About Metro › Mission, charter and code
Learn about the Metro Council's results-oriented goals and mission and the agency's unique history as the only directly elected regional government in the country. Read the Metro Charter and the Metro Code.
Clean air and clean water do not stop at city limits or county lines. Neither does the need for jobs, a thriving economy and good transportation choices for people and businesses in our region. Voters have asked Metro to help with the challenges that cross those lines and affect the 25 cities and three counties in the Portland metropolitan area.
Metro is the directly elected regional government that serves more than 1.5 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the 25 cities in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. The Metro Council includes a council president elected regionwide and six councilors elected by district. Metro also has an auditor who is elected regionwide.
The Portland region enjoys unusually good fortune as a place to live, work and play. Few metropolitan areas can boast our combined advantages in thriving communities, cultural amenities, economic vitality, scenic beauty, and healthy natural ecosystems. These advantages enrich the lives of residents, attract newcomers with talents and dreams, and form a legacy to pass to the next generation.
For the region's leaders and citizens alike, nurturing this livability is a constant quest. Metro plays a unique and leading role in that effort.
Read a history of Metro prepared for the Metro Home Rule Charter Commission by Carl Abbott and Margery Post Abbott in 1991. Download the document
As far back as the 1950s, Portland area civic leaders saw an unfilled need to provide region-wide planning and coordination to manage pressing growth, infrastructure, and development issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries. They also saw a need to protect adjacent rural lands from urbanization and to provide particular services that are regional in nature.
Nearly 30 years ago Metro was created to fill that void. Its charter was broad: to provide planning, policy making, and services to preserve and enhance the region's quality of life. Its earliest responsibilities included urban growth boundary management, transportation planning, waste disposal planning and management, and operating the zoo – all of which remain in the Metro portfolio today.
Since then, Metro's duties have expanded as envisioned in its charter. Time and again, regional jurisdictions and leaders have turned to Metro for region-wide solutions to other needs – solid waste management and recycling, preservation of natural areas, long-range planning, habitat restoration, and venues for conventions, exhibits, and performing arts. Today Metro is increasingly viewed as a regional resource, problem solver, and leader.
In this sense, Metro itself is a regional asset with uniquely Oregon roots. Like comprehensive land use planning, public beaches, and the Bottle Bill, Metro is an Oregon innovation in policy and governance. It is a product of visionary leadership in the 1970s that set the stage for the quality of life we enjoy today in Oregon. That quality of life, in turn, accords the region and Oregon a unique advantage to compete in the global economy.
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Learn about the Metro Charter, which was approved by voters in 1992 and amended in November 2000.
Read the Metro Code, the body of laws enacted by the Metro Council under the authority of the Metro Charter.
Learn how Metro goals guide Metro's work and inspire collaboration with local governments, stakeholder groups, community leaders and the people of the region.