Metro Will Greatly Expand Its Housing Division

The regional government oversees the supportive housing services measure, which has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars to combat homelessness.

Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. (WW staff)

The regional planning agency Metro, which administers the supportive housing services tax that’s brought in $577 million since 2021 to help the three Portland-area counties combat homelessness, is greatly expanding its housing division to include 44 employees.

Metro is doing so as it chews on a plan to retrieve hundreds of millions of unspent homeless tax dollars from Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties—money the counties have budgeted but been unable to spend as planned on homelessness. Metro wants to claw back those funds and use them instead to produce affordable housing, a move that would require voter approval.

Metro first set up its Housing Division in 2022 and passed the budget for its expansion last year. The organizational chart of Metro’s future housing division, obtained by WW, shows that subdivisions would oversee the supportive housing services measure, regional alignment of housing production, and a five-member team studying regional housing policy.

Five staffers would run communications. Of the 44 employees at the division, 18 would be new hires.

“Metro is expanding to meet the obligations of our governing documents and programmatic demands of regionalizing SHS,” says Metro spokesman Nick Christensen, “as well as our obligations to respond to management audits… All of this requires adequate staffing.”

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