Metro Council President Lynn Peterson (she, her, hers) leads the nation’s only elected regional government, representing over 1.7 million Oregonians in the Portland area. In this role, Peterson directs a staff of more than 1000, charged with affordable housing and parks investments, protection of farms, forests and water resources, planning and investments in transportation, overseeing tourism and cultural venues as well as management of garbage and recycling.
Prior to serving as Metro Council President, Peterson worked in a variety of roles in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She first held elected office as a Lake Oswego City Councilor before becoming the first elected chair of Clackamas County, one of Oregon’s fastest growing suburban and rural counties.
A transportation and land use expert with degrees in engineering and planning, Peterson served in Salem as senior advisor to former Gov. John Kitzhaber, before a serving as the director of the Washington State Department of Transportation, appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee. At WSDOT, she oversaw a $10 billion budget for operation and maintenance of roads, rails, ferries, congestion pricing and megaprojects such as the Seattle Tunnel Project, the SR 520 Floating Bridge and the Columbia River Crossing.
After returning to Oregon, Peterson consulted nationally on transportation and land use best practices with Smart Growth America, and served as interim executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, the state’s leading land use advocacy group.
Under Peterson’s leadership, Metro expanded its role in affordable housing and response to the homelessness crisis in the Portland region, and in 2018 Peterson helped lead campaign efforts to approve a regional bond measure that is funding construction, maintenance and support for thousands of low income families and individuals.
In 2019, Peterson convened an equity-based process for renewal of a regional parks and land use bond, approved by over 66% of the region’s voters.
Council President Peterson represents Metro Council in planning for the important projects like the I-5 Rose Quarter improvements and the I-5 Bridge Replacement between Oregon and Washington. In that role she is centering values related to centering racial equity and climate change.
Having served rural communities in local government, Peterson brings a unique perspective and relationships to her Metro role, centered on trust and outcomes as opposed to partisanship or traditional fault lines in the rural/urban divide. With climate change, growth pressures, affordability and other challenges facing the Metro region and across Oregon, Peterson will continue to seek dialogue and progressive policies that work for all families and communities.
Lynn and her husband Mark, an engineer and entrepreneur, share a home with three Alaskan malamutes in Lake Oswego, where she first ran for local office nearly two decades ago. When not poring over light rail alignments and affordable housing plans, Peterson can be found cycling or hiking throughout the Northwest.
Council President Peterson began her term in 2019; her current term expires Jan. 2, 2023