The midterm elections may be dominating national headlines, but Oregon voters will decide on several significant local races and state measures this November.
Here’s a look at some of the races to watch. You can find more information in the State of Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet.
The race for Oregon governor appears to be close between Democratic incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and her challenger, Republican lawmaker Knute Buehler.
A new poll shows Brown with a slight lead over Buehler, 49 to 45 percent, with other candidates dividing up the remainder. The poll was conducted between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7 by Riley Research Associates for KGW Media Group and The Oregonian/OregonLive.
On Oct. 9, the two media organizations hosted the final debate between Brown and Buehler. Watch the full debate here.
Brown, who was elevated into the governor’s seat in early 2015 after the resignation of then-Governor John Kitzhaber, was elected to fill the remainder of his term in November 2016. If re-elected, this would be her first full four-year term.
Buehler, a physician, has represented the Bend area in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2015. Buehler ran against Brown for secretary of state in 2012, but lost.
Measure 103 would change Oregon’s constitution to prohibit food and most beverages from being taxed.
The measure would protect food from the time it’s grown in a field until it’s bought it at a store. There would be no taxes on the food containers, transportation, or storage.
Marijuana, alcohol and tobacco would be exempt and still taxed.
Measure 104 would expand the current requirement that a three-fifths majority of the legislature is needed to approve bills that raise money. As of now, that requirement only applies to tax-related laws.
Voters will decide if Oregon should remain a sanctuary state. Measure 105 would repeal Oregon’s law that limits how local law enforcement cooperates with federal authorities who are working to apprehend people in violation of immigration laws.
Measure 106 would block public funding for abortions except when medically necessary.
About $1.9 million of public funds were used to pay for about 3,600 abortions via the Oregon Health Plan in the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Metro Measure 26-199: Affordable housing bond
Measure 26-199 is an affordable housing bond that would impact people living in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.
If passed, the measure would authorize nearly $653 million in general obligation bonds. The money would build affordable housing for low-income residents and families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. It would also preserve the affordability of existing housing and buy land for more affordable housing.
The measure would cost the average homeowner about $60 per year.
Portland Measure 26-201: Clean energy business tax
Measure 26-201 would impose a one-percent tax on certain Portland businesses and large retailers to fund renewable energy projects.
If passed, the measure would create the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund, which would be used for green infrastructure projects, especially in low-income areas.
Portland City Commissioner
The race for the open spot on Portland’s city council is between Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith and community organizer Jo Ann Hardesty.
If elected, Smith says she will:
- Build affordable homes and make Portland a better place to work, live and play.
- Open more homeless shelters with services, including Wapato.
- Increase community policing to ensure students are safe from gun violence.
- Reduce congestion and get our transportation system working for everyone.
If elected, Hardesty says she will:
- Improve livability and reduce traffic by expanding public transit and improving sidewalk and street infrastructure.
- Advance Portland’s renewable energy commitment by creating living-wage jobs with policies like the Portland Clean Energy Fund.
- Collaborate with the chief of police on community policing initiatives, sensible and compassionate accountability, and better training.
- Increase City Hall’s transparency by eliminating economic barriers to accessibility and thus strengthening the democratic process.
- Identify dignified options that help the houseless, keep Portlanders in their homes, and protect tenants.
For more information:
Up for Debate: Hardesty vs. Smith for Portland City Council
Who will be Portland's first African-American Councilwoman? Join City Club of Portland and AARP Oregon for a debate between Jo Ann Hardesty and Loretta Smith as each makes her case for why she is the best person to serve the city.Posted by KGW-TV on Friday, October 5, 2018
- State Voters’ Pamphlet
- Multnomah County Voters’ Pamphlet
- Clackamas County Voters’ Pamphlet
- Washington County Voters’ Pamphlet
The Statesman Journal contributed to this guide.