It’s Creepy Season: Metro’s Haunted Lands

By Helen Doran

Did you know that more than three-fourths of Metro’s park lands purchased with bonds since 1995 are hidden from the public? You might as well call Metro’s lands haunted.

Metro has no problems with this fact, no matter how shocking this number is to its residents. In fact, with its newest land acquisition — an 86-acre property in the Sandy River Basin — Metro makes it painstakingly clear that this land (along with its 1,400 acres already in the area) is not for human use.

What will the land accomplish for taxpayers? Unfortunately, the answer is a bundle of vague promises, none of which help the average Oregonian. For example, Metro promises that the land will “improve landscape connectivity and climate resilience” as well as “provide potential opportunities for native plant harvest by Indigenous communities.”

These promises have very little to do with Metro’s residents and everything to do with Metro’s mission creep. You might as well call it “nature creep” because the restoration and conservation work supposedly occurring on 88% of Metro’s properties has no end date. Even Metro’s promised Chehalem Ridge park, which has been undergoing supposed restoration for over a decade, will periodically close to visitors for restoration once finally opened. It’s time for Metro to stop investing in haunted lands and end its nature creep. Taxpayers should encourage Metro to use its 2019 bond money to build more parks that are useful to the public.

Helen Doran is a Program Assistant, External Affairs at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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