Metro Natural Areas Improvement Tax Levy, Measure 26-152 (May 2013)

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A Metro Natural Areas Improvement Tax Levy proposal was approved on the May 21, 2013, election ballot in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah Counties, which are in Oregon.

This measure authorized Metro to impose an operating tax levy of 0.096 mill ($0.096 per $1,000 of assessed valuation) for five years in order to fund the improvement of natural areas.[1]

Election results

Measure 26-152
County: ApprovedaYes No
Votes  % Votes  %
Clackamas County 21,445 48.4% 22,894 51.6%
Multnomah County 89,064 58.81% 62,384 41.19%
Washington County 38,033 49.02% 39,552 50.98%
Totals: 148,542 54.34% 124,830 45.66%
These election results are from the Clackamas County elections office, Multnomah County elections office and the Washington County elections office.

Text of measure

Question on the ballot:

Shall Metro improve natural areas, water quality for fish: five-year operating levy, $.096 per $1,000 assessed value, beginning 2013?

This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.[1][2]


Twice in two decades, Metro voters approved measures to acquire thousands of acres of natural areas throughout the tri-county region. Past measures could not include

money for maintenance and restoration.

This levy creates a dedicated fund to improve water quality for salmon and native fish, remove invasive weeds that threaten the health of these natural areas, restore wetlands and provide opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home.


The estimated cost for the typical household is $20 per year for five years. Result of a “yes” vote • Improve water quality in local rivers and streams for salmon and other native fish including the Clackamas, Sandy, Tualatin rivers; Fanno, Johnson creeks.
• Restore wildlife habitat and remove weeds that choke plants wildlife need for food and shelter.
• Restore wetlands and floodplains to control flooding, provide habitat for birds and amphibians.
• Construct or replace capital projects in parks, such as restrooms, picnic shelters, playgrounds.
• Provide nature education programs in natural areas to visitors and school-aged children.

The proposed rate (at $.096/$1,000) will raise approximately $10.2 million in 2013-14, $10.4 million in 2014-15, $10.6 million in 2015-16, $ 10.9 million in 2016-17 and $11.2 million in 2017-18. The estimated tax cost for this measure is an ESTIMATE ONLY based on the best information available from the county assessors at the time of estimate[1][2]

Explanatory Statement

As a result of two voter-approved bond measures in 1995 and 2006, Metro owns or manages 16,000 acres of land. While the

funding voters approved provided money to acquire new natural areas, the law prohibits the use of bond money for maintaining and operating these lands.

The Metro Council is proposing a five-year natural areas local option levy of 9.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value. The funds will be spent to improve water quality, restore habitat, maintain Metro’s parks and natural areas and expand opportunities for people to use them.

What it will do: The levy would raise approximately $10 million each year for five years. Funds would be used to: • Improve water quality in local rivers and streams, including the Clackamas, Sandy and Tualatin rivers and Fanno and Johnson creeks, for salmon and other native fish
• Restore wildlife habitat and remove invasive weeds that crowd out native plants needed by wildlife for food and shelter
• Restore wetlands and floodplains to control flooding and provide habitat for birds and amphibians
• Improve visitor services in Metro’s parks, including replacing aging restrooms, picnic shelters, and playgrounds
• Provide nature education programs to school-aged children and visitors
• Support community partnership projects that connect people with nature

What it will cost: The owner of a home assessed at $200,000 would pay approximately $19.20 per year, for five years. Where the money will go: About half the new funding will be spent to improve habitat for fish, wildlife and water quality at some of the 16,000 acres of parks and natural areas Metro owns or manages. Projects will include large-to-small scale habitat restoration projects, as well as everyday maintenance such as controlling invasive weeds. The other half of the levy funding would help provide opportunities for the region’s residents to visit and learn about nature at Metro’s parks and natural areas. Park maintenance would be supported at destinations serving more than 1.3 million visitors a year including Oxbow and Blue Lake regional parks; Chinook Landing Marine Park; parts of the Springwater Corridor trail; Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area; and Cooper Mountain, Graham Oaks and Mount Talbert nature parks. Improvements would be made to some natural areas to make these lands more accessible to visitors. Conservation education programs and volunteer activities would be expanded throughout the region. Approximately $750,000 would be awarded annually in Nature in Neighborhoods community grants to citizen groups, nonprofits and other service groups or organizations with nonprofit or other tax-exempt status. Measuring performance: To ensure accountability, an annual report to the Metro Council will detail program expenses, major accomplishments and progress toward specific outcomes. The work plan and annual report 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.

Submitted by: Martha J. Bennett
Chief Operating Officer
Metro, a municipal government pursuant to ORS 268[1][2]


Below are statements in support of this proposition:


ECONOMY A University of Oregon study from 2010 found that each $1 million invested in forest or watershed restoration generates 14-23 new jobs, and injects over 2 million dollars into the local economy. RESTORATION PROJECTS CONTRIBUTE TO OUR OVERALL ECONOMY These restoration projects will create jobs for construction workers, landscapers, heavy equipment operators, and engineers. A yes vote on Measure 26-152 can help boost the region’s economy. LESS THAN $20 A YEAR FOR THE TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD “For less than $20 for a typical household, Measure 26-152 will allow us to do key large-scale restoration projects and maintenance that will create jobs and boost our local economy.” Mike Houck, Director, Urban Greenspaces Institute A BOOST FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES “Restoring our Natural Areas attracts visitors to our region to hike, fish, and swim. This boosts local businesses and these jobs can’t be outsourced to far-off places.” Al Jubitz, Jubitz Family Foundation LOCAL JOBS THAT STAY HERE “Measure 26-152 will provide work for landscapers, nurseries, and other business sectors that provide goods and services for restoration. Rural areas that are home to these businesses can see an economic boost as these projects get underway.”

David Barmon, Fiddlehead llc, Portland LIUNA Local 483 Tom Hughes, Metro Council President
Metro Councilor Bob Stacey
Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington
Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick
Metro Councilor Sam Chase
Representative Tobias Read
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler
Milwaukie City Councilor Mark Gamba
Representative Ben Unger
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer
Senator Chip Shields

Vote YES on Measure 26-152[1][2]

These arguments were prepared and submitted by


No statement was submitted in opposition to this proposition. If you have an argument that you would like posted here please email

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Clackamas County May 21, 2013 Voter’s Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.