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Region's voters direct Metro to purchase natural areas

Measure 26-80 passing handily in unofficial returns

News Release:
Nov. 8, 2006

Contact: Ken Ray, 503-797-1508,

On Nov. 7, voters in the Portland metropolitan region approved a $227.4 million bond measure directing Metro to purchase natural areas, parks and streams, according to unofficial election returns.

As of 8:30 a.m. today, Ballot Measure 26-80 passed with a “yes” vote of 58.6 percent.

“The voters have indicated that they care deeply about preserving our most valuable natural areas for future generations,” said Metro Council President David Bragdon. “Our collective efforts to acquire and protect natural areas will preserve the best remaining open spaces, enhance our network of trails, and provide greater access to nature for the citizens of this region.”

Measure 26-80’s approval enables the preservation of natural areas and the protection of rivers, streams and creeks at the regional, local and neighborhood levels:

    $168.4 million will be used by Metro to purchase between 3,500 and 4,500 acres of land in identified target areas that will provide regional benefits in preserving wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, enhancing trails and greenways, and connecting urban areas with nature $44 million will be distributed to cities, counties and park districts within Metro’s jurisdiction to fund identified local projects that are consistent with protection of natural areas and water quality, such as land acquisition for habitat protection or future parks $15 million will fund a new Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grants Program whereby non-profit organizations, local governments and other community-based organizations can apply for matched funding (with $2 of outside funds or in-kind contributions matching $1 of Metro funds) to support community-level projects. Projects may include the acquisition of neighborhood natural areas, development of community gardens, habitat restoration efforts, interpretive displays and development of trails, among others.

Measure 26-80 was modeled after a successful $135.6 million package approved by the region’s voters in May 1995. As a result of the 1995 measure, Metro acquired more than 8,100 acres of natural areas throughout the region, including 74 miles of stream and river frontage. Nearly one million trees and shrubs were planted, and more than 20,000 volunteer hours contributed to restoration efforts.

The Metro Council has already approved exclusive options to purchase a few selected parcels from willing sellers contingent upon Measure 26-80’s passage. Some of those parcels include a nearly 50-acre addition to Forest Park in Portland, almost 53 acres containing critical headwaters and tributaries of the Tualatin River, and 112 acres of forest land along Abernethy Creek near Oregon City.

The natural areas acquisition program will operate entirely on a willing-seller basis with local property owners. Lands purchased through this bond measure will be retained in public ownership.

It is estimated that owners of property within Metro’s jurisdiction will pay an assessment of 19 cents per $1000 of assessed value in the first year. For a home assessed at $175,000, that amounts to $33.25. The annual assessment rate is expected to decline over time as the region’s population grows and the property base expands. These estimates are based on an anticipated 20-year payoff period.

All of the expenditures resulting from the passage of Measure 26-80 will be subject to annual independent audits published in a local newspaper. An independent citizen advisory committee will provide oversight on all elements of the program.

More information on Ballot Measure 26-80 and Metro’s natural areas acquisitions program can be found online at

Metro, the regional government that serves 1.3 million people who live in the 25 cities and unincorporated urban areas of the Portland metropolitan region, provides planning and other services that protect the nature and livability of our region. More information about Metro can be found online at

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