Where is Metro?
Metro serves more than 1.7 million people in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. The agency's boundary encompasses Portland, Oregon and 23 other cities – from the Columbia River in the north to the bend of the Willamette River near Wilsonville, and from the foothills of the Coast Range near Forest Grove to the banks of the Sandy River at Troutdale.
Who is Metro?
The Metro Council consists of a president, elected regionwide, and six councilors who are elected by district every four years in nonpartisan races. The Metro Auditor, elected regionwide, is responsible for oversight of Metro's annual financial statements and for conducting performance audits. The council appoints a chief operating officer to carry out council policies and manage Metro operations. The chief operating officer oversees a diverse workforce of more than 1,600 employees including park rangers, economists, teachers, scientists, designers, planners, animal keepers, stagehands and cartographers. Hundreds of volunteers lend a hand at Metro's parks, cemeteries, natural areas, offices and visitor venues.
Why regional governance?
As far back as the 1950s, Portland area leaders saw an unfilled need to provide regionwide planning and coordination to manage growth, infrastructure and development issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries. They also saw a need to protect farms and forests from urbanization and to provide services that are regional in nature. More than 30 years ago, Metro was created to fill that void, becoming the nation's first directly elected regional government.
Learn more about Metro's history
Affordable housing and supportive services
Metro manages two voter-approved initiatives to increase housing stability and end houselessness across greater Portland. The 2018 affordable housing bond is a $652 million investment that aims to bring 3,900 affordable homes to the region. Local cities and counties use bond funding to develop new affordable apartment communities.
Metro voters passed the supportive housing services measure in 2020 to fund services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Goals for the 10-year fund are to connect 5,000 chronically homeless households with supportive housing and stabilize 10,000 at-risk households in permanent housing. Services include outreach, shelter and transitional housing, eviction prevention, housing placement and case management.
Metro brings a regional perspective and approach to this important work. Its role is to provide oversight, regional coordination, transparency and administration for both of these funds and their implementation.
Affordable housing bond program
Supportive housing services
Land use and development
In the early 1990s Portland area residents weighed in on a 50-year blueprint for growth that aims to protect farms, forests and historic neighborhoods and ensure access to good jobs, housing and transportation options for all. Metro works with local partners to bring this vision to life across the region – targeting investments in downtowns and main streets that spur economic development and accommodate growth while preserving the unique character of each community.
Metro manages the boundary that separates urban land from rural land in the Portland region and works with communities to plan for future population growth and meet needs for housing, employment, transportation and recreation.
Land use library
Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Portland region
Metro is authorized by Congress and the State of Oregon to coordinate and plan investments in the transportation system for the three-county area. Metro uses this authority to expand transportation options, make the most of existing streets and improve public transit service.
As an MPO, Metro works collaboratively with cities, counties and transportation agencies to decide how to invest federal highway and public transit funds within its service area. It creates a long-range transportation plan, leads efforts to expand the public transit system and helps make strategic use of a small subset of transportation funding that Congress sends directly to MPOs.
Metro acts as the regional clearinghouse for land information and coordinates data and research activities with government partners, academic institutions and the private sector. To support policymakers, businesses and community organizations across the region, Metro's Research Center provides:
- independent, reliable spatial data and science-based research
- custom mapping and analysis
- travel demand and air quality modeling and analysis
- economic and land use forecasting.
Regional research library
Data Resource Center
Natural areas, parks and trails
Metro manages 17,000 acres of parks, trails and natural areas across the Portland metropolitan region, from wild forests like Chehalem Ridge to beloved destinations like Oxbow Regional Park. Thanks to voters, this network of protected land continues to get bigger and healthier.
Metro is purchasing additional natural areas, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat. By offering outdoor classes and volunteer projects, Metro gives you a chance to get involved. Community grants connect people with nature close to home.
Parks and nature investments
Metro runs the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center and Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Together, these popular destinations drew 3.4 million people in FY 2013, generating nearly $2 million a day in spending throughout the region.
The Oregon Zoo is the state's top paid attraction and plays a vital role in Metro's conservation mission. The Oregon Convention Center is the largest convention facility in the Pacific Northwest and the first in the nation to receive a LEED-EB certification from the US Green Building Council. Portland'5 Centers for the Arts bring more than 1,000 music, theater, dance and lecture performances to the region each year. The Portland Expo Center is largest exhibition facility on the West Coast and home to diverse array of lifestyle and hobby shows, public exhibitions and community events.
Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission
Solid waste and recycling
Metro plans and oversees the region's solid waste system – working with local communities and industry partners to reduce waste while managing garbage, recycling and composting in a safe, healthy and cost-effective manner. Metro owns and operates two garbage and recycling stations and hazardous waste facilities. A hotline and an online search tool help people recycle everything from batteries to leftover paint to construction debris. Education and outreach programs offer tips and tools for saving resources and protecting clean air and water at home and on the job.
Tools for living
Regional Waste Plan