Measure 26-203 - November 2019 Special Election - Metro

Referred to the people of the Metro Region by the Metro Council.


Bonds to protect water quality, fish, wildlife habitat, natural areas

Question: Shall Metro protect clean water, natural areas, access to parks and nature; issue bonds estimated to maintain current tax rate?

If the bonds are approved, they will be payable from taxes on property or property ownership that are not subject to the limits of sections 11 and 11b, Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.

Summary: If passed, the measure would:

  • Authorize $475 million in general obligation bonds to continue regional programs to protect and improve water quality in local rivers and streams, and help salmon and other native fish.
  • Protect headwaters of local rivers like the Willamette, Tualatin and Clackamas, wildlife habitat, and natural areas. Restore wetlands to control flooding.
  • Fund local water quality, wildlife habitat, trail, and park maintenance projects, and large-scale community nature access projects.
  • Continue Nature in Neighborhoods grants to protect and connect people and nature.
  • Maintain Metro’s parks, including Oxbow and Blue Lake, and make these parks and natural areas safer, more accessible and welcoming, especially for low-income families and communities of color.

Due to previous bonds retiring, this program is not expected to increase tax rates.

Requires community oversight committee; yearly independent financial audits. Bond costs estimated at $0.19 per $1,000 of assessed value annually, approximately $4.00/month for the average homeowner. Actual costs may differ. Bonds may be issued in multiple series and mature in no more than 30 years.



Parks and natural areas set greater Portland apart from other metropolitan regions. Over the past quarter-century, the region’s voters have approved two bond measures that allowed Metro to create a regional system of parks and natural areas that protects water quality, restores fish and wildlife habitat, and provides people with access to nature. With voters’ support, Metro has worked with partners to purchase land from willing sellers, restore local streams and wetlands to improve the health of native fish, plants and wildlife, and supported hundreds of local and community projects. Today, Metro manages more than 17,000 acres of parks, trails and natural areas across greater Portland, spanning the region from Cornelius to Oregon City to Gresham.

The Portland region’s natural areas and parks are experiencing increased pressure from population growth. High-quality habitat for fish and wildlife is threatened, while demand for existing parks and natural areas grows. Scientists predict that the impacts of population growth will be compounded by more heat waves and extreme weather events affecting human and natural communities far into the future. Metro’s previous parks and nature bonds, approved by voters in 1995 and 2006, are reaching the conclusion of their planned investments.

Use of funds

This measure would authorize Metro to issue $475 million in general obligation bonds to continue regional investments that improve water quality in local rivers and streams and restore fish and wildlife habitat by protecting land along the Clackamas, Tualatin and Sandy rivers and Johnson, Fanno, Beaver, Newell and other creeks. Bond funds would protect salmon, trout, steelhead and lamprey, help prevent flooding in urban areas and protect and restore culturally significant plant communities.

Bond projects would increase access to nature for people in the Metro region, which includes Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties. Metro would distribute funds to cities, counties and other local park providers across greater Portland for local water quality, wildlife habitat and park capital maintenance projects, as well as provide funding for community-led Nature in Neighborhoods grants, regional trails and large-scale nature projects that also address community issues such as jobs, housing and transportation. Bond funds would be used to maintain regional parks, including Oxbow and Blue Lake, by updating infrastructure and increasing opportunities for low-income families and communities of color to connect with nature close to home.

If passed, what would the bond cost?

Due to previous bonds retiring, this program is not expected to increase tax rates. If voters approve the bond measure, Metro estimates that it would maintain the current tax rate of $0.19 per $1,000 of assessed value annually – about $4 a month for a home assessed at $250,000. Actual rates may differ based upon changes in assessed values and interest rates incurred.


An independent community oversight committee would review bond expenditures and provide annual reports. An independent public accounting firm would perform an annual financial audit of the expenditure of bond funds.

Submitted by
Andrew Scott, Metro Interim Chief Operating Officer


Renew our commitment to protecting the water, open spaces, and parks across our growing, diverse region!

Voters across our region have consistently approved funding measures to support regional parks, trails and natural areas. Measure 26-203 renews this commitment without raising taxes. Vote YES today!

A Record of Success
This measure expands upon Metro’s successful track record preserving and managing over 17,000 acres of regional parks, trails and natural areas. It also provides funding for local parks and nature projects in communities throughout the region.

Developed With Community Guidance
Consistent with Metro’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and inclusion, this measure was developed with extensive input from communities throughout Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

Measure 26-203 Priorities

  • Land purchase and restoration: Improve fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality and restore key natural areas.
  • Metro park improvements: Complete parks such as Chehalem Ridge in Washington County, increase access for people with disabilities and improve facilities in parks such as Oxbow and Blue Lake.
  • Nature in Neighborhoods grants: Community-based projects to expand equity and access to outdoor recreation
  • Local parks and nature projects: Money will be given/dispersed to cities, counties and park providers across all three counties to purchase and protect vital land, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and build and maintain parks.
  • Walking and biking trails: Build new trails and construct missing sections, creating a regional network of walking and biking paths.
  • Transformative community projects: Funding for public projects that address conservation as well as jobs, housing and transportation, like Willamette Falls in downtown Oregon City.

Let’s renew our commitment to parks and open spaces, water quality, and improved access for all people! Please vote Yes!

Please Join us in Supporting Measure 26-203!

Portland Business Alliance
The Main Street Alliance
The Intertwine Alliance
The Street Trust
Metro President Lynn Peterson
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Susan Harnett Oregon Zoo Bond Citizens Oversight Committee Chair
Mitchell Hornecker Metro Housing Bond Oversight Committee Member
And many more!

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


Nature for All Measure Brings Meaningful Benefits to Our Communities

The health and well-being of our communities and the natural world are of utmost importance. These values are more important than individual profit and should be supported through equitable distribution of resources. As organizations rooted in and dedicated to the communities we serve, we recognize and elevate this belief as we support the Nature for All Measure.

This bond measure builds upon the spirit of conservation and preservation and envisions our region through the lens of racial equity. This focus brings more concrete benefits to underserved communities, including communities of color and low-income residents. It centers human connections, not just natural ecology, while bringing real improvements to our neighborhoods.

Previous park measures had noble goals, but amenities were not always accessible for everyone. They were often on the outskirts of the region and typically inaccessible by public transit. For many, these areas exist as places on a map but not places you can actually go. We need investments in spaces that are important to communities of color, tribal communities and low-income communities.

In recent years, a growing body of evidence suggests that the ZIP code where you live is the strongest indicator of health outcomes, including your life expectancy. Many underserved communities live in neighborhoods deficient in safe, healthy, green places to play, live, and gather. These disparities add up over a lifetime, hurting our health and undermining our belief in fairness.

Through this measure, our communities will see local parks and natural areas — the things that make our region an amazing place to live. We can be proud of passing a measure that will improve the day-to-day lives of hundreds of thousands of local residents while also building ecological resilience.

Vote Yes on Nature for All!


Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
East County Rising
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Unite Oregon

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


Water Quality and Climate Advocates Agree: Vote YES on Measure 26-203! Protect and enhance our region’s water quality, habitat, and natural areas.

Everyone deserves access to safe, clean water. Developed with guidance from a diverse coalition of community members from Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County, Measure 26-203 builds upon Metro’s successful track record of exercising responsible, strategic fiscal management to preserve and secure regional rivers, wetlands, parks, trails, and natural areas, without raising taxes. By preserving these critical resources we are ensuring our water—in the Willamette, Clackamas, and Tualatin rivers, including important headwaters, local streams and wetlands—is healthy and accessible to all.

Funds from this measure are specifically allocated to projects that reduce the impacts of climate change and increase acquisition and access including historically underserved communities of color. By purchasing land for preservation and restoration in parts of our region that currently have few public parks or green spaces, Metro will be able to protect key natural areas, improve fish and wildlife habitat, and advance equity by removing barriers that prevent individuals from accessing parks and nature, allowing everyone to feel welcome and have safe, fun experiences outdoors.

Voters across our region have consistently approved funding measures to support regional parks, trails, and natural areas. A YES vote on Measure 26-203 renews our commitment to parks and open spaces, water quality, and improved access for all people, and provides the necessary funding for public projects that address conservation as well as jobs, housing, and transportation, like Willamette Falls in downtown Oregon City.

Please Join us in Supporting Measure 26-203!

Portland Audubon Society
The Nature Conservancy
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Urban Greenspaces Institute
The Sierra Club
1000 Friends of Oregon
Metro President Lynn Peterson
Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez
Metro Councilor Christine Lewis
Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick
Metro Councilor Bob Stacey
Metro Councilor Sam Chase
Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen

And many more!

Vote YES today!

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


La iniciativa de ley Nature for All aporta beneficios significativos para nuestras

La salud y el bienestar de nuestras comunidades y del mundo natural son de máxima importancia. Estos valores son más importantes que el beneficio individual y deben apoyarse a través de la distribución equitativa. Como organizaciones arraigadas en las comunidades donde servimos y dedicadas a ellas, reconocemos y elevamos esta creencia al apoyar la iniciativa de ley Nature for All (Naturaleza para todos).

Esta iniciativa de ley de emisión de bonos se respalda en el espíritu de conservación y preservación y visualiza a nuestra región con un lente de equidad racial. Este enfoque ofrece beneficios a las comunidades desfavorecidas, incluidas las comunidades de color y los residentes con bajos ingresos. Se centra en las conexiones humanas, no tan solo en la ecología natura.

Las iniciativas de ley de parques anteriores tenían objetivos nobles, pero las instalaciones no siempre eran accesibles para todos. Para muchas personas, estas áreas existen como lugares en un mapa, pero no como lugares donde realmente se pueda ir. Necesitamos inversiones para las comunidades de color, tribales y comunidades de bajo ingresos.

Un creciente conjunto de pruebas sugiere que el código postal donde uno vive es el indicador más firme de los resultados de salud, y expectativa de vida. Muchas comunidades desfavorecidas viven en vecindarios que tienen deficiencia de lugares verdes, sanos para jugar, y reunirse. Estas disparidades se acumulan durante lavida, perjudican la salud y menoscaban nuestra creencia en la equidad.

A través de esta iniciativa de ley, nuestras comunidades verán parques y áreas naturales, estos son las cosas que hacen nuestra región un lugar maravilloso. Podemos estar orgullosos de aprobar una iniciativa de ley que mejorará la vida de cientos de miles de residentes y, también construirá resiliencia ecológica.

Vote Sí por Nature for All.

Firmado por:
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
East County Rising
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Unite Oregon

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)



我们社群的健康福祉和自然生态至高重要。这些价值比起个人利益更加重要,并且应该藉由资源 公平分发作为支持。随着各种组织深根并致力于我们的社群,我们逐渐认知到这项信念并且藉由 支持“一人一自然”提升这项信念。

这项法案建构在环保和保育的精神之上,并利用种族平等的视野展望我们的区域。我们的专注能 替弱势族群,包含有色群体及低收入群体,带来更多实质益处。此法案作为中心的不仅仅是自然 生态,更是人与人的连结,并同时为我们的社区带来真正的进步。

先前的公园法案确实有着崇高的目标,但并非所有人都能随时使用到设施,因为它们大部分时候 都设在郊区、且无法通过大众交通工具到达。对很多人来说,这些地方只是“地图一隅”而不是 “会去的地方”。我们需要在对有色群体、部落群体及低收入群体等较具重要性的地方进行投 资。 近年来,有越来愈多的证据显示,您所属的邮递区号是您的健康状况(包含预期寿命)的最佳指 标。许多弱势群体都居住在没有足够安全健康的绿地可以玩耍、居住甚至是聚会。这些差距将不 断累积,对我们的健康造成影响,并且破坏我们对平等的信念。

藉由这项法案,我们的社区将会开始有小区公园和绿地——能让我们的生活环境越发舒适的要 素。我们将以通过了一项改善成千上万居民的居住环境的法案为傲,也将以复原生态系为傲。


Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
East County Rising
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Unite Oregon Verde

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


Vote YES on 26-203!
Support Parks and Nature Projects in Multnomah County Without Raising Taxes

Join us in voting YES to renew Metro’s parks and nature bond measure. Together we can preserve our region's water quality; protect forests, open spaces, and areas at risk from development that are critical for wildlife habitat and recreation. We can also safeguard our air and water; and ensure access to nature and parks for communities of color.

Multnomah County Deliverables

  • New Parks and Park Improvements. If passed, Measure 26-203 will bring nearly $40-million to Multnomah County specifically for parks and nature projects. Those funds will go directly to help build new parks and maintain existing parks, conservation areas, and hiking and biking trails that connect neighborhoods across the region to economic centers.
  • Acquisition and protection of Multnomah County Lands. Measure 26-203 will protect these local wetlands, habitats, and open spaces, ensuring they are safe and accessible for generations to come:
    • Beaver Creek
    • Sandy River - upper and lower sections
    • East Buttes of Gresham
    • East Buttes of Portland
    • Forest Park habitat connections
    • Johnson Creek headwaters and floodplain
    • Multnomah Channel and its headwaters
    • And many more!
  • Access to $40-million through Nature in Neighborhood capital grants for locally-identified projects in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah County to provide new parks, park improvements, and increased access to nature.

Join neighbors and AFSCME 3580 members across Multnomah County in Voting YES!

Please join us in protecting rivers and wetlands, habitat and open space, and ensuring access to nature for all by voting YES on Measure 26-203 today.

Punneh Abdolhosseini
Olena Turnla
Ted Reid
Laura Garue
Katie Hentges​​​​​​​
Ann Toledo
Marne Duke
Robert Spurlock
Diego Gloseffi ​​​​​​​
Melanie Reinert ​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Katherine Anne Weil
State Representative Rob Nosse

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


The Nature Conservancy urges a YES vote on Measure #26-203 Nature for All

Measure 26-203 seeks to renew the regionwide Metro bond is designed to ensure all residents have access to clean air, clean water, and beautiful parks within our cities and across the region. The Nature Conservancy is committed to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. This measure would do just that.

Without raising taxes, this measure will:

  • Preserve our region’s water quality—from the Willamette, Clackamas, and Tualatin rivers, to important headwaters, and local streams and wetlands;
  • Protect forests, open spaces, and areas at risk from development that are important for wildlife habitat, recreation, and needed to safeguard our air and water;
  • Ensure all kids—regardless of zip code or income—have great places to play by improving access to regional parks and in communities across the Metro region to better serve our growing, diverse populations.

The Nature Conservancy participated in a comprehensive community engagement process led by Metro, with decisions grounded in science, underscoring the importance of building resilience to a changing climate, and in the interests of every Metro region resident in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. The process creates a level of accountability in the investments and priorities of the measure. This measure represents a bold vision for nature and people in the Portland Metropolitan Area and one that aligns well with The Nature Conservancy’s mission and values.

Jim Desmond and Charles Wilhoite ​​​​​​​
State Director and Chair, Board of Trustees
The Nature Conservancy in Oregon

Sponsored by Nature for All

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)


Measure 26-203 can Deepen Our Democracy with Participatory Budgeting

Measure 26-203 presents an historic opportunity to preserve and enhance clean water, wildlife habitat, and our cherished access to nature across the region without raising taxes a dime. Measure 26-203 also provides an opportunity to deepen our democracy and advance racial equity through an innovative process called participatory budgeting (PB). PB gives people real power over real public money. It is a deliberative democratic process wherein ordinary community members brainstorm community project ideas, work with local government staff to craft them into feasible projects, and then decide on the top projects to fund and implement through a binding vote in their community.

Participatory budgeting is practiced in well over 3000 municipalities worldwide. In 2009, Chicago’s 49th ward launched the first PB process in the United States and has since spread to dozens of cities including New York, Phoenix, and Oakland as well as smaller towns like Greensboro, North Carolina and Vallejo, California. PB started in Seattle in 2016. It has yet to come to Oregon.

But that could change if voters pass Measure 26-203. The measure includes up to $5 million for designing and implementing one or more pilot PB processes in our region. Measure 26-203 calls on Metro to ensure racially diverse communities with worse access to parks and nature can participate in developing and selecting park projects in their communities. These are often the same communities with the least access to government decision making and would most benefit from having direct voice and vote over the use of public funds in their neighborhood.

Our communities highly value preservation of clean water, wildlife and access to nature. They also highly value diverse democratic participation and accountability, especially in spending public funds. Measure 26-203 promises progress on all of the above.

Please vote YES on Measure 26-203!

Tyler Wilkins

(This information furnished by Elisabeth Swarttouw, Nature for All.)



Metro taxpayers have already spent $363 million under 1995 and 2006 bond measures to acquire more than 14,000 acres. Last year, Metro spent 25% of the bond money on administration.

Now, at $475 million, Metro is asking for more money than both of these measures combined to buy even more land. Enough is enough.

Metro says the measure won’t raise taxes. But, if voters reject 26-203, the average homeowner will see their property taxes drop by about $48 a year.


Almost 80% of Metro’s past acquisitions have been outside the Urban Growth Boundary. These purchases have nothing to do with protecting natural areas from development. Many of these parcels are zoned farm or forest land and there are no plans to expand the UGB in that direction. Instead, Metro is taking much-needed farm and forest land out of productive usage.

Inside the UGB, Metro has acquired nearly 1,000 acres of land zoned for residential development. While the region suffers from a housing affordability and homelessness crisis, Metro’s natural areas program is taking away land that is needed to deliver more housing.


You won’t see it in Metro’s ballot title or explanatory statement, but the measure sets aside $50 million for “advancing large-scale community visions.” Leaders of the Urban Greenspaces Institute and 1,000 Friends of Oregon have referred to the visioning money as a “slush fund.” Metro Resolution No. 19-4988, Engagement Summary, 06/06/2019.


Metro’s 1995 ballot title promised to provide areas for “walking, picnicking, and other outdoor recreation.” More than 85% of Metro’s land purchased under early bonds is off-limits to the public. Metro has ignored input from minority communities in favor of focusing on “passive recreation” preferred by the more privileged. Metro is the only parks provider in the region that prohibits dogs.

VOTE NO ON 26-203

(This information furnished by Eric Fruits, Cascade Policy Institute.)


Taxpayer Association of Oregon urges No vote:

Did you know that Oregon and Minnesota are the only two states with a METRO regional government?

This “unique” third layer of government robs local control away from cities and counties.

Your property taxes helps fund this 915 employee, $669 million dollar bureaucracy.

It's been using your tax dollars to gobble up private property across Oregon which robs new young homeowners of available land to start a home and artificially inflates home prices. This is one reason why our homeless and affordable housing crisis is bigger in the Portland-area than most of America. You’re basically voting to raise your property taxes to create more homeless and higher home prices in order to fund the ever-bloating Metro bureaucracy.

Say No to METRO's never-ending, land-grabbing property tax increase.

Vote No on 26-203

-- Follow daily tax alerts and political news at

(This information furnished by Jason Williams, Taxpayers Association of Oregon.)

The printing of these arguments does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the arguments.