Two-thirds of Oregon school bonds win voter approval

Salem OKs police facility; terminal ban defeated

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Voters in Oregon approved two-thirds of the school bonds that were on ballots in communities statewide, as well as spending for public safety and libraries.

The measures approved Tuesday include a $790 million spending package in Portland that is the largest school bond in the state.

A total of 10 school bonds across Oregon, from Jefferson to Lake Oswego, passed while five failed.

In southwestern Oregon, Coos County voters rejected a ballot measure that would have blocked a $7.5 million natural gas export terminal and pipeline.

In nearby Josephine County -- known for rejecting new taxes -- voters surprised pundits by approving spending for libraries, public safety and renewing a tax for the animal shelter.

In Salem, a $61.8 million bond measure to build a new police facility also passed.

In addition to its record amount, the Portland Public Schools bond measure was notable in that it gained 66 percent of the vote, tying a much smaller ($4 million) Tillamook proposal in terms of overall community support, the Oregon School Boards Association reported.

Other school bonds gaining passage included: Bend-La Pine ($268 million), Greater Albany ($159 million), Jefferson ($14.4 million), Lake Oswego ($187 million), North Powder ($3 million), Rogue River ($3 million), Sweet Home ($4 million), and Vernonia ($6.8 million).

Bonds did not pass in Ontario, South Umpqua, Yoncalla, Hermiston and Coos Bay. The Coos Bay bond, for $66.5 million, trailed passage by the slimmest of margins: 22 votes out of more than 7,100 cast.

Jim Green, executive director of the OSBA, said the results indicate Oregonians' longtime support for public education.

"Our residents understand the need to pay for the infrastructure of Oregon's public schools," he said. "The continuing challenge is ensuring that we find a way to invest adequately in the continuing operation of our schools."

In the only community college bond election, Mount Hood Community College's $75 million bond was defeated.

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