The birth of the bond

In 2008, voters across the region supported new construction, renovation and innovation at the Oregon Zoo to improve animal welfare, increase sustainability and expand opportunities for conservation education. Learn how the 2008 bond measure was created.

The voters' vision

One of the services of Metro, the Oregon Zoo is a community treasure. It is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi and continues to be the No. 1 admission-based attraction in Oregon. The zoo is well known for its success in protecting threatened and endangered species and providing generations of families with unique hands-on learning and recreational experiences with animals.

In 2006, the zoo, the Metro Council, and The Oregon Zoo Foundation began work on ways to create an even better zoo. The Metro Council adopted a resolution assembling a committee to outline a plan of future changes and improvements to the zoo. The zoo's Future Vision Committee was born.

The Future Vision Committee took a hard look at what the zoo was doing and where improvements could be made. They created a report suggesting that, while the zoo was doing an admirable job of educating visitors and protecting threatened and endangered species, its infrastructure, energy consumption and certain exhibits were in need of improvement.

In October 2007, the Future Vision Committee returned its report to the Metro Council and recommended that a bond measure be placed on the ballot to address infrastructure and exhibit issues, increase capacity for conservation education, and add sustainable measures.

The bond passes

In November 2008, despite an economy in crisis, the public approved the $125 million bond measure with 59 percent of the vote. The bond put the zoo in a strong position to protect animal health and safety, increase access to conservation education, and upgrade zoo facilities. To ensure good stewardship of public funds, several measures for accountability were developed and added to the bond. These measures included regular internal audits, annual independent financial audits published in a local newspaper of record, and the creation of a citizens' oversight committee to monitor spending and recommend project modifications.