The Metro Council agreed Tuesday to purchase land for an elephant reserve. It's an acquisition the regional government promised in a bond measure voters passed four years ago.
Metro is pursuing a 240-acre parcel that belongs to Portland General Electric. It’s in Clackamas County near Sandy, and was part of an old park.
But a number of people testified with questions about how the Oregon Zoo would use the land. They asked whether Metro was moving away from a reserve for current elephants, and toward a facility for future animals.
Departing Metro councilor Carl Hosticka responded: "I just want to say that I think people have raised some legitimate concerns, but the measure we have before us today is to acquire the property. And so, I think that’s a step we need to take. After we acquire the property, and in the process, we need engage in much more discussion about the use of that property - but that’s not the issue we’re voting on today."
Other councilors noted that the Oregon Zoo has run a successful elephant breeding program – including the recent birth of baby Lily. They expressed hope that additional room will mean the zoo can do more to help endangered Asian elephants.