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Metro Sends Natural Areas Levy To Voters

Portland-area voters will decide next May whether to raise their property taxes to help restore and improve the region’s natural areas. Rob Manning reports on a decision this week on a parks levy.

Twice in the last 17 years, voters approved Metro bond measures worth a total of more than $360 million. Those funds helped Metro amass a land portfolio of more than 16,000 acres.

But the bond money can’t improve or restore areas. Jim Desmond with Metro said some places –like an 1,100-acre parcel near Forest Grove – aren’t really available to the public.

“While there are logging roads there, there’s no signage, nobody would have any idea where they could go there,” Desmond said. “With a minimum amount of improvements, we could at least have some signage, a small gravel parking lot, self-guided trails on the old logging roads.”

The five-year levy headed to next May’s ballot would fund restoration and other priorities. The measure allows for a $20-a-year increase for a house assessed at $200,000. But actual costs are subject to Oregon’s property tax limits.

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