Up until a couple of years ago, the effects of climate change in greater Portland were tougher to see in concrete ways. Things like rising temperatures and repeated droughts came incrementally enough that they felt minor, though obviously they weren’t. At Metro, one of the first visible examples of climate change was a story in late 2019 about why so many trees were dying across the region. Then the fires last year provided another powerful, horrible example.
And this year we were hit by the hottest days ever recorded, and it cost the lives of more than 100 people in Oregon, most of them in our region. Those deaths were concentrated among people who live in heat islands, which correspond to low-income communities and communities with high percentages of people of color.
In the time since the bond was passed, we’ve had three increasingly devastating examples of why climate resilience and racial equity are central to the bond’s work.
We’ve got news to share about potential future Parks and Nature funding. The Metro Council has asked parks and nature staff to develop a package for potential renewal of the parks and nature levy first passed by voters in 2013 and then renewed through June 2023. It will be up to the Metro Council to decide whether to refer a levy renewal for voters to consider in 2022.
Metro’s parks and nature bond measure and local-option levy work together to protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat and connect people with nature close to home. The bond and levy serve different functions and fund different but related bodies of work. By law, money from bond measures must support capital projects – bond money cannot be used to pay for routine maintenance, supplies or general operating expenses.
Levy money allows Metro to care for and operate regional parks, natural areas and cemeteries – things like removing invasive weeds, planting native trees and shrubs, and paying for park rangers and maintenance crews.
For more information about the impact of the levy around the region and the potential levy renewal, visit oregonmetro.gov/futurefunding. We’ll also provide updates in this monthly newsletter about the levy renewal process.
Contact: Beth Cohen, [email protected]
The Natural Areas and Capital Program Performance Oversight Committee met this week for a training on the three bond criteria: racial equity, climate resilience and community engagement.
The training provided a foundation for a shared understanding of the bond criteria and allowed members to share their experience and understanding related to the criteria. You can find a brief summary of the training on the committee’s webpage, where you can find agendas, minutes and presentations from previous meetings.
The committee will meet again in September and November. Part of the training asked members to come to the September meeting ready to discuss group agreements that can help support the group’s interaction in a virtual and physical space.
Protect and restore land
Contact: Shannon Leary, [email protected]
Ecological assessments for the bond’s 24 target areas are underway using the ecological framework that was created and piloted over the past year. The framework uses more than 60 region-wide data sets and maps to provide comparable descriptions of the geography, past and current land-use and land-cover patterns, natural resources, and the biodiversity conservation and restoration potential of each target area.
In August, we’re hosting a series of information-gathering sessions to hear from stakeholders, including government agencies, conservation organizations and individuals, who have up-close knowledge of the conditions of the target areas. The data from the assessments and the insights from the information-gathering sessions will then be shared with community members to help identify priorities and build the eventual refinement plans. These plans will go before the Metro Council in early 2022 and establish land acquisition priorities for each target area.
Each session covers several related target areas. Sessions for the urban target area are still being scheduled.
If you would like to join a session and share your direct knowledge of these areas, please contact Shannon Leary: [email protected]
Chehalem Ridge, Wapato Lake and Gales Creek, Killin Wetlands, Wapato Lake to the Coast Range connection,
Wednesday, August 4, 1 to 3 p.m.
Abernethy and Newell creeks, Clackamas River Bluffs and Greenway, Clear Creek, Deep Creek and Tributaries, East Buttes, Highland Ridge, Johnson Creek floodplain and headwaters,
Monday, August 9, 1 to 3 p.m.
Beaver Creek (Lower Sandy River) and Sandy River,
Friday, August 13, 10 a.m. to noon
Cooper Mountain, Dairy and McKay creeks, Tonquin oak woodlands, Tualatin River floodplains and headwaters,
Monday, August 16, 10 a.m. to noon
Molalla oaks, prairies and floodplains; Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff connections, Wilson, Pecan and Fields Creeks,
Wednesday, August 18, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Greater Forest Park connections, Multnomah Channel headwaters, Rock Creek (upper and middle forks),
Thursday, August 19, 10 a.m. to noon
Local parks and nature projects (local share)
Contact: Alex Gilbertson, [email protected]
On July 14, Metro convened the first of a series of roundtables with local share partners, the region's 27 park providers, to share community engagement practices and resources that are being developed and used across greater Portland.
These roundtables are a response to the needs and questions raised by our partners and will be held monthly through the next several months as we get the program up and running.
During this roundtable, we focused on creating a shared understanding of meaningful community engagement (one of the bond’s three main criteria). We walked through a few tools and practices that can be used as parks providers design and launch their engagement processes. Several of these resources can be found at the local share webpage.
In this session there was also time for small group discussions for partners to talk through some of the challenges they are facing and to strategize solutions.
Next month’s roundtable will focus on equity in contract and workforce equity.