Metro and your property taxes
Finances and funding
› Property taxes
Find out how property taxes support Metro's programs.
Many residents of this region might be surprised to learn that, unlike other local governments, Metro receives a minority of its total annual funding – only 26 percent – from property taxes. Most of that property tax money pays for dedicated projects that the region’s voters have approved.
There are two categories for which Metro assesses property taxes: operating funds and capital projects.
Metro has a general operating levy that is funded through a permanent rate of 9.66 cents ($0.0966) per $1,000 of assessed value. This operating levy provides 5 percent of Metro’s overall operating revenues.
In May 2013, the region’s voters approved Measure 26-152 which established a temporary levy, with an additional rate of 9.6 cents ($0.096) per $1,000 of assessed value, dedicated to improving water quality for salmon and native fish, removing invasive weeds that threaten the health of natural areas, restoring wetlands and providing opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home. This levy is in effect for five years beginning July 1, 2013.
Learn more about Metro’s parks and natural areas levy
The rest of Metro’s operating funds come from enterprise revenues, excise taxes paid by users of Metro’s facilities, state and federal grants, and other sources.
Since 1995, the region’s voters have approved four bond measures that have enabled Metro to borrow against future property tax revenues to pay for different capital projects. These projects are initially funded through bonds sold to investors, and the investors are repaid, with interest, from revenues received through additional property tax assessments. These assessments remain on property tax statements until the bonds are fully paid.
For the tax year beginning July 1, 2013, owners of real property within Metro’s jurisdiction pay a total of 28 cents ($0.28) per $1,000 of assessed value for four voter-approved bond measures. The voter-approved capital projects funded through property taxes are:
- Purchase of natural areas: In 1995, the region’s voters approved Measure 26-26 which authorized Metro to borrow $135.6 million to purchase natural areas for habitat restoration, water quality protection, and new parks and trails for public enjoyment. This measure enabled Metro to purchase 8,100 acres of land and more than 74 miles of stream and river frontage. Lands for three new regional parks were purchased with funds from Measure 26-26: Mt. Talbert Nature Park near Happy Valley, Cooper Mountain Nature Park in Beaverton, and Graham Oaks Nature Park in Wilsonville. The measure also provided funding for dozens of projects for local parks and trails.
For 2013-14, property owners are assessed 8 cents ($0.08) per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for the bonds authorized by Measure 26-26. Those bonds are expected to be fully paid in 2015.
In 2006 the region’s voters approved a second bond measure, Measure 26-80, to continue the work started by the first natural areas bond measure approved in 1995. The 2006 measure provided $227.4 million to pay for additional natural area acquisitions throughout the region, including $44 million provided to local parks, trails and nature projects and $15 million for community-level grants. Metro sold the first series of bonds to investors in March 2007 for $125.4 million. In May 2012, Metro sold a second series of bonds for $75 million to continue the work authorized by Measure 26-80.
For 2013-14, property owners are assessed 12 cents ($0.12) per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for both series of bonds, which are expected to be fully paid in 2026.
Learn more about Metro’s natural areas program
- Oregon Zoo Great Northwest exhibit: In 1996, the region’s voters approved Measure 26-47 that authorized Metro to borrow $28.8 million for the development of the Great Northwest Exhibit at the Oregon Zoo and other improvements. For 2013-14, property owners are assessed 2 cents ($0.02) per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for the bonds authorized by voters. Those bonds are expected to be fully paid in 2017.
- Oregon Zoo Capital Improvements: In 2008, the region’s voters approved Measure 26-96 to provide $125 million for several improvements to the Oregon Zoo, including the development of a new veterinary hospital, the purchase of an off-site elephant preserve, development of a comprehensive master plan, replacement of the penguin exhibit water filtration systems, and the water main replacement project. For 2013-14, property owners are assessed 6 cents ($0.06) per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for bonds authorized by this measure, which are expected to be fully paid in 2028.
Read more about the improvements funded through the 2008 Oregon Zoo bond measure