In January 2009, Susan Anderson was selected by Mayor Sam Adams to lead the City of Portland’s new Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (a merger of the Bureau of Planning and Office of Sustainable Development). This new bureau builds on the outstanding history of planning in Portland, and will ensure that sustainability principles are thoroughly integrated into the core of Portland's planning, urban design, business and residential services, and government operations.
Similarly in 2000, Anderson was asked to lead the new Office of Sustainable Development. OSD provided a mix of creative policy and service programs with practical, technical solutions for residents, government and businesses.
During the 1990s, Anderson directed the City's Energy Office, an entrepreneurial city organization based on business and government partnerships.
In 1993, under Anderson’s leadership at the Energy Office, the City of Portland became the first city in the United States to adopt a climate action plan. Since then, carbon emissions have been reduced by more than 15 percent per capita.
To implement the Climate Action Plan, Anderson promotes a consumer-oriented approach: “That’s what the whole green building program is about — energy and resource efficiency integrated with creating a wonderful space where people want to live and work. We’ve seen the market take off when we’ve listened to the consumer and given them what they want.”
Over the years, Anderson has worked with more than 30 communities to promote resource efficiency, the use of solar and other renewable resources,affordable housing, transportation options, and industries that create green jobs. She is a frequent speaker at national and international symposiums on land use planning and sustainable development, and building business/government partnerships.
Prior to her work with the City of Portland, Anderson was director of an environmental consulting firm. She also held positions with the Oregon Department of Energy, was an environmental land-use planner and a public relations professional.
Anderson holds undergraduate and advanced degrees in Urban and Regional Planning, Economics and Environmental Science. The University of California Santa Barbara recently named Anderson an Outstanding Alumnus of the Environmental Studies Program. In 2008, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management.