A new committee is being considered based on applications from community members. When this committee is appointed by the Metro Council, it will replace the current Natural Areas Capital Performance Oversight Committee. This is expected to happen at the end of 2020.
The committee will keep Metro accountable and transparent in its use of capital funds from the $475 million 2019 nature bond and the 2018 parks and natural areas levy, which raises about $16 million a year. Voters overwhelmingly approved both measures. The oversight committee will ensure transparent oversight of the 2019 bond measure by reviewing implementation to ensure consistency with its requirements and principles to ensure that taxpayer funds are used responsibly.
The bond measure supports projects that protect clean water, healthy habitat and access to nature. Any project funded by the bond must fulfill three criteria: advancing racial equity, climate resilience and community engagement. The measure was developed through engagement with a wide range of community members.
The 2019 parks and nature bond measure supports these programs:
- Protect and restore land, $155 million
- Local parks and nature projects, $92 million
- Nature in Neighborhoods capital grants, $40 million
- Metro parks improvements, $98 million
- Walking and biking trails, $40 million
- Large-scale community visions, $50 million
Independent community oversight has been essential to Metro's transparency, accountability and delivery on promises to voters in each of its funding measures. The oversight committee will:
- Review progress of the bond measure’s goals and projects.
- Ensure that the implementation of the bond measure protects and restores clean water and habitat and connects people with nature.
- Ensure projects fulfill the criteria of racial equity, community engagement and climate resilience.
- Provide oversight on investments from the parks and natural areas local-option levy.
- Work with staff to develop a set of metrics that will evaluate bond measure performance.
The Metro Council will appoint 13 to 17 committee members who reflect a broad range of personal and professional experience. The committee will also reflect the diversity of the region.
The Council seeks a mix of representatives who demonstrate:
- A commitment to racial equity, social and environmental justice, diversity and inclusion
- Experience, skills and knowledge in finance, land acquisition, construction, environmental law, working lands, and tribal sovereignty
- Understanding of the needs of people of color, the disability community and the urban Indigenous community
- The ability to work collaboratively with people of diverse perspectives and experiences
- Connections with historically marginalized communities in greater Portland
- Understanding of the geographic and demographic diversity of the region
Committee members will meet four times a year for two tothree hours online or in-person when it’s safe to gather. Each meeting will require one to two hours of preparation. Each committee member will serve a one- or two-year term.
Stipends, childcare, technical assistance, interpretation, accessibility assistance and other supports for participation are available for committee members.