Natural Areas Levy
Vote yes on Measure 26-152 to restore our natural areas! In May 2013, voters of the Portland-Metropolitan region will have the opportunity to support natural-areas stewardship on their ballots – stewardship that will enhance water quality for salmon, restore habitat for birds and amphibians, expand access to nature and more.
Vote yes on Measure 26-152 to restore our natural areas!
The Regional Natural Areas Levy on the May 2013 Special Election ballot is critical to sustaining our region’s natural resource legacy in the 21st century
In May 2013, voters of the Portland-Metropolitan region will have the opportunity to support natural-areas stewardship on their ballots – stewardship that will enhance water quality for salmon, restore habitat for birds and amphibians, expand access to nature and more.
The Metro Council has referred Measure 26-152 to the voters, and if passed this May, it will not only fund these improvements but also provide support for environmental education programs and a neighborhood conservation grant program. The measure is a $53 million, 5-year levy that would raise 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. It will cost the average homeowner roughly $20 per year for five years.
Levy funds would help sustain more than 20 years of bond-funded investments in acquisition and protection of local natural areas. Voter approval will be a critical next step toward preserving our natural heritage and leaving a nature-rich legacy for the next generation.
In both 1995 and 2006, large majorities of voters passed natural area bond measures to acquire more than 12,000 acres of regionally significant natural areas throughout the Portland-Metro region. These acquisitions protected stream and river corridors, forested buttes and bluffs, wetlands, oak woodlands and other rare and unique habitat from Wilsonville to Portland and from Forest Grove to Troutdale.
They include many high-profile nature parks like Cooper Mountain, Mt. Talbert and Graham Oaks, as well as regional greenways such as the Springwater Corridor, Fanno Creek Greenway, Columbia Slough Trail and the recently opened Trolley Trail.
In many cases, these acquisitions provided just-in-time protection for environmentally sensitive lands threatened by impending development, including thousands of acres of lesser-known natural areas. While Metro and local governments made these purchases to protect natural areas from development, they also hoped that one day funds would be available to restore and open them to public access.
That day has come.
Conservation of these special natural places for future generations requires more than sparing them from bulldozers. Active restoration can greatly enrich local biodiversity, and long-term stewardship and care is essential for clean water and healthy wildlife populations. Moreover, appropriately designed public access to these natural treasures will help enrich our sense of place and inspire a culture of stewardship in the next generation. Expanded access and environmental education programs can turn these protected natural areas into outdoor classrooms for young people to learn about the natural world and ways to care for it. This all requires smart investments that balance human access with conservation, and that’s what Measure 26-152 – the Regional Natural Areas Levy – will do.
If passed by voters, this 5-year funding levy would raise $53 million to improve and enhance the region’s interconnected system of parks, trails and natural areas. The bulk of these funds (40-50 percent) would go to enhance and restore regionally significant natural areas protected by the 1995 and 2006 bond measures.
An additional 20-30 percent of funds will make access improvements at key parks and natural areas like Blue Lake, Oxbow, Mt. Talbert, Cooper Mountain and Graham Oaks. A smaller portion will fund education and volunteer programs aimed at giving people hands-on stewardship, monitoring, and natural history education experiences.
Finally, the levy will provide about $3.75 million over 5 years to a community grant program that will support local park and natural-area projects or nature-based education for children and adults. The grant program would have a special focus on reaching the young people who will form the next generation of conservationists in the Portland-Metro region.
For more information, view the levy fact sheet.
Audubon Society of Portland members have historically played an instrumental role in helping pass voter initiatives to protect our region’s urban wilds: our river and stream corridors, upland forests, oak woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. More than ever, your support will be crucial to this effort.
The May 2013 election will be a special election. That means voter turnout will be a key factor in passing the Regional Natural Areas Levy. And that means your efforts to get friends, neighbors, and co-workers to vote yes will be essential to victory in May.
First and foremost, vote yes! Register to vote by April 30. Special election ballots will be mailed out May 3, so look for your ballot in the mail shortly after and vote yes on measure 26-152. Ballots must be received by your local election office no later than May 21.
In addition, there are a variety of ways you can get involved in the campaign over the next few months. You can:
- Endorse the campaign, either individually or as part of an organization.
- Introduce the campaign to a civic or community organization.
- Volunteer to phone voters.
- Volunteer to canvas.
- Write a letter to the editor.
- Link to the campaign site.
- “Like” the campaign’s Facebook page.
- Support the campaign on your Facebook page.
- Donate to the campaign.
- Host a fundraising and educational event or house party.
To sign up to do any of these things, email the campaign at email@example.com or visit their website at www.restoreournaturalareas.com/endorse. Be sure to tell campaign staff that you are an Audubon member.