Timeline: A natural history
Two decades ago, the region envisioned a network of natural areas, parks and trails – and that vision is becoming a reality. Learn about milestones along the way.
1992 The region comes together around a vision for a network of natural areas, parks and trails, approving the Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan. It provides a blueprint for future investments in the outdoors.
1995 Voters in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties overwhelmingly approve a $136 million bond measure to protect natural areas and complete missing pieces of trails. Metro mobilizes to protect land in 21 target areas across the region.
1996 Metro begins protecting land near Clear Creek, which will grow into a 500-acre natural area beyond Carver. It provides a haven for wildlife, from endangered Coho and Chinook salmon to deer, coyote, beaver and river otter.
1998 An agreement is reached to complete a missing three-mile section of the Springwater Corridor, from just south of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to the Sellwood Bridge. Since opening in 2005, it has become one of the most popular trails in the region.
2005 Metro celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the bond measure, which is winding down. The bond preserved more than 8,000 acres of natural areas, protected 74 miles of river and stream banks and supported more than 100 local park projects.
2006 Nearly 60 percent of voters support a $227 million bond measure to continue protecting water quality, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities. This time, 27 target areas are selected for their high-quality habitat and ability to make a difference.
2007 Mount Talbert Nature Park opens in Clackamas County, providing a forested oasis for people and wildlife in a busy suburban area. It is first of three major nature parks protected, restored and publicly opened by the two bond measures.
2008 An independent citizen oversight committee releases its first report on the 2006 natural areas bond measure, praising the core work and making suggestions to improve outreach, attract a diverse mix of grant recipients and better measure progress.
2009 Cooper Mountain Nature Park opens near Beaverton, featuring high-quality wildlife habitat, vistas of the Tualatin River Valley and more than three miles of trails. The park is managed by the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District.
2010 Metro makes its largest single purchase to date, protecting a 1,143-acre forest now known as Chehalem Ridge Natural Area. Nestled in the Chehalem Mountains near Forest Grove, it features valuable oak habitat, beaver ponds and views of five Cascade peaks.
2010 Graham Oaks Nature Park in Wilsonville becomes the third major nature park, with trails traversing restored oak woodland, wetlands and a conifer forest. It also serves as an outdoor classroom for two schools with environmental education center next door.
2013 Voters approve a local option levy of 9.6 cents per $1,000 of home value. Funds will be used at natural areas and parks to open more areas to the public, to improve existing facilities, and to offer more opportunities to volunteer, learn or apply for grants. The levy will raise $8 to $10 million per year for five years.