Starting this week, a community advisory panel will consider whether the Metro Council should ask voters to invest more in the long-term health of the region’s parks and natural areas.
The 15-member panel, which will meet for the first time today, is expected to make a recommendation in August. Metro chief operating officer Martha Bennett appointed the group at the request of the Metro Council, which is studying challenges and opportunities at Metro’s 16,000 acres of parks and natural areas.
During the past two decades, Metro has grown into the region’s largest owner of protected land. Metro took responsibility for Multnomah County’s developed parks and boat ramps during the mid-1990s; two voter-approved bond measures have protected an additional 12,000-acres-and-counting of natural areas, from the forested Chehalem Ridge on the west side of the region to the Sandy River Gorge on the east.
As this portfolio of land grew, resources to care for it did not. Metro works to protect water quality and wildlife habitat at its properties by controlling weeds, helping rare and native plants thrive, and engaging partners in long-term restoration projects.
This spring, a survey of likely voters showed that 56 percent would support a levy to care for natural areas and parks if it cost the typical homeowner about $20 per year.
Chaired by former Portland General Electric vice-president Fred Miller, the panel includes business, conservation and community leaders:
- Fred Miller, Chair, former Portland General Electric vice-president
- Josh Alpert, The Trust for Public Land
- Marcelo Bonta, executive director, Center for Diversity & the Environment
- Tom Brian, former Washington County Board of Commissioner chairman
- Craig Dirksen, Tigard mayor and incoming Metro councilor
- Stacey Dycus, campaign strategist
- Donita S. Fry, Native American Youth & Family Center
- John Griffiths, Intel and Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District board member
- Lori Luchak, president, Mile Fiberglass & Composites, Inc.
- Mike Miller, Gresham Sanitary
- Wilda Parks, North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce
- David Pollock, Metro Natural Areas Program Performance Oversight Committee
- Jazzmin Reece, Reece Consulting LLC and Urban League of Portland
- Stephanie Routh, executive director, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
- Pam Wiley, Meyer Memorial Trust