That's a wrap! 

The 2023 long session in the Oregon Legislature was 160 days long and wrapped up on June 25th, 2023. The next session is a short session that will run from February 5th, 2024 - March 10th, 2024.

Advancing a healthy, resilient future in Central Oregon requires change at both the individual and governance levels. This past session, we had the opportunity to engage in the discourse of a lot of of impactful bills. 

In each of the focus areas below, you can see which bills we focussed our time on. 

2023 Focus Areas

Energy in Buildings: Healthier, more efficient and resilient buildings

Across the country, buildings account for 40% of the energy we use. Saving energy (and then producing the rest with renewables) saves individuals and businesses money, creates jobs, and makes our buildings healthier for their occupants. Energy efficiency is one of our greatest resources.

This past year, our Climate and Transportation Policy Manager, Neil Baunsgard, was part of the Resilient Efficient Building (REbuilding) Task Force that was tasked with delivering big ideas to decarbonize out built environment with sound policy concepts. The outcome of that work is the Building Resilience package that is comprised of four separate bills.

Building Resilience Fact SheetFor more info on these bills, see contact info at the bottom of the Fact Sheet.

Waste Policies: Reducing waste from upstream to downstream

Why do we advocate for waste reduction? Materials like plastic and electronics create environmental, social, and economic issues from production, to use, to disposal. We must enact policies and build systems that support responsible practices and set our communities up for success to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, and compost.

2023 Legislative Session Successes!

Two of our priority bills passed and were signed into law in May.

Senate Bill 543 will phase out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts and coolers and prohibit the use of PFAS, the toxic substances nicknamed “forever chemicals” because of their longevity, in food packaging starting January 1, 2025.

Senate Bill 545 instructs the Oregon Health Authority to update the state’s health code to make it easier for restaurants to provide reusable container options, no later than June 30, 2024.


More details on all our priority waste bills from the  2023 Legislative Session below...

Written Testimony in Support of SB 543, 544, and 545 from The Environmental Center. 

Fact Sheet with information on SB 543, 544, and 544.

Transportation: Accelerate electric and people-powered mobility

Transportation accounts for 40% of our community’s carbon emissions. Our goal is to reduce vehicles miles traveled and then electrify the rest.

Our vision is a transportation system that moves people and goods safely and efficiently, and that meets the needs of all users, whether they walk, bike, take the bus, or drive. Safety is especially important for walkers and bikers — people won’t get out of their cars if they don’t feel safe. Walking and biking are also good for our health and they reduce car trips on our streets and highways, resulting in less congestion and carbon emissions.

Energy Supply: Transition to clean and resilient energy

If we are going to become a fossil free and low carbon community, we need to transition to renewable and resilient  energy sources.

Make Your Voice Heard in the State Capitol 101

Learn about our priorities that will help us decarbonize our community during the 2023 legislative session in Oregon. This event will include training on how to write an effective testimony or letter to legislators, give you time to write and workshop, and ask questions of our expert coalition partners. All written testimony can be submitted for public hearings in the following days and weeks!  You can help us get these bills over the finish line!

Get Involved!

There are many ways to get involved in the 2023 legislative session. And luckily, many helpful resources already exist.

1. Sign up for for our e-news for timely action alerts.

We send our regular e-newsletter, Living the Green, every two weeks. We will include updates on important policies, and helpful instructions on how to get involved and when.

2. Learn more about bills and sign up for email updates through Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).

3. Tell your elected officials what is important to you.

  • Find your State Senators and Representatives by clicking on a geographic area in the map or typing in your address.
  • Write a letter or email to your elected official. Be sure to include which bills you are interested in and be specific that you want them to support those bills.
  • Submit testimony.

4. Talk about these things with friends and family.

Individual action is most impactful when you share and communicate with those around you. It keeps issues like climate change relevant and top-of-mind. Chat with your friends, coworkers, and family about your own personal connection to the issue and why it matters to you. Whatever you do, just keep talking about the change you wish to see.