TriMet buses in the sun
Michael Andersen
Milwaukie City Council tells TriMet: time to embrace zero emission buses
Mayor Mark Gamba and the Milwaukie City Council showed bold climate leadership by recently passing a resolution calling on TriMet to rapidly decarbonize its fleets and to transition them to emission-free buses. TriMet is the transit agency serving the greater Portland metropolitan region, including Milwaukie. The city now joins calls by Portland and Multnomah County for TriMet to kick diesel and rapidly electrify their bus fleet.
Milwaukie's resolution calls on TriMet to:
  1. Purchase no new diesel buses to service Milwaukie or any other part of the TriMet service territory after 2020;
  2. Ensure its fleet (including transit buses and other TriMet-owned vehicles) is fully converted to zero emission vehicles by no later than 2035; and
  3. Prioritize during the rapid transition to electric buses, placement of the first electric buses in Metro area communities with poorest air quality, especially low income communities and communities of color.
TriMet is the largest purchaser and user of diesel fuel in the state, operating over 600 diesel buses.  At the same time, Milwaukie and the Metro region are regularly ranked as suffering from some of the highest levels of diesel pollution in the country and the unhealthy diesel exposure increases its residents' risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and other respiratory problems.  In addition, transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Metro region and statewide. 
Under Mayor Gamba's leadership, the Milwaukie City Council has acknowledged that climate change is the single largest threat to the future citizens of Milwaukie and taken several actions. In addition to the TriMet resolution outlined above, the City Council has approved a Vision document calling for Milwaukie to become a Net Zero City by the year 2040 to help forestall the worst effects of climate change and the City is working to develop a Climate Action Plan.  These are concrete actions that local governments can take to ensure a sustainable future for our residents and region.

Author Bio

Zach Baker

former Oregon Policy Manager, Climate Solutions

Zach works to advance policies that address climate change and accelerate the transition to clean energy in Oregon. 

Zach brings to his work over a decade of policy and advocacy experience focused on protecting the environment and promoting public health.  His experience spans the local, state, and federal policy levels and he has served in a variety of capacities, including serving as a City Councilor in Corvallis, Oregon.  Immediately prior to joining Climate Solutions, Zach worked with the Center for Climate Change and Health to launch a national initiative to engage health professionals in state climate change policy. 

Zach holds a law degree from the University of Oregon with a focus in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and a BA from Tufts University in political science and community health. 

When he’s not advocating for climate policies, Zach enjoys riding his bike, hiking a trail, and enjoying Oregon’s agricultural bounty.

Give for a brighter future

Did you enjoy this article?