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
  • Tom Hughes, President
  • Brian Evans, Auditor
  • Martha Bennett, Chief operating officer

Metro is the regional government for the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area. It is the only directly elected regional government and metropolitan planning organization in the United States.[2] Metro is responsible for managing the Portland region's solid waste system, coordinating the growth of the cities in the region, managing a regional parks and natural areas system, and overseeing the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland's Centers for the Arts, and the Portland Expo Center.

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]

Areas of responsibility[edit]

Metro operates the Regional Illegal Dumping patrol

According to the 2010 census, the average district population is 248,362 and the current population is as follows:[5][6]

District Includes (as of 2010) 2010 Population Current councilor
  1 Fairview, Gresham, Maywood Park, Troutdale, Wood Village, Happy Valley, Damascus, Boring and portions of East Portland  253,858 Shirley Craddick
  2 Gladstone, Johnson City, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Rivergrove, West Linn, a portion of Southwest Portland and unincorporated parts of Clackamas County, including Stafford north of I-205  230,157 Betty Dominguez
  3 Most of Beaverton and all of Durham, King City, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville, plus portions of Stafford south of I-205  248,541 Craig Dirksen
  4 Northern Washington County, including cities of Cornelius, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and northwest portion of Beaverton, plus communities of Aloha, Bonny Slope, Bethany, Raleigh Hills, West Slope, Cedar Mill and Cedar Hills  272,566 Kathryn Harrington
  5 All of North and Northwest Portland and portions of Northeast, Southeast and Southwest Portland (including downtown)  245,890 Sam Chase
  6 Portions of Southwest, Southeast and Northeast Portland  239,159 Bob Stacey
n/a Metro Council President / district at-large 1,490,171 Tom Hughes

Metro Council districts map

As of July 2014, the start of Metro's 2014-15 fiscal year, Metro had a $484 million total budget; allowed headcount was 793.[1]


Metro is governed by a council president elected region-wide, currently Tom Hughes, and six councilors who are elected by district (Shirley Craddick, District 1; Betty Dominguez, District 2; Craig Dirksen, District 3; Kathryn Harrington, District 4; Sam Chase, District 5; and Bob Stacey, District 6). Metro also has an auditor — currently Brian Evans — who is elected region-wide. Each serves a four-year term. The council appoints a chief operating officer and an attorney.

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[7] 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.

Cities served by Metro[edit]

Metro serves 25 cities in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties (as well as unincorporated parts of those counties):

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "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.
  5. ^ "Metro: New Metro Council district boundaries". Metro. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  6. ^ "Metro proposes redrawing its six districts". Daily Journal of Commerce. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  7. ^ "Metro: Making the Greatest Place". Metro. Retrieved 2014-11-17.

External links[edit]