NOTICE of Measure Election

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Metro Council has referred the following measure to voters in the Metro District, at the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election. Any registered voter dissatisfied with the ballot title and Explanatory Statement may file a petition with the Multnomah County Circuit Court for review on or before 5:00 PM, August 4, 2016. Any person filing a challenge must also file a copy of the challenge with the Director of Elections, 1040 SE Morrison St., Portland, by the end of the next business day after the petition is filed with the Circuit Court.

Ballot Title:

Caption: Renews local option levy; protects natural areas, water quality, fish

Question: Shall Metro protect water quality, fish, natural areas, parks; renew 5-year operating levy, 9.6¢ per $1,000 assessed value, beginning 2018?

This measure renews current local option taxes.

Summary: This levy does not increase taxes. It continues the same rate previously approved by voters.

This levy protects water quality, restores fish and wildlife habitat and connects people with nature across 17,000 acres of parks, trails and natural areas. About half the levy funding goes toward restoring natural areas acquired over two decades and two voter-approved bond measures. The other half of the money helps connect people with nature by improving Metro parks and natural areas, providing nature education programming and grants for community nature projects.

Result of a “yes” vote

  • Maintain and improve water quality in local rivers and streams
  • Restore habitat for salmon and other native fish on the Willamette, Clackamas, Sandy, Tualatin rivers; Johnson creek
  • Restore wetlands, forests and floodplains that provide habitat for birds, wildlife
  • Provide more parks and trails; construct or replace restrooms, picnic shelters, playgrounds
  • Increase opportunities for children from low-income families and communities of color to connect with nature.  

A home assessed at $200,000 would pay $20 per year for five years.

The proposed rate (9.6¢ per $1,000 assessed value) will raise approximately $14.8 million in 2018-19, $15.5 million in 2019-20, $16.1 million in 2020-21, $16.7 million in 2021-22 and $17.4 million in 2022-23.

Explanatory Statement

Measure 26-178 would help improve water quality, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and increase opportunities for people to connect with nature.

Result of a “yes” vote
This measure renews local option taxes at the current rate of 9.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – approximately $20 for a home assessed at $200,000. That means it will not increase taxes currently being paid by homeowners within Metro’s boundaries in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.

What would renewing the levy do?
Metro manages more than 17,000 acres of parks and natural areas in and among the greater Portland region – from Chehalem Ridge near Forest Grove to the Sandy River Gorge near Gresham, from Chinook Landing and Broughton Beach on the Columbia River to Graham Oaks near Wilsonville.

About half of the current levy funding maintains and restores wildlife habitat at these parks and natural areas. The other half of the money is used to construct park improvements, open new natural area sites to visitors, increase volunteer and education programming, and fund grants for community nature projects.  Renewing the levy would continue these funding priorities.

Improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat
Restoring natural areas improves their ability to provide clean water, healthy wildlife habitat and opportunities for people to connect with nature. Planned projects would:

  • Help improve water quality in the Willamette, Clackamas, Tualatin and Sandy rivers and Johnson Creek
  • Benefit native fish in local rivers and streams
  • Control invasive weeds that crowd out native plants wildlife need for food and shelter
  • Restore rare Oregon white oak and prairie habitats
  • Enhance wetlands to help control flooding and provide habitat for birds and amphibians
  • Help improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk

Increase access to nature for people
Approximately 1.3 million people visit Metro’s parks each year for walking, hiking, bird watching, camping, boating, fishing, picnicking, and family and community events.  Renewing the current levy would allow Metro to improve its sites for visitors at places such as Blue Lake and Oxbow regional parks, Smith and Bybee Wetlands, Mount Talbert, Scouters Mountain and Canemah Bluff. Planned projects would:

  • Provide people with access to local rivers and natural areas
  • Ensure programs and facilities support the needs of underserved communities
  • Increase visitor services in Metro’s parks, including replacing or adding restrooms, group picnic areas, trails and playgrounds
  • Provide more nature education programs, including for children from low-income families and communities of color
  • Fund grants for community nature projects

Measuring performance
For accountability, an annual report detailing program expenses, major accomplishments and progress toward specific outcomes will be presented at a Metro Council meeting and made available on the Metro website. Program expenses will be subject to annual audits and presented in the budget adopted by the Metro Council. An independent oversight committee appointed by the Metro Council would review and report on levy-funded capital expenditures for compliance with program requirements.

Learn more at  

Tim Scott, Multnomah County Director of Elections