Petition to Abolish Metro

The following is the ballot title and complete text of a petition to abolish Metro that is now being circulated by Oregon Taxpayers United. For copies of the petitions, contact OTU at 16140 SE 82nd Dr, Clackamas 97015, 503-655-0600. This petition is posted as a public service by the Thoreau Institute.

Ballot Title


RESULT OF "YES" VOTE: "Yes" vote prohibits, dissolves regional governments, including Portland area metropolitan service district "Metro," with exceptions.

RESULT OF "NO" VOTE: "No" vote retains all forms of regional governments, including Portland area metropolitan service district ("Metro").

SUMMARY: Amends constitution. Constitution currently authorizes metropolitan service districts, allows regional governments. Measure prohibits, dissolves regional governmental entities crossing city, county boundaries. Specifically dissolves Portland area metropolitan service district, "Metro." Eliminates Metro's authority to enforce regional urban growth boundary, and authority to coordinate land use, air quality, water quality, transportation planning. Exempts governmental entities providing single, defined service; lists specific exceptions. Creates process for transferrign parks, zoos to cities, counties, districts; other facilities to new regional commission. Allocates remaining funds, debts to affected counties.

Complete Text


WHEREAS government services should be provided by that level of government which is closest to the people and most under their control; and

WHEREAS a regional government such as Metro gains its power by usurping the local control of city and county governments which are closer to the people; and

WHEREAS Metro is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and places an undue burden on the taxpayers of the region, and

WHEREAS the People of the State of Oregon have a right to prohibit the formation of super or regional governments which serve to diminish the local control of cities and counties; now, therefore,


The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by adding the following section to Article XI:

Section _. Regional Government Prohibited (1.) No regional government nay be established or formed. All regional governments existing on the effective date of this act shall be dissolved as hereinafter provided.

(2.) (a) A regional government existing on the effective date of this act shall be dissolved by a board of trustees. Within 30 days after the effective date of this act, each county which lies wholly or partly within the boundaries of a regional government shall appoint one person to serve as a trustee, and, if the resulting number of trustees is even, the governor also shall appoint one trustee so that there will be an odd number of trustees. A trustee's compensation shall be 150 percent of that of a circuit court judge and shall be paid by the regional government being dissolved. The board of trustees shall have plenary authority over the business and affairs of the regional government.

(b) Within 180 days after the effective date of this act, the board of trustees shall adopt a plan of dissolution and liquidation which ensures that the debts of the regional government are satisfied, its assets disposed of, and its business and affairs wound up with reasonable dispatch. The board shall hold one or more public hearings prior to adopting the plan. The plan shall be subject to review only by writ of review issued by a circuit court of competent jurisdiction upon a petition filed within 90 days after it is adopted.

(c) The plan of dissolution and liquidation shall include provisions for payment of all known holders of valid indebtedness against the regional government.

(i) The plan of dissolution and liquidation shall include provision for transfer and/or conveyance of any park, open space or zoo owned or operated by a regional government to a city or county in which such property is located, or to park and recreation district. Any property tax base and any tax levies to pay interest and principal on bonded indebtedness with respect to such properties which are in force on the effective date of this act shall remain in force after such transfer and/or conveyance, and the transferee shall retain the power and authority of the regional government with respect to any such bonded indebtedness.

(ii)The plan of dissolution and liquidation shall include provision for transfer and/or conveyance of any trade, exposition, convention, or spectator facility owned or operated by a regional government to a regional facilities commission, which is hereby established as a public corporation, to exercise such powers and possess such rights and privileges as may be conferred upon it by the Legislative Assembly, subject to the limitations stated herein. Any existing metropolitan exposition-recreation commission shall act as an interim commission until such time as the Legislative Assembly defines the organization and authority of the regional facilities commission created hereunder. Such regional facilities commission shall have no authority to levy taxes or issue general obligation bonds except with respect to such general obligation bonds as may have been approved by the electors of the regional government prior to adoption of the plan of dissolution and liquidation; in such case, the commission shall retain the power and authority of the regional government with respect to such bonds.

(iii) After all assets of the regional government are disposed of, any funds remaining on hand or any indebtedness remaining unsatisfied, as the case may be, shall be allocated in equal shares among the counties in which the liquidated regional government was located. A county receiving such funds shall distribute them among the taxing units within its jurisdiction. A county undertaking indebtedness may levy taxes on property to the extent necessary to satisfy such indebtedness.

(d) After a plan of dissolution and liquidation is adopted, and regardless of whether the plan is reviewed by a court, the dissolving regional government shall not carry on any business except that appropriate to winding up and liquidating its affairs. When the liquidation is complete the board of trustees shall deposit all books and records of the regional government in the office of the county clerk of a county in which the regional government was located. At the same time, the board shall execute under oath and file with the county board of the same county a statement that the regional government has been dissolved and its affairs liquidated. Upon such filing, the trustees will be discharged of their duties and the corporate existence of the regional government shall be terminated for all purposes.

(e) This subsection (2) is repealed on January 1, 2002.

(3.) Nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit cities and counties from collaborating on land use and transportation planning so long as they do not yield their autonomy over such matters. Nothing in this act shall be construed as prohibiting annexations of territory or mergers of local governments.

(4.) For the purposes of this section, "regional government" shall mean a metropolitan service district, including the Portland area metropolitan service district known as "Metro", and any other district or governmental entity, the boundaries of which encompasses territory lying in more than one city or more than one county. Excluded from this definition are the State of Oregon; a county; a city; a people's utility district; a school district; a domestic water supply district; a cemetery maintenance district; a park and recreation district; a mass transit district; a special road district; a road assessment district; a highway lighting district; a health district; a sanitary district; a sanitary authority, a water authority; a joint water and sanitary authority; a vector control district; a rural fire protection district; an irrigation district; a drainage district; a water improvement district; a water control district; a weather modification district; a port; a geothermal heating district; a transportation district; a library district; a 9-1-1 communications district; a hospital district; a translator district; a diking district; a corporation for irrigation, drainage, water supply or flood control; a soil and water conservation district; and any district, commission or authority whose jurisdiction is limited to providing a single, defined service and conducting activities ancillary to such service.

(5.) Section 14 of Article Xl is repealed.

(6.) If any clause, phrase, or part. of this act is found to be unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining clauses, phrases and parts shall remain in full force and effect.

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