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How much do you know about Metro?

The regional government encompasses Portland and the surrounding cities and counties and acts as a guide for healthy growth.

A crew of Willamette Riverkeeper volunteers poses during a work party on Ross Island

Metro keeps our habitat healthy through community stewardship and restoration grants.

Photo via Metro + Willamette Riverkeeper

The world is filled with iconic trios.

Bacon, lettuce, tomato. Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots. You get the idea. It’s not so different when it comes to our local government. You have the city and county, and then there’s Metro.

Chances are you’ve heard of this entity, but it’s equally likely that you still have some questions. Like...

What is Metro?

Metro is a regional government that collaborates with 24 cities (including Portland) across Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. Its elected president, six district councilors, and other appointed officials serve 1.7 million people and oversee 1,600 employees, ranging from the entertainment industry to agriculture and science.

How did it start?

Iterations of the idea for a cross-jurisdictional body stretch back to the 1950s, but its current structure was put into effect in 1979. At its core, the agency balances sustainable, healthy growth in the Portland metro area while protecting farms and nature.

What services does it provide?

Essentially, Metro aims to fill any voids between county and city governments, or in some cases, to offer them additional support. Those responsibilities consist of:

  • Managing 18,00 acres of natural areas, parks, and trails, while connecting people and the outdoors through conservation and classes
  • Operating visitor venues, like the Oregon Zoo, Portland Expo Center, Oregon Convention Center, and Portland5 Center for the Arts, to sustain tourism
  • Coordinating solid waste and recycling while also educating residents on how to save resources and protect our clean air and water
  • Oversight on land use and development, which also involves research that supports policymakers and economic groups
  • Long-term planning, including the construction of affordable housing and transportation infrastructure

Still scratching your head? Give this informative video a watch.