A new era: Three new councilors sworn in at Metro inauguration



A new era: Three new councilors sworn in at Metro inauguration

Lynn Peterson was sworn in as the agency’s third elected president today, marking a return to the agency where she got her first planning job 25 years ago.

Peterson was joined by new councilors Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Christine Lewis, returning Councilor Shirley Craddick and returning Auditor Brian Evans in taking the oath of office at the Winningstad Theater at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.

Peterson joined Metro in 1994 as an entry-level planner. She later served as Clackamas County Chair and as the head of the Washington State Department of Transportation before moving back to Portland and running for Metro Council President.

In her inauguration speech, Peterson laid out a vision of community development and improved livability in the greater Portland region.

“For too long we have sat on our laurels, celebrating the successes of the past,” she said. “Not now, not anymore. Our challenges won’t sleep, and nor should we.’

She called on Metro to lead greater Portland to become one of the most livable regions in the world, while improving affordability in the region.

“We have regularly seen Portland ranked well, nationally, but that might set the bar too low for what Oregonians want to achieve,” she said. “We must aim higher. Our new mission is to understand how to be more livable, to learn from all these other places, and to implement solutions as quickly as possible.”

She outlined a vision of a region where people have vibrant cultural exchanges, equitable access to amenities and living wage jobs, places that everyone can enjoy, healthy farms and forests and a continued focus for planning for sustainability, safety and resiliency in the future.

She also called for Metro to build its own Civilian Conservation Corps for the region, in partnership with other public agencies, labor and the private sector. Her concept was modeled after the Seattle Conservation Corps, which, she said, helps people who are experiencing homelessness enter into paid apprenticeship programs.

“We can empower people from all economic walks of life to grow, learn and earn a living wage for themselves and their families,” she said.

Peterson choked up when talking about the Metro 2040 Growth Concept, whose primary author, John Fregonese, died in 2018.

“Metro 2040 was a 50-year plan. It gave us a long-range vision and it’s been our North Star. It’s been my North Star,” she said. “But so much has changed since 1990, and even John would admit that. Our planning must change too.”

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