When The Intertwine Alliance was launched by Metro with the support of the environmental community in 2011, we envisioned all of us working together to bring nature closer to everyone in our region.
This notion that Metro should play a proactive role in preserving rivers, wetlands and forests across municipal and county lines already had some history. Over the past three decades, citizen advocates, business leaders, conservationists, elected officials and forward-thinking voters provided the opportunity for Metro to acquire what is now more than 17,000 acres of natural areas in our region. Every year we bring nature education to more than 8,100 young people. More than 1.3 million visitors every year connect to nature in Metro's parks and natural areas.
As a Metro councilor, I represent the cities of urban Clackamas County, plus large unincorporated areas like Oak Grove and Stafford, and a chunk of Southwest Portland. My constituents have directly benefited from Metro’s investments (and from volunteer efforts of numerous Intertwine Alliance partners) to protect and support natural areas in our part of the region. Metro’s commitment to our natural environment complements our planning for neighborhoods, towns and cities. It means that residents in my district (and across the region) can be inspired by the vista from Canemah Bluffs in Oregon City, hike Mount Talbert in Happy Valley, and savor the White Oak Savannah in West Linn.
This ballot measure represents an important opportunity to affirm that we believe our region is a better place to live when we invest in clean air and water, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and opportunities to connect to nature.
A YES vote on Measure 26-178 represents the next opportunity for voters to affirm their continued support for the conservation and stewardship that makes our region a great place to live. The levy that voters approved in 2013 enables Metro to partner with cities and local advocates to ensure that these publicly owned natural areas are being cared for. Levy funding protects our clean water, restores fish and wildlife habitat and provides public access to these wild and wonderful places.
Measure 26-178 renews Metro’s 9.6-cent-per-$1000 levy on assessed property value. A typical household in the region will continue to pay approximately $20 a year to provide steady, reliable funding for stewardship of our public lands through 2023.
Thanks to voters’ approval three years ago, Metro has had the resources to improve water quality in streams and wetlands across the region, including Wilsonville’s Coffee Lake Creek, North Portland’s Smith and Bybee Wetlands, Clackamas County’s Beaver Creek, Beaverton’s Fanno Creek, Oregon City’s Newell Creek, Hillsboro’s Tualatin River, Cornelius’ Council Creek, and Gresham’s Johnson Creek. Those of us partnering with The Intertwine Alliance understand that these investments provide immeasurable benefits to our quality of life. Improved wetland management helps us reduce the impacts of floods. Planting native species along rivers provides jobs for nurseries, landscapers and ecologists.
Every neighborhood within a bus ride of a nature park is a neighborhood in which every resident has a place to exercise, get fresh air, and escape the stresses of the city. Every student we bring to the Sandy River to watch the salmon run at Oxbow Regional Park is a student who can directly learn about the heritage of our landscape. They will be the next generation of Oregon’s conservation stalwarts.
A YES vote on Measure 26-178 will ensure Metro can continue to fund partnerships between traditional environmental stewards like the Audubon Society and communities of color like APANO, Momentum Alliance and Hacienda CDC. As our region’s demographics change, these investments will ensure we provide opportunities to connect to nature to all of our region’s residents.
This levy and the thoughtful stewardship it funds wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing collaboration, cross-sector partnerships and coalition-building that The Intertwine Alliance has fostered. This ballot measure represents an important opportunity to affirm that we believe our region is a better place to live when we invest in clean air and water, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and opportunities to connect to nature.
I ask that partners of The Intertwine Alliance join me in voting YES on Measure 26-178 to Protect Our Natural Areas on Nov. 8. Additionally, I welcome and encourage individuals who want to ensure we pass this measure to attend our upcoming volunteer night with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters on Nov. 1.
Click here to sign up to volunteer for the Protect Our Natural Areas campaign Nov 1 and 5.