By Helen Cook
How much would you be willing to spend to buy parkland that would ban your dog?
Metro hopes Portland area taxpayers will spend $475 million to buy land kept from public use for many years. That’s the purpose of a Metro bond measure on the ballot in November.
Much of the new tax money would go to acquiring natural areas that will be unusable by the public for an unspecified amount of time. If this feels like déjà vu, that’s because Metro passed a similar bond measure in 2006.
Rather than let the previous tax increases sunset, Metro wants more money, ostensibly to create parks for historically underserved communities. But much of the land Metro plans to buy is located far from the communities it’s intended to serve.
Metro also claims the new bond measure won’t increase taxes. This is not true. If the bond measure fails, property owners’ tax bills will go down. A “yes” vote is a vote for higher taxes. A “no” vote will save the average homeowner about $48 a year.
Metro’s new bond is neither the beginning nor the end of a cycle of buying remote natural areas that won’t allow recreational uses. Make sure to look for this measure on your ballot in November and vote no.
Helen Cook is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.