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Lynn Peterson: Let's work together to ensure health care, social justice, equitable economic growth and dignified housing for everyone.

COURTESY OF METRO - Lynn Peterson is the president of Metro, the nation's only elected regional government.This has been the most difficult year many of us can remember. I won't recount all of the challenges we are facing together — you know them; you feel them daily.

As your Metro Council president, I have the privilege of working with and for incredibly resilient Oregonians. And despite the challenges that we face, I look with optimism toward our future.

This is a region has recovered from recessions before. And as we prepare to recover from this one, I am inspired by the commitment to equity and resiliency for all that I have seen throughout these many challenging months.

We know that we achieve more by working together. Whether it is protecting natural areas, creating economic opportunities, planning for better transportation infrastructure, providing more affordable housing options for our neighbors, coordinating and funding homeless services, supporting arts and culture or simply leveraging assets to meet emergency needs like vaccinations, your Metro government continues to work with you to address the challenges ahead with responsible, equitable solutions that serve people throughout the region.

Many of our most difficult problems should be addressed on the national level — health care, environmental protection, housing and adequate social safety nets come to mind. But whether through gridlock or lack of political will, we have seen all too often that local governments are called upon to step forward to address the critical problems we face.

Unfortunately, it's these same local governments that are the most under-resourced. But that's why, at Metro, we are committed to standing with our local government partners, to challenge the way things are done and find ways to all row in the same direction, for the benefit for all those who call this region home.

It's that heart that has attracted hundreds of thousands of new residents to our region this century. People came to Oregon for our environmental stewardship, our forward-thinking transportation system, our small businesses that have led with people instead of profits. Downtown business districts around our region have embraced the growth of small business, making them attractive places to live — now and in the future.

As we look to an end to this pandemic, we have so much to celebrate. We have a region that embraces justice and social change. We have an entrepreneurial spirit that keeps our economy growing.

Our recovery will take time, but your Metro government is committed to leading in partnership other governments, nonprofits, community groups, businesses and others to find new ways to leverage opportunities and build toward a more equitable, resilient and just economy.

On Friday, Feb. 26, you can join me as I discuss ways we will address the need-to-haves — health care, social justice, equitable economic growth and dignified housing for everyone — plus offer a sneak preview of some of the nice-to-haves that everyone in our region can appreciate.

Later this year, when it's safe to do so, we will have reason to celebrate. In downtowns and Main Streets across our region, let's join together to rejoice in what makes this place great. I look forward seeing you, neighbors.

Lynn Peterson is Metro Council president. She will discuss the "State of the Region," on Friday, Feb. 26, with Katrina Holland, executive director of JOIN, as part of City of Club's "State of the Possible series." The online event is from noon to 1 p.m. Learn more at www.pdxcityclub.org


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