Since 1995, voters in greater Portland have passed three bond measures that protect the region’s air and water, restore fish and wildlife habitat and connect people with nature. When voters overwhelmingly passed the 2019 bond measure, they endorsed three critical aspects to this work: racial equity, community engagement and climate resilience.
Always a priority for Black and Indigenous communities, racial equity became Metro policy in the years before the 2019 bond measure was developed. That commitment to racial equity is at the heart of the bond measure. As the bond says, every program must “prioritize projects and needs identified by communities of color, Indigenous communities, low-income and other historically marginalized communities. This will be done in close collaboration and partnership with community members. The bond requires that its programs meaningfully engage with communities of color, Indigenous communities, people with low incomes and other historically marginalized communities in planning, development and selection of projects.
Climate resilience has also become a key task for Metro. The fires that tore through Clackamas County show that climate change is already affecting the region. The bond measure requires that its projects help people, wildlife and habitats increase their capacity for handling the changes that are underway.
A community oversight committee appointed by the Metro Council keeps Metro accountable and transparent for how it spends bond dollars.
Learn more about Metro’s parks and nature investments
Protect and restore land
Contact: Shannon Leary
The protect and restore land program is the heart of conservation in Parks and Nature. This program dates back to Metro’s first bond measure in 1995 and is key to Metro’s work to protect clean water and restore fish and wildlife habitat. The 2019 bond expands the program’s mission to protecting culturally significant sites and bringing nature back into urban areas.
Local parks and nature projects
Contact: Alex Gilbertson
This program supports greater Portland’s 27 local parks providers to fund and build projects that are important to their communities. Projects must fulfill the bond measure’s racial equity, climate resilience and community engagement criteria.
Nature in Neighborhoods capital grants
Contact: Crista Gardner
Across greater Portland, some of the best conservation and nature work is created by community members. Nature in Neighborhoods provides grants to projects led by neighborhood groups, community organizations, schools, park providers, soil and water conservation districts, and others. The capital projects must protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, support climate resiliency, and/or increase a community’s connection to nature.
Metro park improvements
Contact: Melissa Bergstrom
Folks in the region have made it clear they want Metro to take care of and improve our existing parks, cemeteries, boat ramps, and other facilities and finish the parks we have started building. This program focuses on providing safe, welcoming places for people to connect with nature.
Walking and biking trails
Contact: Robert Spurlock
This program is key to expanding and improving the region’s system of trails by identifying new trail routes and connections between existing trails, acquiring property and building trails. The program will also create a competitive capital grant program to fund trail-building by local governments.
Large-scale community visions
Contact: Beth Cohen
This program area will help deliver large-scale projects that uplift communities by leveraging nature to achieve benefits such as affordable housing and safe and reliable transportation. This program includes $20 million for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.