Voters across greater Portland may have the opportunity this November to renew a parks and nature bond measure that would continue protecting clean water, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, and connecting people with nature close to home.
The Metro Council has asked staff to develop a package of proposed investments with an initial framework focusing on racial equity and climate resiliency across six areas: protecting and restoring land, taking care of Metro parks, awarding community grants, supporting local projects, creating trails for walking and biking, and delivering on large-scale community visions.
Councilors requested the potential bond measure land in the range of $400 million to $450 million, which would not raise current taxes. They could make a decision in May or June about whether to refer a measure to the ballot.
Voters approved Metro parks and natural areas bond measures in 1995 and 2006 as well as local-option levies in 2013 and 2016 to care for the land. The Metro Council is considering a potential third bond measure as spending from the 2006 bond measure winds down.
The content of the bond measure will be shaped in part by input gathered from community members since last summer. A public survey is expected to be available in April. A 30-member stakeholder table representing conservation, recreation, agricultural, nonprofit, business, local government, neighborhood association, Indigenous and culturally specific interests has met since last summer to develop the potential bond measure. In March, focused engagement in partnership with community-based organizations gathered more in-depth input around three Metro destinations: the Glendoveer Nature Trail, Blue Lake Regional Park, and Oregon City, where Metro owns and operates Canemah Bluff Nature Park and is working on providing public access to Newell Creek Canyon and Willamette Falls.
Several councilors earlier this year said they’d like to see a potential third bond measure place more of an emphasis on providing better access to nature for people compared to past bond measures.
“There are two different ways to get to habitat preservation,” Council President Lynn Peterson said at a January council work session. “One is to lead with it and the other is to lead with people, while getting to a secondary outcome of habitat preservation.”