Smart Energy City

Lincoln City, Oregon

Lincoln City is the little community that could.

Spurred by commitment, skilled leadership, and a big dose of "I think I can," Lincoln City is steadily climbing the path toward its goal: becoming a carbon-neutral community.

In 2009, Lincoln City became the first Smart Energy City when 5 percent of the community's gas customers signed up for NW Natural's offset program. Carbon reduction from these Smart Energy participants equals eliminating 330 cars for a year. That's an impressive reduction for a town of just over 8,000 people.

Last year, Lincoln City's municipal government challenged residents and businesses to support Smart Energy. And the city government itself is a Smart Energy customer.

Smart Energy is neither the first nor the last notable sustainability action of Lincoln City. For example, in 2007, the federal Environmental Protection Agency named Lincoln City a "Green Power Community." Lincoln City also recently opened four of six planned electric car charging stations - the first such stations on the Oregon coast. This strategic investment will help ensure Lincoln City is a destination for electric car drivers venturing to the beach.

Oregon Coast Community College built its North County Campus to the stringent LEED standards set by the Green Building Council. And still, city leaders like Mayor Lori Hollingsworth continue to pursue new carbon-reduction strategies. Next up: solar panels on the community center and an incentive program for a greener tourism industry.

This little coastal city is demonstrating what it means to think globally and act locally. Mayor Hollingsworth said, "Cities should take care of their communities, but we also have to do what we can to live sustainably on the planet."

Lincoln City, Oregon