This initiative is not about getting rid of outdoor lighting. It is about taking common sense steps to reduce bad lighting. Many other cities such as Pittsburgh and New York have taken bold steps forward. It’s long past time for Portland to do the same.
In 2019, Portland Audubon worked with city staff to produce a Dark Skies Report: Strategies for Reducing Light Pollution in Portland which was accepted by the Council in September of 2020. However, the process to develop regulations to implement that report was put on hold due to COVID. It is now time to complete that work and allocate funding for development and adoption.
Please take a few moments to email Portland City Council to let them know that you support dedicating funding in the upcoming budget to move forward with development of sensible lighting regulations to improve the livability of our City, reduce our carbon emissions, and help support the health of our local ecosystem.
Please send emails to (talking points to use below):
- Please include funding to develop code to address light pollution and protect dark skies in Portland in the 2022/2023 budget.
- It has been more than half a decade since Mayor Wheeler and City Council publicly committed to prioritizing this issue, yet environmentally harmful lighting continues to proliferate in Portland including on the City’s own projects.
- Light pollution harms human health, wastes energy and increases carbon emissions, poses a significant threat to migratory birds and other wildlife, and blocks out our night skies.
- The City has done some good work developing a Dark Skies Report accepted by Council in 2020, but that work will only have meaning if Council follows through and allocates funding for code development.
- Many other cities have adopted code to reduce and prevent light pollution. It is time for Portland to move forward.
- For a small investment, the City can ensure that investments made to date are not wasted and make meaningful progress on its climate and environmental goals.
Light pollution on this planet is growing at more than double the population growth rate because of poorly designed, overly bright lighting that remains on even when not in use. Portland is no exception and light pollution is not benign. On Sunday night, nearly 1 million birds passing through our local airspace on their northbound journey had to navigate our light polluted skies. And light at night isn’t just impacting migratory birds. It’s impacting the health of every member of our ecosystem—birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, insects, plants—as well as our own human health and safety. And it’s wasting money and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.