Today marks a historic moment for our region - one that will set us on a course for the next half century and provide a legacy for our children and grandchildren. Our region's leaders came together to protect more than 272,100 acres of valuable farmland, forestland and natural resources for current and future generations to enjoy. And we reached agreement on nearly 28,100 acres of urban reserves located in areas that will best support the jobs and housing necessary to sustain great communities.
Today the Metro Council voted to adopt intergovernmental agreements with Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties to designate urban and rural reserves for the next 50 years. Each of the three county boards of commissioners also voted to adopt these agreements this week.
It has taken more than two years and an unprecedented amount of collaboration not only among the four governments, but with other local governments, the business community, farmers, environmental and land use advocates, neighborhood leaders and other residents to reach this milestone. No other metropolitan region in the country has ever attempted this.
Unlike the gridlock affecting our federal government, your local leaders worked together to get results. Combined with the region's recent decision to shift more of its transportation budget to projects that make the most of our existing roads and bridges, these proposals represent a concerted effort to act now on investments that will make our region a great place.
As historic as this achievement is, our work is not done. We need to refocus our efforts on how we can best invest in attracting more jobs and residents to our existing communities inside the urban growth boundary. Metro, local governments and the private sector need to work more strategically to invest limited public resources more wisely and encourage greater private investment in the communities we already call home. By focusing public and private investments in our existing cities and town centers, along transportation corridors and near places where people work, the proposals will help protect farms and forests. In addition, they help protect and improve land currently designated for new and growing employers and provide incentives to clean up dilapidated and contaminated lots to make our neighborhoods safer and provide sites for new jobs and houses.
Only if we do all these things can we ensure a strong economy, a healthy environment and great communities that serve the needs of all. Please stay involved as we continue taking important steps to invest in our future.
Metro Council President
600 NE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97232-2736