We, the people of the Portland area metropolitan service district, in order to establish an elected, visible and accountable regional government that is responsive to the citizens of the region and works cooperatively with our local governments; that undertakes, as its most important service, planning and policy making to preserve and enhance the quality of life and the environment for ourselves and future generations; and that provides regional services needed and desired by the citizens in an efficient and effective manner, do ordain this charter for the Portland area metropolitan service district, to be known as Metro. – November 1992
The charter states that Metro’s primary responsibility is regional planning and policymaking. The charter also recognizes Metro’s significant role in providing regional services including:
- operation of a solid waste disposal system
- operation of regional venues such as the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center, Portland’s Center for the Arts and the Portland Expo Center
- acquisition and management of a system of parks and natural areas
- development and delivery of regional research and data.
The charter recognizes that regional government and issues evolve over time and so it grants Metro authority to assume responsibility for future issues of "metropolitan concern."
The charter also establishes Metro's funding authority, boundaries, governance and structure.