PORTLAND, Ore — Multnomah County voters have weighed in on the measures put in front of them this election cycle. Here’s a look at which measures passed and which ones failed.
Measure 26-218 has failed. It would have provided $5 billion in funding for 150 transportation projects that prioritized traffic safety, transit efficiency, mobility and reliability for roads and transit corridors in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, and created a light rail extension to Tigard.
The historic ask would have taxed employers with more than 25 employees at up to .75% of their payroll within the metro district.
“Defeat of the wage tax is a rejection of failed Metro leadership and mission creep and a victory for protecting family paychecks, job, and employers of all kind," Jeff Reading, the spokesperson for Stop The Metro Wage Tax said.
"This victory demonstrates that the diverse voices of employers are always stronger when we are united and speak with a single, powerful voice.”
Measure 26-214 was passed by voters. The measure makes preschool tuition-free for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the county, prioritizing kids in marginalized communities.
The “preschool for all” initiative will be funded by an income tax on higher-income earners: individuals with an income over $125,000 will be taxed at 1.5%, and couples earning more than $200,000 will be taxed at the same rate. That'll increase to 2.3% starting in 2026. Income for individuals who make more than $250,000 will be taxed an additional 1.5%, and the same counts for couples making more than $400,000.
The measure's leaders hope the Multnomah County program can be used as a model for the state and the rest of the nation, according to Multnomah County Commissioner and Preschool for All Co-Chair Jessica Vega Pederson.
"We're really excited for Multnomah County be a leader in this work and to set up an example of how you do this the right way and how you do this in an inclusive way for all children," Vega Pederson said.
Studies show there are lifelong benefits to preschool including doing better in later grades, being more likely to graduate high school and earning more money by the time they were 40.
"It's a multi-generation anti-poverty measure," Vice Chair of the David Douglas School Board and Preschool for All Co-Chair Sahar Muranovic said. "We're going to see the benefits of this for many years to come in the way that we would be providing this equitable service for our families and children but also keeping the workers in mind. So, it has many ripple effects."
The passage of Measure 26-211 means Multnomah County library space will be increasing by 50% through expansions of seven library branches and the development of a new East County flagship library in Gresham. The bond measure will cost $387 million and cost property owners an average of 61 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value for eight years.
Specifically, the bonds are intended to:
- Enlarge and modernize eight county libraries, some in each part of the county
- Build a flagship library in East County, similar in capacity to downtown’s Central Library
- Expand, renovate, or construct seven branch libraries, including Albina, Belmont, Holgate, Midland, North Portland, Northwest, and St. Johns
- Add gigabit speed internet to all libraries
- Create a central materials handling and distribution center to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness
- Pay for furnishings, equipment, site improvements, land acquisition, and bond issuance costs
As of 2020, the Multnomah County library system was the fourth-busiest library system in the nation. Yet, the county’s library space has not expanded since the last library bond in 1996.
Measure 26-213 has passed. The levy will prevent ongoing reductions to park services and recreation programs, preserve and restore park and natural area health, and center equity and affordable access for all. Levy is $0.80 per $1,000 assessed home value.
Levy funds will:
- Enhance and preserve parks, rivers, wetlands, trees, and other important natural features in urban areas for the benefit of all Portlanders and wildlife
- Provide park and recreation services to diverse populations including communities of color, seniors, teens, households experiencing poverty, immigrants and refugees, and people living with disabilities
- Increase opportunities for communities of color and children experiencing poverty to connect with nature
- Prevent cuts to recreation programs, closures of community centers and pools
- Enhance park maintenance to keep parks clean and safe, including litter and hazardous waste removal, restroom cleaning, and playground safety.
Measure 26-217, to amend the city’s charter to authorize an independent police oversight board appointed by City Council, has passed.
The board will have the ability to investigate complaints and uses of force, access police records and impose discipline including termination, among other duties.
Measure 26-215 was passed by voters. This bond measure provides $1.208 billion in funding for facilities and educational investments.
Some of those projects will include:
- Renovate/replace schools, including Jefferson, Benson, a facility for alternative school programs; design renovation/replacement of Cleveland and Wilson; plan and add additional capacity
- Develop a culturally-responsive community plan, make targeted investments in facilities in North/Northeast Portland
- Strengthen building security; seismic safety.
The measure is not expected to increase tax rates above previous targets, because debt service is scheduled to decline.