MEDIA RELEASE: Portland Should Vote No on $380 Million Zoo Bond

MEDIA RELEASE: Portland Should Vote No on $380 Million Zoo Bond

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 24, 2024) — In partnership with Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants, In Defense of Animals urges citizens in the Portland Metro area to reject the Metro Regional Government’s new $380 million zoo bond measure 26-244 on the May ballot, which only lines the pockets of construction companies, consultants, the zoo and Metro. 

This new zoo bond is three times the $125 million bond passed in 2008, which was supposed to create a multi-acre offsite preserve, but Metro canceled the preserve after the bond passed. 

This time, Metro and the zoo are not providing specific plans for spending the mega millions proposed in the bond.

If passed, this bond would only ensure more suffering and confinement of wild animals. The Oregon Zoo has been cited on the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants list a staggering 13 times — more than any other zoo. 

The 3.5-acre “Elephant Lands” created by the 2008 zoo bond has failed the elephants miserably. Nine years after it opened, there have been five deaths and the current elephants continue to exhibit profound zoochotic behavior and endure diseases. 

The polar bear is already frantically pacing in the new $19 million “Polar Passage.”

Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants and In Defense of Animals are urging Portland area residents to halt this new bond in its tracks. 

Rose-Tu is one of five elephant prisoners at the Oregon Zoo. Photo: In Defense of Animals

Courtney Scott, Elephant Consultant for In Defense of Animals, said, “Oregon Zoo’s enormous bond bid will not recreate the complex wild habitats animals need to stop suffering. It is time to move past the old paradigm of confining exotic animals for entertainment. It is time to envision a future of exciting new animatronic and holographic displays that the world’s cutting-edge venues have already adopted. Meanwhile, right now, we can take an important step and stop supporting more zoo funding, that does nothing to help the animals held captive in misery for life.”

Massive expenditures on failed projects at the Oregon Zoo only result in more suffering of tigers, lions, bears, giraffes, elephants, primates, and all the large exotic animals imprisoned there.

Animal Rights Collective Portland, Cascade Policy Institute, Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants, Gimme Shelter Portland, Heart of Ganesh, In Defense of Animals and OREGONWATCHDOG (Taxpayer Association of Oregon) want Portlanders to reject the bond.

Discover more:



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LEARN MORE: Oregon Zoo’s Latest 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants Entry

CONTACT: Courtney Scott,  503-288-6142

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in California, India, South Korea and the Deep South.


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