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  • The Coos Bay Area community needs to have sufficient political, cultural, and financial support in order to make progress on existing and emerging priorities.

  • Our community may benefit from anticipating new state and federal regulations and responding swiftly, emerging at the forefront to assume a leadership role among rural communities across the state and nation.

  • Our community should continue to leverage its rural location, but must remain alert to problems that may be masked by the characteristics of the rural landscape.

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    Figure 1. List of socioeconomic topics, or Goal Areas,
    that collectively define sustainability at the community
    level, according to the STAR Rating System.

    What is Sustainability?

    “Sustainability” is often characterized
    as a three-‐legged stool that depends
    on positive economic, social, and
    environmental outcomes. STAR uses
    this definition as the foundation of its
    evaluation system, with the recognition
    that sustainability will differ for every
    community. This report adopts STAR’s
    definition of sustainability, but prefers
    to consider the STAR framework as
    way to assess the Coos Coos Bay area
    in terms of locally-‐driven approaches
    to responsible development and
    building community capacity and

    These elements can be found in every
    part of the community, including each
    of the 7 goal areas of the STAR system,
    listed in Figure 1.


    This Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating (STAR) Communities Report is a socioeconomic assessment of the communities in the Coos Coos Bay area, encompassing a broad range of socioeconomic topics that collectively define sustainability at the community level. This evaluation in integral to the Community section of the Data Source which employs two methods to characterize and assess socioeconomic conditions in the Coos Coos Bay area. The first method uses data from the Census, state and federal agencies, and other readily available and reliable sources to analyze and characterize a standard suite of socioeconomic topics: demographics, communities and neighborhoods, schools and education, jobs, and land use (Chapters 3-6).

    The second approach (this report) employs the existing STAR Community Rating System, to evaluate a comprehensive set of indicators that collectively assess community vitality, capacity, and resilience (STAR Communities, 2014). STAR uses data from the Census and agencies as the first method does, but it also includes national and state databases and local as well as informal data sources. The end product is a standardized metric that gauges socioeconomic conditions of the community.

    This report has four sections: 1) Evaluation System, which details the process through which the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds (PCW) Committee chose the evaluation system used for the socioeconomic assessment; 2) Methods, which guides the reader through the steps used to gather, analyze, and evaluate data using the STAR evaluation system; 3) Results, which addresses the overall outcomes of the assessment, as well as
    each of the seven main socioeconomic topics that are the framework for the STAR evaluation system: Built Environment; Climate and Energy; Economy and Jobs; Education, Arts, and Community; Equity and Empowerment; Health and Safety; and Natural Systems; and 4) Discussion, which addresses caveats to the results, provides factors that appear to contribute to high or low achievement within the evaluation system, and makes suggestions for future steps that the community could take.

    These sections are followed by a Reference section- a bibliography of resources used in the writing of this report- and Appendices that include a spreadsheet of the raw assessment data, a list of data sources used in the assessment, and an example of a data collection survey used for some areas of the assessment.

    Example of Bootstrap 3 Accordion

    Needs Assessment

    The PCW Committee first approached the socioeconomic portion of the project by conducting a needs assessment to identify the scope of socioeconomic attributes, the desired outcomes, and the envisioned uses of the results. Emerging from this assessment was a need for two types of analyses. One type of analysis would use more traditional sociological methods to evaluate key topics in the community with objectivity, but also sensitivity to local knowledge. The second type of analysis would use a standardized and widely accepted evaluation framework to assess a broader scope of topics, providing a way to objectively compare the Coos estuary communities to other communities in Oregon and nationwide.

    Once the vision, goals, and needs for the Community part of the Data Source were identified, the PCW Committee explored different options for a standardized evaluation framework. Two frameworks were identified:
    the STAR Community Rating System (STAR Communities, 2014) and Community Vitality Indicators (Etuk, 2012), the latter of which is a product of an Oregon State University graduate student thesis based on work for the Ford
    Institute for Community Building. The merits and drawbacks of each framework were evaluated and presented to the PCW Committee in October 2013. The two systems are based on a similar definition of sustainability or community vitality and their scopes are similarly broad. However, STAR has significantly more breadth, depth, and detail compared to the Community Vitality Indicators. Additionally, the results from the STAR metric scores can be compared to other communities across the United States. Therefore, it was decided that the Data Source should use the STAR Community Rating System for the socioeconomic evaluation.

    STAR Community Rating System

    The STAR Rating System has seven goal areas, listed in Figure 1, which cover a broad range of topics, from health care to workforce development to water quality, that collectively define sustainability at the community level.

    Each goal area is supported by 5-7 objectives. The achievement of these objectives, and by extension their respective goal areas, is determined by over 500 evaluation measures. STAR uses two types of evaluation measures:

    1. Community Level Outcomes indicate a community’s progress toward a desired state or condition within the objective, represented as trend lines, targets, or thresholds.

    2. Local Actions describe decisions or investments a community makes to move closer to the given outcomes, such as municipal code changes, partnership development, and infrastructure upgrades.

    STAR evaluation measures correlate to similar evaluation systems that attempt to assess the health, resilience, or sustainability of communities.
    For example, many of STAR’s evaluation measures align with the metrics used in the Tracking Oregon’s Progress (TOP) project:

    “The indicators were selected to reflect state priorities as expressed in the Oregon Benchmarks and the 10- year Plan (Governor Kitzhaber 2013). Additional indicators were added based on their inclusion in the State of
    Our Health 2013: Key Health Indicators for Oregonians report by Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University.

    A small number of additional indicators were selected to reflect trends in social science research and to illuminate issues of disparities and equity.” (Weber, Worcel, Etuk, & Adams, 2014).

    The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) rating system, a national system managed by the U.S. Green Building Council, also uses metrics that are found in the STAR system (U.S. Green Building Council, 2013).

    However, the LEED ND program is on a project-by-project basis, making it unsuitable for ongoing evaluation of the community as a complete system.

    The correlation between the STAR rating system and similar efforts in Oregon and across the country indicates that the PCW Committee is using a framework that is comparable to what other cities and regions use. There are 70 communities currently participating in the STAR Community Rating System to some degree, as of July 2014. Ten of those participants are counties, and the Coos Bay area is the only regional example that spans
    city and county jurisdictions. However, ten percent of participating communities have a population of 30,000 or less. These statistics demonstrate that the Coos Bay area will be able to use the results of the STAR assessment to compare its responsible development efforts with other communities across the nation, which is useful both for planning and fundraising efforts. This also indicates that the Coos Bay area is unique in its collaborative and grassroots efforts to advance regional efforts for responsible and resilient development, which holds promise for the long-term viability of the outcomes that are produced.

    Adapting STAR for the Coos Bay area

    The Coos Bay area
    community is the only
    example of a watershed
    scale assessment in the STAR
    Communities system.

    The STAR system was designed to be inherently adaptable to the needs and available resources of individual communities. However, applying the rating system to the Data Source project creates a unique case study because (1) the Coos Coos Bay area is currently the only community using the rating system as an organization rather than a local government, and (2) the Coos Coos Bay area is the only example of a watershed-scale
    assessment rather than a city or county jurisdiction.

    The first circumstance presents an advantage of a more bottom-up community approach, which can be useful in securing broad support from diverse stakeholders and engaging them more fully in the assessment and planning
    process. A disadvantage of this approach is that the local government has a major role to play in the assessment in terms of providing data and analyses, making them a more natural coordinating body that could potentially conduct the assessment with more ease, assuming they had the resources to do so.

    The second circumstance is advantageous because the Coos Bay area is positioned as a leader by taking a regional approach to responsible development and community resilience. Undoubtedly there are many communities across the nation taking a similar approach, but the Coos Bay area is the only one that is doing so through the STAR framework.

    By conducting a watershed-scale assessment, the Data Source project transcends political boundaries, yet still acknowledges and respects them, providing a valuable perspective on development and planning for future

    In addition to these two circumstances, the rural nature of the community and its limited resources present some challenges to completing the STAR assessment itself, mainly because lack of data prevents certain measures
    from being evaluated. Nevertheless, the STAR system is extensive enough that a sufficient breadth and depth of data was collected to conduct a thorough evaluation of community conditions.

    Strategy Development

    Once the STAR system was selected, Data Source project staff completed an initial scan of the STAR system to identify data needs, sources, and create a project timeline. There were three levels of data requirements that
    corresponded to three phases in the timeline:

    1. Less than 3 months: Data exists for local area and can be accessed online or through simple request process. Data requires minor to no calculations.

    Example: Housing and transportation costs as a percentage of average household income is an indicator of housing affordability in a community. These costs, as a percentage of the Annual Mean Income for the Coos Coos Bay area community, were found using the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Index (, a simple online mapping tool that uses socioeconomic data generated from the Census and other sources with resolution at the Census block level. (See Built Environment- 4, Outcome 1).

    2. 3 to 6 months: Some local data may exist, but may need to be collected from multiple sources, or data may require some degree of analysis or calculation.

    Example: The number of recreational facilities available to residents, in proportion to the population, indicates how conducive the community is to active living. Active recreational facilities, including swimming pools, skate parks, tennis courts, playgrounds and baseball/softball diamonds, were identified through the Coos Bay Master Parks Plan, city and county websites, and Google Earth imagery. Once an inventory of each facility type was complete, ratio of facility to 10,000 people was calculated and evaluated compared to the STAR targets. (See Health and Safety-1, Action 10)

    3. Greater than 6 months: Little or no local data exists, or systems may not be in place to collect data easily, or data requires more elaborate calculations or analyses.

    Example: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a common strategy to reduce a community’s contribution to climate change. There are many steps, big and small, that a community can take to make progress toward this broader goal, including adopting energy efficiency regulations for public buildings. A survey was sent to local government agencies (Coos Bay, North Bend, and Coos County) to determine exactly what the Coos Coos Bay area
    community was doing (see Appendix C: Sustainability Scan). The survey responses were compiled to determine achievement toward each evaluation measure. (See Climate and Energy-2)

    Data collection and analysis first focused on the “lowest hanging fruit” (less than 3 months) and attended to the more rigorous measures (3 months or longer) later.

    Data Collection

    Some of the STAR evaluation measures have clearly identified data sources, such as a national database accessible online. Others refer to state or local agencies that commonly collect and provide such data. The majority,
    however, either suggest a local city or county department that may hold the data, or do not refer to any potential source whatsoever.

    For the latter three instances, potential data sources—organizations or agencies—were identified for each evaluation measure and information requests were submitted to the most likely individual responsible for the data. These requests were often referred to another staff member or a different organization or agency. In some cases, these requests followed a simple process and produced the precise data required for the given evaluation measure. In other cases, the requests could not be wholly met due to incomplete data, similar but not the exact type of data, or an entire lack of data on the topic altogether.

    Such situations were still productive for the evaluation, since they shed light on matters that received less attention from local stakeholders, and/or were matters less pertinent to the circumstances of a rural community— the latter of which was a common theme throughout the STAR Rating System.

    For certain organizations and agencies from whom a large amount of information was requested, a survey format was used in a “Sustainability Scan” (see Appendix C). The survey was modeled after a similar one used
    to assess sustainable actions taken by government leaders in Des Moines, Iowa as a part of their regional long-term planning efforts (Sasaski Associates, 2012).

    Our Sustainability Scan format was used to collect information from city, county, and school district administrators. The survey asked administrators whether their organization or agency was currently taking action, thinking about taking action, or not taking action on the pertinent
    evaluation measures. There was also a section where the administrator could describe what their actions entailed. For example, we asked school administrators about out-of-school tutoring programs available in their
    respective schools.

    Data Analysis

    Once collected, the data required various degrees of analysis. The majority involved minor descriptive statistics to determine average trends over a given period of time— usually the past three years. Many also involved geographic analyses to determine access to services, concentrations of population subsets and services, and answer other geographic questions. Most of the analyses were completed and documented in the form of spreadsheets, charts, and maps. A few analyses required more time than was able to be allotted or were beyond the ability of staff, and therefore were marked for future analysiswhen time and/or skill was available.


    Each evaluation measure with completed data analysis was then assessed on whether it met the target identified by STAR. Targets are based on national or widely accepted standards or on local goals and targets. Evaluation
    measures received two types of scores based on their achievement of targets. The first score is a numerical one derived directly from the point system in the STAR Rating System. The STAR point system is complex and a
    detailed explanation is beyond the purview of this report. However, it is worth noting that the point values are based on the impact that each evaluation measure has on achieving community sustainability as well as the
    impact it has on achieving the specified goals. In the STAR Rating System, points for each evaluation measure are used to calculate an overall sustainability score for the community, which determines the community’s achievement level.

    The STAR numeric score provides a dynamic metric that enables the PCW Committee to compare the Coos Coos Bay area community to others of similar size and/or achievement level across the country. However, the STAR score does not capture the intermediate progress of many evaluation measures.
    Therefore, in addition to the STAR score, Data Source project staff use a categorical scoring system to recognize initial progress toward given goals and thus provide a more nuanced assessment of current conditions. For this categorical score, evaluation measures are given one of five categories:

    1. Meeting/exceeding the target: The target(s) was met or exceeded across the community— including all eligible jurisdictions (cities, school districts, etc.).

    2. Partially meeting the target: A number of situations could be occurring, including:

    • Only one city meets the target(s);
    • Only one school district meets the
    • Only one or some of multiple targets
    in a single evaluation measure are
    • Progress has been demonstrated,
    but the target has not been fully
    achieved; or
    • Other situations.

    3. Not meeting the target: The target(s) was not met and no significant progress has been demonstrated in any of the eligible jurisdictions.

    4. Pending: Data collection or analysis has begun but is not yet complete and the evaluation measure cannot be categorized at this time.

    5. Unable to Evaluate or N/A: Data was insufficient at time of evaluation, required more extensive analysis, or were inapplicable to the community.

    During the course of the evaluation, it became clear that some evaluation measures could not be analyzed due to either lack of data or the need for more extensive analyses with several data elements that would have to be obtained from various agencies and departments. These evaluation measures were marked as requiring assessment at a future time when data is available and completely collected.

    Overall Achievement

    The Coos Coos Bay area community performed moderately in the STAR assessment. The total STAR score was 237 out of 500, and the average categorical score for meeting or partially meeting the target was 48%. The
    community is excelling in some areas, such as Health and Safety and the Built Environment, while other areas could use considerable improvement, such as Climate and Energy. An analysis of the varied achievement levels can be found in the Discussion section, which is preceded by sections explaining the community’s performance in each STAR goal area. Figure 2 shows the STAR Score and categorical score for each goal area.

    Community Rankings

    If the Coos Bay area community were seeking official certification through the STAR Rating System, its overall STAR score of 237 would qualify it as a 3- STAR Community, according to the certification levels (Figure 3). Figure 4 lists the communities nationwide that have received 3-STAR certification. Figure 5 lists the other communities either participating or certified in the STAR Rating System that have a comparable population size to the Coos Bay area.

    These tables indicate that if the Coos Bay area community chose to pursue certification, it has the potential to be the community with the smallest population size to achieve 3-STAR certification (although Northhampton, MA
    has achieved 5-STAR certification), and be among the only communities of its size range to achieve certification status.

    Currently, the Coos Bay area is a participating community, meaning that it is using STAR to assess its current conditions and determine whether pursuing STAR certification is right for the community. If the Coos Bay area chooses to seek certification, it would be considered a reporting community while it prepares data, analyses, and documents to submit to STAR and waits for STAR verification team to review its evaluation and issue an
    official Community Rating based on the points achieved.

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    Figure 2. Achievement scores (STAR and categorical) by goal area for the Bay Area community. The top bar (darker solid color) in each goal area is the STAR Score and the lower bar is the Categorical Score, which is separated into the percentage Meeting Target (darker striped color) and Partially Meeting Target (lighter striped color).

    Goal Area Outcomes
    The following sections detail the community’s achievement for each goal area, summarized in Figure 2 above. Each section lists the STAR goal, a description of the community’s overall performance, and the overall achievement in both STAR and categorical scores. Following this “snapshot” is a chart that shows the STAR and categorical scores for the 5-7 objectives in each goal area. Like the chart in Figure 2, the top bar (darker solid color) is the STAR score for that objective, and the lower bar is the categorical score, which is divided into the percentage Meeting Target (darker striped color) and Partially Meeting Target (lighter striped color). Following the charts are descriptions of objectives that are notable achievements, areas for improvement, or examples of successful or positive activity in the community.

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    Figure 3. STAR Rating System certification levels. The number of points that a community achieves in the STAR rating system determines its certification or recognition level.

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    Figure 4. Communities certified as 3-‐ STAR Communities, with population size.

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    Figure 5. Communities participating in or certified by STAR Rating System with comparable population size to the Bay Area community.


    What is the difference?

    The STAR Score and Categorical Score differ on their treatment of intermediate progress toward targets.

    The STAR Score rarely offers partial points for intermediate progress, and only for selected evaluation measures.

    The Categorical Score recognizes intermediate progress through a category of “partially meeting the target”. Any evaluation measure is eligible for this category for various reasons.

    Do the two scores align?

    Sometimes. The sum of the two categories meeting/exceeding or partially meeting the target is usually greater than the STAR score, but sometimes it is less.

    The main reason for this is that the STAR score does not address how to assess multiple jurisdictions in a single point system. For example, when only one city is meeting the target, no STAR points were awarded, but the evaluation measure was categorized as partially meeting the target. In this case, the STAR score would be less than the categorical score.

    Why should we use both?

    It is not necessary to use a dual scoring system, but it is certainly helpful. The categorical score, especially when compared to the STAR score, helps explain the community’s achievement—it clarifies whether the achievement is supported by efforts spanning the entire community or only a certain portion of it. It helps direct our attention to areas that appear
    to be successful, but actually could use additional support. Finally, it provides an estimate of the level of achievement the community could reach if it were to shift from only partially meeting targets to fully meeting or even exceeding targets.

    Limitations to the Evaluation

    Scoring System: The STAR assessment is at once comprehensive and definite, which presents both opportunities and challenges. The opportunities lie in the ability to synthesize a very broad range of data into digestible scores that can be easily analyzed and compared. The challenges are present in the tendency toward “all-or-nothing” scoring; aside from the few instances of gradual credit, most evaluation measures award all or none of the points available. It is important to read the
    STAR scores in the assessment with these circumstances in mind. In addition, it is helpful to use the categorical scoring system to learn
    more nuanced elements of the community’s current conditions. Finally, the entire STAR assessment—including the STAR score and categorical scores—should be read as one component of the entire socioeconomic analysis
    in Coos Estuary Inventory Project.

    Data Availability: As mentioned in the method section above, some evaluation measures could not be given a score due to a data gap. These measures were noted with a “Future” or “Pending” status. These data gaps were primarily due to two reasons: limited or no data collected by the relevant agency or organization, and inability to fully collect the data
    and complete the analysis given time constraints on the project. In the latter case, time was often an issue because of disparate data sources and limited data availability, requiring more extensive data collection. The evaluation measures marked for future evaluation only represent 8% of the total.

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    Figure 6. Achievement scores (STAR and categorical) by goal area for the Bay Area community.

    These measures do not count negatively against the STAR and categorical scores, and thus are not considered to compromise the integrity of the STAR assessment results and conclusions.

    Overall Current Conditions
    The Bay Area community has moderate achievement in most goal areas of the STAR Rating System. As can be seen in Figure 8, the STAR scores and categorical scores differ slightly; in each goal area, the STAR score is less than the combined categorical score of meeting/exceeding or partially meeting targets.

    As has been discussed in other sections of this report, the categorical score provides a more nuanced evaluation of the community’s current progress in each evaluation measure. Therefore, the composition of the categorical score varies and it does not always correlate to the STAR score. The following sections describe the community’s level of achievement
    in each goal area.

    High Achievement

    The Bay Area community is excelling in two categories: Built Environment and Health and Safety. The high achievement of 45-50% (STAR score) in these goal areas appears to be a result of several factors:

    1. The STAR Rating System objectives correspond with priority issues in the community. Both community residents and local agencies agree on these priorities and give them adequate and consistent attention to make progress toward goals. One example of such a priority is having a clean and healthy water source. Steps have been taken to ensure that the community’s water sources will meet the projected demand and due consideration has been given to reduce any environmental impact from extracting water from the environment.

    2. These objectives align with the community’s inherent strengths. The community is naturally endowed with abundant natural resources and green space. Its rural setting promotes less crowding, less pollution, and less of a likelihood for conflicts among people and with the environment.
    These strengths have served the community well in reaching many benchmarks and have helped preserve air and water quality.

    3. These areas receive adequate funding to support their progress. Since many of the high achieving evaluation measures are often priorities or mandates of local or state agencies, they are often well-funded.
    Financial support is a vital element to realizing outcomes in these goal areas; even a high priority issue cannot be acted on if adequate financial support is lacking for staff time and other needs.

    There are several upcoming and ongoing projects in the Built Environment and Health and Safety goal areas, which bodes well for the future. As such projects are implemented, performance in these areas will likely improve even further, and they will continue to be in the highest tier of achievement.

    Moderate Achievement

    The Bay Area community is performing moderately, with STAR scores of 30-35%, in four goal areas: Economy and Jobs; Education, Arts, and Community; Equity and Empowerment; and Natural Systems. The community is achieving objectives when conditions are similar to those for the high achievement
    category, listed above. When targets are not being met, there seem to be one or more of the following factors involved:

    1. The issue is not a priority for the community.
    In some cases, it appears that the topic is perceived to be less relevant
    to the community’s situation, potentially in regards to the rural setting and small population size. In these and other cases, there is no mandate by a local or state agency, allowing certain issues to receive less attention by residents and decision-makers. One example of the former case is the lack of green infrastructure in the urban setting (Natural Systems,
    Objective 1: Green Infrastructure). While there are plenty of spaces where people can access nature and enjoy the outdoors in less developed areas within the city and in close vicinity to its urban boundaries, the downtown and more developed areas have few instances of significant green infrastructure, or infrastructure created with an explicit purpose to
    provide natural benefits, such as water management through permeable surfaces or localized cooling through green roofs.

    This disparity may be due in part to the abundance of green space (e.g., parks, hiking trails) in the outer zones.

    2. There is a lack of funding to support initiatives. As noted in the previous section, adequate funding is necessary to implement plans and produce results. In certain evaluation measures, the topic may have been identified as an area of concern or interest, either informally among community members or formally in government meetings. However, lack of or limited funds prohibits any action from being taken. Even if the issue is one of measurable concern for the community, little or no financial support lowers its priority level below other needs that are more likely to secure support. One instance of this issue is with arts education in schools, which has suffered in recent years as public school funding declines
    (Education, Arts, and Community, Objective 1: Arts and Culture).

    3. Steps have been taken, but without making measurable progress. The community may have taken steps to address certain issues, and in some cases robust programming is in place to support the community. However, the statistics or quantifiable indicators of progress in these areas, which that would theoretically be positively affected by such actions, do not show significant improvement, and sometimes show a decline
    in conditions. A notable example of this scenario is in the broad range of services provided for individuals living in poverty to aid them in managing finances and finding employment, and yet the increase in poverty levels in Coos County over recent years (Equity and Empowerment, Objective 6: Poverty Prevention and Alleviation).

    4. The timing was not favorable for evaluation.
    For some evaluation measures, the community may be taking preliminary steps to explore the topic or it may be an emerging topic of conversation among residents and leaders. However, no notable action or outcomes have been observed or reported at the time of evaluation. Some of these measures that
    are undergoing early stages of planning or programming were marked for future evaluation or an update, such as is the case with targeted industry development that will be happening in the next couple of years, led by the South Coast Development Council (Economy and Jobs, Objective 5: Targeted Industry Development).

    5. There is a shift in the political or cultural climate creating unfavorable conditions. In some cases, there has been a history of action taken by certain entities in the community or at least initial steps
    toward taking action. However, a recent change in leadership or circumstances created a climate within the organization, community, or funding sources that is less favorable for pursuing plans any further.
    For example, the former county health department director had initiated efforts to begin a health impact assessment (HIA) program (a positive indicator for public health), which lost its momentum when she retired. In such instances, the community may have to wait until there is another change that shifts the climate back toward more favorable conditions.

    Low Achievement

    The Bay Area community has considerably poor performance in Climate and Energy, with an achievement rate of only 15% (STAR score). All of the factors listed under the moderate achievement section affect this area as
    well, but a fundamental reason is that climate adaptation, greenhouse gas mitigation, and resource efficiency has not been identified as a local priority with comprehensive and systematic action planning. The few efforts
    that have been made are mostly a product of state mandates. It is apparent that initial conversations have started on one or more of the Climate and Energy topics, particularly in the context of emergency preparedness and
    sea level rise. As climate change effects are felt more strongly and with potential federal regulations limiting carbon emissions in the near future, these conversations may become more central to local and regional community

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    Future Directions

    The STAR Rating System is a very powerful tool that can be used in many ways and at many stages in the community development process—from assessing current program strengths and weaknesses to identifying new priorities and monitoring program effectiveness. For the local community, this STAR assessment could be valuable to city and county agencies, business and industry leaders, community-based organizations, and residents. There are several next steps the community could take using this STAR assessment.

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    Pursuing STAR Certification

    As noted above, the Coos Bay Area community has an impressive preliminary STAR score given its small population size. It is estimated that the community could receive 3-STAR certification if it pursued certification. If the community wanted to pursue certification, it would follow these steps:

    1. Secure agency support. The STAR Reporting System requires extensive data
    from city and county agencies. Creating a memorandum of understanding or a
    similar agreement may help create more fluidity and efficiency in the assessment process and minimize any duplication of efforts. Establishing a formal partnership with the agencies can ease data requests and exchanges and potentially designate a portion of agency staff time to assist with completing the analysis for certain evaluation measures. Securing this level of support would be a critical step toward successfully completing the STAR assessment to the degree required for the certification process.

    2. Identify coordinating organization and individuals. While the STAR assessment requires many entities to be involved, there should be a single leading entity and individuals to coordinate the project. This may be the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds, an offshoot of the PCW, or another body altogether.

    3. Establish a working committee. Representatives from key agency departments, utilities, major industries, and community groups should be involved to help identify data sources, secure data, conduct analysis, and provide a degree of quality assurance/quality control of the data.

    4. Coordinate with STAR leadership. The certification process will involve many steps that the staff from STAR Communities will assist with. They should be notified that the community would like to seek certification and they will help identify the path forward. Since the Bay Area community is unique in the STAR Rating System, in that it is neither a city or county agency but rather a community collaborative group, the STAR staff members will help the community navigate the appropriate next steps.

    This assessment and report could not have been completed without the data provided by various local organizations and agencies in the Coos Bay Area. We would specifically like to acknowledge the Cities of Coos Bay and
    North Bend, Coos Bay’s Community Manager, Coos County—especially the departments of Public Health, Environmental Health, and County Clerk, Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board, Oregon Coast Community Action, local and regional administrators from the Department of Human Services, and the Coos Bay and North Bend School District superintendents and administrators.
    This report also drew on the Communities, Lands and Waterways Data Source framework and description created by the PCW Committee, technical reviewers, and Data Source project staff.