Community Engagement

Public involvement was a crucial component of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Planning process. Community input was used to inform the development, refinement, and prioritization of actions in the draft plan.
To ensure a robust engagement process across the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, and Thurston County, the planning process included both broad and targeted engagement. We particularly focused on engaging individuals and organizations who:

  • Could be affected by the action in some way

  • Are most vulnerable to climate impacts

  • Play a role in action implementation

  • Typically do not participate in planning processes.

The following methods were used:

Community Survey

Over the summer, an online community questionnaire gathered a baseline understanding of the community’s priorities, perspectives, and concerns. The survey was shared through the TRPC website, social media, e-newsletters, listservs, and partner networks. The survey was open from August 12 to September 30, 2019 and received 1,397 responses.

 

Pop-Up Events

The planning team engaged with the community at local events, including Tenino Oregon Trail Days; Thurston County Fair; the Yelm, Olympia, and Tumwater Farmers Markets; and the Olympia Fall Arts Walk, among others. These pop-up events provided an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the project, ask questions of project staff, and provide input through interactive activities.

 

Presentations

The project team gave presentations to a number of committees and organizations. These presentations gave an overview of the project and an opportunity to provide high-level recommendations for the plan’s development. Presentations were given to the South Thurston Economic Development Initiative (STEDI), Olympia Master Builders, Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team, Tumwater Tree Board, and Lacey Youth Council, among others

 

Interviews

To better understand the impacts of the strategies and actions being considered, we conducted interviews with representatives from key sectors and organizations. This includes organizations such as Thurston County Food Bank, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Olympia Master Builders, Hispanic Roundtable, and Homes First. Representatives provided feedback on any of their organization’s climate impact mitigation work; climate impacts to the communities in which they work; as well as concerns, challenges, and potential barriers to implementation of the actions.

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What We Heard

Broad support for actions in the Buildings & Energy sector

Across outreach methods, participants showed the broadest support for actions in the Buildings & Energy sector. For example, survey respondents showed the broadest support for actions to shift to more renewable and clean energy sources, and to make buildings more energy-efficient and carbon-smart. This includes exploring incentives, subsidies, and mandates to encourage renewable energy; investing in renewable energy; and improving building energy-efficiency.  


Targeted support for actions in the Transportation & Land Use sector
Targeted support for actions in the Transportation & Land Use sector
Across the six public events, actions to support transportation & land use were the overwhelming choice. Ideas included investing in bicycle and pedestrian facilities, electric vehicles, and public transit, and encouraging high-density areas that improve resource sustainability and efficiency. Similarly, two of the four most popular actions survey respondents said they would like to take are purchasing or driving an all-electric vehicle (48%) and driving a vehicle that gets more than 30 MPG in the city (25%). 

 

Survey respondents want to take actions that the TCMP could support

The individual actions of greatest interest to survey respondents are those the TCMP could support. These include investing in solar panels for home or business (57%), purchasing or driving an all-electric vehicle (48%), participating in a renewable energy program through local utility (30%), and driving a vehicle that gets more than 30 MPG in the city (25%).

 

Survey respondents view multiple drivers of action as important

While 93% of survey respondents selected impact—defined as how much carbon pollution will be reduced—as the most important driver of action, equity, feasibility, and cost were also rated as at least moderately important by 74+% of survey respondents. Additionally, priority focus areas and the most important drivers of action varied by factors like age, where survey respondents lived, and their income (view the public engagement summary for details).

Committees and Working Groups

Two committees provided oversight on the development of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, working in parallel to public engagement approaches: 

  • Steering Committee:  The Steering Committee is composed of elected officials and staff from each of the four partner jurisdictions, and is the decision-making body for the plan. This committee used a consensus-based decision-making process to approve each stage of the planning process. All meetings of the Steering Committee are open to the public, and time for public comment is provided at each meeting. 

  • Climate Advisory Workgroup: This committee included members of the community with a range of subject matter expertise, including energy supply, residential and commercial buildings, transportation, water and waste management, agriculture, forestry, education, and workforce development. The Climate Advisory Workgroup was tasked with identifying, evaluating, and recommending a list of impactful actions to achieve the emissions reduction goal (see Strategy Development). Workgroup members also reviewed and provided input on project goals and guiding principles, public engagement strategy, scenario results, and implementation strategies. 

What You Can Do

The plan will lead directly to projects and resources spent in your community. Here’s how you can help determine which projects we undertake and where we should focus our resources: 

  • Take the Survey by clicking the “Share Your Feedback” tab above.

  • Read the Plan and get all the details in the full document.

  • Sign Up for updates via www.trpc.org/climate. 

  • Email comments to the project manager at climate@trpc.org.  

  • Call the project manager at the Thurston Regional Planning Council at 360-956-7575.  

  • Ask Questions and tell us what you think about the draft Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan.

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