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logo for Metro, Portland area's regional planning agency

Metro is a regional agency in Multnomah County, Washington County and Clackamas County that manages land use, transportation planning, garbage, and public places like the Oregon Zoo, Expo Center and Oregon Convention Center.

In addition to its planning responsibilities, Metro awards grants for projects like sidewalks and bike trails with programs such as its Regional Flexible Fund Allocation. Metro also subsidizes vanpooling in its target counties.

By law, Metro has the authority to take control of TriMet.


[edit] History

Metro was created by Oregon voters in 1978 and began operations in 1979. At the time, it was led by a regionally elected executive and an elected council. The first executive was Rick Gustafson. In 2002, then-council member David Bragdon became Metro's first regionally elected president.

This excellent (though opinionated) slideshow by Metro planning manager Andy Cotugno summarizes Metro's mission, heritage and long-term plans, as of 2010.

[edit] Structure

Metro is the nation's only fully independent regional planning agency -- that is, the only one whose leaders are directly elected by its citizens. Metro's elected leaders make up the seven-member Metro Council. Six members are part-time. The Metro president, who leads the council, works full time for the agency.

The current Metro chief operating officer, or COO, is Martha Bennett. She serves the agency's top unelected official and runs its day-to-day operations.

Metro manages its many policy responsibilities through a series of committees. The most prominent, MPAC and JPACT, consist mostly of elected officials.

[edit] Organization charts

This top-level Metro organization chart and organization chart for Metro's planning division are current as of January 2011.

[edit] Funding and revenue

Metro's revenue was $193 million in its 2009 fiscal year, according to a May 2010 report from Metro auditor Suzanne Flynn. According to the report, Metro's inflation-adjusted revenue per resident held steady around $120 between 2000 and 2009. That was due in part to a 2007 tax on new construction to pay for land-use planning and a 2006 voter-approved bond measure for the purchase of open space.

According to the same report, Metro overestimated its actual revenue in nine of the 10 years leading up to 2009, due in part to overly optimistic grant predictions for its Planning and Development Department.

[edit] Ability to take over TriMet

Under subsection 7.4 of Metro's charter, the planning agency has the authority to unilaterally take control of TriMet:

"Assumption of Functions and Operations of Mass Transit District. Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, Metro may at any time assume the duties, functions, powers and operations of a mass transit district by ordinance. Before adoption of this ordinance the Council shall seek the advice of the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation or its successor. After assuming the functions and operations of a mass transit district, the Council shall establish a mass transit commission of not fewer than seven members and determine its duties in administering mass transit functions for Metro. The members of the governing body of the mass transit district at the time of its assumption by Metro are members of the initial Metro mass transit commission for the remainder of their respective terms of office."

[edit] External links

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