Economic Development Planner and Consultant Alisa Pyszka to Run for Metro Council President

Alisa Pyszka, president of Bridge Economic Development, will challenge Metro Council president Lynn Peterson next year.

Pyszka, 50 years old, held various positions in the private and public sectors in planning and economic development since moving here from Kansas in 1996.

Most recently, she was a senior consultant for a period of five years Global strategic plan for regional economic development produced for Greater Portland Inc. and Metro and released in November.

Pyszka says she has observed growing tension in the three-county metropolitan area. “In my work, I consult cities in the West and this region and I see how important strong leadership is,” says Pyszka. “I am really concerned about what is happening locally. “

A first-time candidate, Pyszka points to a controversial multibillion-dollar subway transport measure that voters rejected in 2020 as a catalyst for her decision to challenge Peterson, who won his seat in 2018 (Peterson a. previously served as Secretary of the Washington Department of Transportation, Transportation Advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber and President of Clackamas County.)

“I think the transport measure created real divisions in the community,” says Pyszka.

She wants to help Metro manage its growing portfolio of responsibilities. The agency, the country’s only elected regional government, has historically been engaged in land use, transportation and solid waste planning for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, in addition to managing parks, facilities for spectators and the Oregon Zoo and Oregon Convention Center.

Under Peterson’s leadership, however, Metro increased its visibility and became a major source of new funds for local governments. The agency issued its very first regional housing bond ($ 653 million, 2018), a major green space measure ($ 475 million, 2019) and a massive 10-year homelessness service measure ( $ 2.5 billion, 2020).

Metro will transfer most of this money to local governments but, as a bond issuer, the agency has oversight responsibility.

Pyszka would like to use her project management skills to make sure voters get their money’s worth and get a better feel for the agency.

“It’s amazing how few people understand what Metro is or what it does,” she said. “It used to be all about the limits of urban growth and transportation planning, but now there are many more. “

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