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Projects and Features

Sightline Institute researches the region’s most pressing sustainability challenges. We provide citizens and decision-makers with the policy analysis and practical tools they need to advance an economy and way of life that are environmentally sound, economically vibrant, and socially just. Here are some of the special projects we’re working on—and ways you can get involved and stay updated!

All Sightline Institute research is available to cite, use, and share, per our free use policy.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Alaska Election Map showing where regional election offices are located

ALASKA ELECTIONS 2022

Resources for Alaska voters’ first statewide use of open primaries and ranked choice voting.

Portland city flag against a blue sky with cloud wisps

FAIRER ELECTIONS IN PORTLAND

Portland’s Charter Commission is currently evaluating the city’s governing charter, looking for possible amendments and reforms. Portlanders will get to vote on any amendments in 2022, but they can get involved now to contribute to the public process.

THE COSTS OF PARKING MANDATES

Across Cascadia as in most of the rich world, little-known rules slipped into almost every local zoning code push up rents, kill jobs, and make new Main Streets illegal. They quietly make it impossible for cities and towns to gradually evolve toward more walkability. In 2022, Oregon is considering the biggest rollback of parking mandates in the modern history of North America. Our series shows why.

Oregon Timberlands. Source: Marcus Kauffman, OR Dept of Forestry

Long Forest Rotations for Cascadian Forests 

In this series, Sightline senior researcher Kate Anderson describes how long rotations can deliver not just greater timber yields, but also greater carbon storage and water and habitat benefits. She also details the barriers foresters face in trying to make the switch from the typical 40-year rotation to a longer 80-year harvest cycle. Finally, she examines how to financially support long rotations—both for the foresters’ sake and for the environmental service benefits that older forests furnish for all who call Cascadia home. 

Checklist itemizing "1st, 2nd, 3rd" options and a person poised with a pen.

INTRODUCTION TO RANKED CHOICE VOTING

Ranked choice voting is gaining in popularity. We have found that ranked choice voting improves the incentive structure of elections for both voters and candidates.

Previous Projects

Illustration of a three-story sixplex

HOW OREGONIANS RE-LEGALIZED ‘MISSING MIDDLE’ HOMES

After a seven-year campaign, Portland formally lifted a series of 97-year-old bans on seven different types of homes. House Bill 2001 was the first of its kind in the United States or Canada. This history was developed in partnership with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Refinery billowing smoke against a pristine mountain backdrop

TRANSITIONING FROM PUGET SOUND OIL REFINERIES

As Cascadia works to meet its climate commitments by boosting energy efficiency, electrifying cars and trucks, and shifting to clean energy sources, oil demand will decline precipitously. But that doesn’t mean the communities and workers supporting this industry must share its fate. Instead, they have an opportunity to plan ahead for a healthier and more resilient future.