Metro (Oregon regional government)

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Metro Oregon logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed1993 (1993)
Preceding agencies
  • Metropolitan Service District (1979–1992)
  • Columbia Region Association of Governments (1966–1978)
  • Metropolitan Service District (1957–1966)
TypeRegional Special-purpose district and Metropolitan planning organization
JurisdictionPortland metropolitan area
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon
Employees793 (2014-15 fiscal year)[1]
Annual budget$484 million (2014-15 fiscal year)[1]
Agency executives
  • Lynn Peterson, President
  • Brian Evans, Auditor
  • Marissa Madrigal, Chief Operating Officer

Metro is the regional government for the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area, covering portions of Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. It is the only directly elected regional government and metropolitan planning organization in the United States.[2] Metro is responsible for overseeing the Portland region's solid waste system, general planning of land use and transportation, maintaining certain regional parks and natural areas, and operating the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland's Centers for the Arts, and the Portland Expo Center. It also distributes money from two voter-approved tax measures: one for homeless services and one for affordable housing.

History and evolution[edit]

Metro in its current form evolved from Columbia Region Association of Governments (CRAG) (1966–1978) and a predecessor Metropolitan Service District (MSD) (1957–1966).[2] Measure 6, a 1978 statewide ballot measure established Metro, effective January 1, 1979. In 1992 voters approved a home-rule charter that identified Metro's primary mission as planning and policy making to preserve and enhance the quality of life and the environment, and changed the agency's name to Metro. This charter was amended in November 2000 when Ballot Measure 26-10 was passed by voters, although the principal changes did not take effect until January 2003.[3] The measure eliminated the Executive Office and reorganized executive staff. The position of Executive Officer, elected by voters, was merged with that of council presiding officer, chosen annually by fellow Metro councilors, creating the position of Metro Council President.[3] Metro's first president was David Bragdon, who served in the office from January 2003 until September 2010.[4]

Metro's scope has grown over time. It took over Glendoveer Golf Course, regional parks, pioneer cemeteries and the Expo Center from Multnomah County in 1994,[5] and the City of Portland transferred management of its performing arts venues in 1989.[6]

In 2020, Metro placed a measure on the May ballot intended to raise $250 million for homeless services. It was approved and was enacted in January 2021.[7] Under it, individuals with earnings of over $125,000 annually and couples with earnings over $200,000 are subject to 1% marginal income tax. Businesses with a gross revenue over $5 million are also subject to a 1% business tax.[8][9]

Areas of responsibility[edit]

Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol[edit]

Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol or RID Patrol cleans up illegal dumping and it is the designated contact for the public to report illegal dumping on public property, such as furniture, hazardous waste and construction debris.[10][11]


Operations Management[edit]

Jurisdiction, leadership[edit]

Metro serves 24 cities, including Portland, in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon, as well as unincorporated parts of those counties.[13] The Metro Council consists of a president and six councilors, all directly elected by their districts, and nonpartisan.[14] The incumbent President is Lynn Peterson, who assumed office January 7, 2019.[15]

According to the 2020 census, the average district population for the districts used from 2011-21 was 248,362 and the current population of the old districts is as follows (the populations for the newly drawn districts are yet to be determined):[16][17]

District Includes (as of 2020) 2020 Population for 2011-21 districts[18] Current councilor[19]
1 Boring, Damascus Fairview, Gresham, a portion of eastern Happy Valley, portions of East Portland, Troutdale, Wood Village 255,353 Shirley Craddick
2 Unincorporated parts of Clackamas County and Stafford, Dunthorpe, Gladstone, most of Happy Valley, Johnson City, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Oregon City, a portion of Southwest Portland, Rivergrove, and West Linn 278,609 Christine Lewis
3 Most of Beaverton, some of West Slope and Raleigh Hills, and all of Bull Mountain, Durham, Garden Home–Whitford, King City, Metzger, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville 283,198 Gerritt Rosenthal
4 Northern Washington County, communities of Aloha, northwest portion of Beaverton, all of Bonny Slope, Cedar Hills, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Hillsboro, most of Bethany and Cedar Mill, and some of Raleigh Hills and West Slope 297,578 Juan Carlos González
5 All of N and NW Portland, portions of NE, SE S, and SW Portland (including downtown), Maywood Park, and parts of Washington County, including West Haven-Sylvan and small portions of Bethany and Cedar Mill 278,302 Mary Nolan
6 Portions of S, SW, SE and NE Portland, Raleigh Hills, and West Slope 278,727 vacant
Total 1,671,767

Metro's approved 2020-21 Budget is $1.4 billion, with 979 FTE.[20]

Regional plan[edit]

Metro is also the Portland regional planning organization and develops a regional master plan to coordinate future development. Metro's master plan for the region includes transit-oriented development: this approach, part of the new urbanism, promotes mixed-use and high-density development around light rail stops and transit centers, and the investment of the metropolitan area's share of federal tax dollars into multiple modes of transportation. Metro's master plan also includes multiple town centers, smaller versions of the city center, scattered throughout the metropolitan area.

In 1995 Metro introduced the 2040 plan as a way to define long term growth planning. The 2040 Growth Concept[21] is designed to accommodate 780,000 additional people and 350,000 jobs by 2040. This plan has created some criticism from environmentalists, but few consider it a threat to Portland's legacy of urban growth management.

An April 2004 study in the Journal of the American Planning Association tried to quantify the effects of Metro's plans on Portland's urban form. While the report cautioned against finding a direct link between any single one policy and any improvements in Portland's urban form, it showed strong correlation between Metro's 2040 plan and various west-side changes in Portland. Changes cited include increased density and mixed-use development as well as improved pedestrian/non-automobile accessibility.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Metro's 2014-15 adopted budget" (PDF). Metro. July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-17.
  2. ^ a b Carl Abbott. "Metro". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ a b Oppenheimer, Laura (November 20, 2002). "Bragdon to lead streamlined Metro". The Oregonian, p. C1.
  4. ^ Crombie, Noelle (August 11, 2010). "Metro chief David Bragdon leaving for top New York City post". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Office of the City Auditor (June 2011). "PORTLAND CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS: Outsourced management good for the City, but agreements and oversight need improvement".
  7. ^ "Metro Discusses Next Steps After Passage Of Homeless Services Measure". opb. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  8. ^ Powell, Meerah (March 8, 2020). "Metro's $250 Million Homeless Services Measure Receives Legal Challenge". Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  9. ^ Bailey Jr, Everton; Rogoway, Mike (2020-02-26). "Metro sends tax measure to ballot, would raise $250 million a year for Portland-area homeless services". oregonlive. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  10. ^ Tomlinson, Stuart (2018-03-28). "Metro's Regional Illegal Dump Patrol is out there, hunting tires, couches and dumpsites". KATU. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  11. ^ "Regional Illegal Dumping Patrol". Metro. 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  12. ^ a b c d Aoki, Keith (2005). "All the King's Horses and All the King's Men: Hurdles to Putting the Fragmented Metropolis Back Together Again – Statewide Land Use Planning, Portland Metro and Oregon's Measure 37". Journal of Law and Policy. 21: 397, 431–436.
  13. ^ "What is Metro?". Metro. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  14. ^ "What is Metro?". Metro. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  15. ^ "Metro Council President Lynn Peterson". Metro. 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  16. ^ "Metro: New Metro Council district boundaries". Metro. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  17. ^ "Metro proposes redrawing its six districts". Daily Journal of Commerce. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  18. ^ "Metro Council kicks off redistricting process". Metro. October 19, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  19. ^ "Find your councilor". Metro. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  20. ^ "Metro budget". Metro. 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  21. ^ "Metro: Making the Greatest Place". Metro. Retrieved 2014-11-17.

External links[edit]