Tom Hughes • NonpartisanMetro represents a rare form of regional government, handling a grab bag of duties for Oregon’s three most populous counties. The agency oversees solid waste disposal, land-use planning (specifically the urban growth boundary), the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center and the Expo Center.
When Tom Hughes, a retired Beaverton teacher and former two-term Hillsboro mayor, ran for council president four years ago, his goal was to make Metro’s sometimes esoteric work more relevant to constituents. By a couple of measures, he’s succeeded.
He’s moved the proposed Convention Center Hotel closer to reality than it’s been in 40 years. We’re still not sure the $200 million project, which includes $80 million in government subsidy, is worthwhile, but give him credit for progress.
He also successfully promoted a ballot measure to raise operating funds for 16,000 acres of green space Metro has acquired. The money will help restore and open up those lands.
Hughes has also re-engineered Metro to gear it more toward economic development. Other than his efforts with the hotel project, we haven’t seen a lot of results. We’ve noted Hughes’ affection for taxpayer-funded travel in these pages, but if our region is to have an ambassador, a friendly grandfather with a record of success in Hillsboro, Hughes is the right guy.
His opponent, Jeremiah William Johnson, a self-described community advocate, has only a rudimentary sense of what Metro actually does.
Who Hughes would be if not himself: Actor Mickey Rooney, who died recently at age 93. “I envy people who’ve had long lives and lots of fun.”