a nice thought, but as I’ve said before, unless we live under a dome, nothing we do in our country is going to change the climate unless every country on earth becomes “zero emissions”. Our government is just penalizing us by forcing these restrictions. Don’t accept mandates without plausible solutions.

  4. Bob Zybach says:

    This is stupid. In the past people did rain dances when they claimed they could control the weather. That was just as ineffective, but much better exercise, physically and socially healthier, and a whole lot cheaper. This is just one more effort for central government control and a profitable racket for a few, but certainly not science or common sense — we should have reversed course on this politicized “science” strategy long before now, and for many reasons, in my opinion.

  5. Hartman says:

    If I read you correctly, your screed proposes that this Climate Friendly action – proposed to help change the trajectory humanity is currently on – is futile and therefore, a waste of time. But that begs the question, what is it about the current course that is so valuable, so “correct” to you that any other aspiration is foolish.

    One can make the argument that this or that action might not be as precise as you might like, but making that argument does not change the facts. Consistently pooh-poohing the efforts of others does nothing to effect change. Your “negative nabobism”, originally touted by Republican Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, is detrimental to progress. Who would know better than Agnew?

    While “Climate Friendly” may not solve all the world’s problems, it is nonetheless an effort to help effectuate conditions favorable to our survival. Progress is nearly always incremental and this plan is simply another step along the path.
    Like Bob Dylan once sang,

    “…Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changing”

    • Bob Zybach says:

      Dylan also said you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. When the “efforts of others” are almost entirely tied to increased taxes to pay for regulators to develop new regulations based on questionable taxpayer-funded “science” — how is that a helpful or positive “effort?” It should be obvious to everyone that this is just one more attempt to scare people into paying more taxes and being more subservient to our elected officials, their regulation-writing bureaucrats, and the university and agency modelers that are leading this scam. The weather and seasons in western Oregon have remained about the same for hundreds — probably thousands — of years. Compare that documented reality to the scary “climate crisis” predictions that the modelers and their promoters have been generating since the late 1980s. Even the Cardiff Giant wasn’t able to hang on this long, and was far less lucrative while being “believed.”

  6. Bill Higby says:

    Climate friendly areas sound like a good idea, but citizens, business, and employers also have to buy in and I do not believe that they will. The concept of a self contained “village” passed a long time ago. The number of grocery stores in Albany has diminished as the few that remain get larger. Look at Kroger purchasing Albertson’s. Will the Safeway now close since there will be two Kroger operations nearly across the street from each other? Neighborhood grocery stores vanished years ago.
    More to the point, when has government ever been succesful in mandating where to live, where to work, where to shop and how to get around town.

  7. William Gannon says:

    Most of you have never heard of the, 1859 Richard Carrington event. The only wire hanging from poles were the telegraph wires. Nine minutes after the flash the Mr. Carrington observed, fire was flowing over those wires, those telegraphers noticed that even with the battery’s disconnected, messages were received, some had at that time unknown burns, now known as electric burns and some telegraph stations burned down.
    Well as everything repeats, the 2030’s will be interesting, the side of earth that has sunlight, when the next event happens will go dark and there will be no way to rebuild the grid. It’s the 2040’s where the real disaster happens. Check out this link, it’s the CIA’S own admission of the next end of the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvjJqIXYT1w

  8. Birdieken says:

    The real issue is the increase in population in the third world and the desire for all those people to be warm and eat. Whatever allowed life to occur on our planet in all it’s complexity is infinitely smarter than a single woke generation. If you think everything that has happened and will happen is totally in our control, you haven’t been paying attention.

  9. Carol Gascoigne says:

    How about having a real grocery store where folks live ?? Most of us have to drive at least 3 miles to get to the closest one.


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