PORTLAND, Ore. – Voters in the Portland metro area voted on whether to fund new school facilities, tax short-term rental companies, increase the city auditor’s independence and more during the May 16 special election.
While voters didn't weigh in on state or national races, the decisions from Tuesday’s election will impact homeowners’ tax burdens and the direction of school boards and special districts region-wide.
Voter turnout for special elections typically pales in comparison to bigger elections – just 17.5 percent of voters cast ballots in Multnomah County’s 2015 special election – so each vote counts more than usual. Just before polls closed Tuesday, the voter turnout was at 26.5 percent.
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The bond is the largest school bond proposed in Portland history. It will fund renovations and rebuilds of four Portland schools, and add health and safety upgrades district-wide.
Read more: What the historic school bond will do
City Auditor independence: PASSED
Portland’s current city auditor, Mary Hull Caballero, asked for more independence to audit city agencies. The measure will give Caballero more autonomy to investigate city agencies, including city hall, to make sure they are open and accountable.
Transient Lodgings Tax: PASSED
This measure will charge short-term rental companies like AirBnb, VRBO and HomeAway a 6 percent city tax on rental fees, the same amount that hotels already pay to Portland. AirBnb, which has its operational headquarters in Portland, already pays the tax.
The Lake Oswego school bond will add and expand classrooms, add seismic upgrades, increase safety and security, replace the exterior on Oak Creek Elementary and completely replace Lakeridge Junior High, which has structural damage from unstable soil.
Mount Hood Community College asked for $75 million to construct a new applied technology center, improve campus safety and security, make seismic upgrades, and refinance debt.
Portland Public Schools Board
Many school boards in the metro area will have new members after Tuesday’s election, but virtually no seats are as contested as those on the Portland Public Schools board. The volunteer board is in charge of shaping the district’s policies and educational plans, approving the annual budget and hiring the superintendent.
For full election results by county, click here: