All people age 11 or older who live in Washington County can vote for which parks and nature projects in their community should be funded through Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods community choice grants program.
Voting is online at oregonmetro.gov/communitychoice and is open until August 13.
The first vote allows Washington County residents to vote for as many as 10 projects out of 44 total. The proposals with the largest number of votes will move forward to a more-detailed design stage.
All 44 projects were suggested by community members in the spring and developed with further community input in July. They range from community gardens and better fish passages to playgrounds and wetland restorations. All projects are located within Metro District 4, which includes urban Washington County north of Oregon Highway 8.
“Reaching out directly to community members allows us to really focus in on those quality-of-life kind of investments – those little things you can do on a neighborhood scale,” said Gabrielle Brown, a Metro grant program manager. “All these tiny projects, we can make a difference. It really is nature in neighborhoods.”
This is the first time Metro has directly asked community members to share their ideas for parks and nature projects, and it’s the first time Metro has put the decision for what will be funded directly in community members’ hands. Past grants have been awarded by committees from proposals submitted by community and conservation organizations and local governments.
The new community choice pilot program democratizes the decision-making process and offers kids and teenagers a first opportunity to engage in a vote with real-world impact.
After the first vote, a slate of projects will go to a final round of voting. In the final round, anyone in the greater Portland region age 11 or older can vote for their favorite projects.
The community choice grants program is funded by Metro’s parks and nature bond measure, passed by voters in 2019. Up to $2 million will be distributed, with each of the selected projects receiving between $10,000 and $250,000. Metro has partnered with the cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forest Grove, along with Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, to gather and develop ideas.
Learn more about the Nature in Neighborhoods community choice grants program