Local Elections Roundup

Measures 49 and 50 may have recieved the most attention around the state, but a number of other notable local elections took on Tuesday.

In a close and dramatic local election, Clatsop County voters appear to be rejecting a pay raise for the county District Attorney by a 46-vote margin. However, at least 50 ballots turned in to other counties remain to be counted. From the Oregonian:

The discovery Wednesday of 330 uncounted ballots did little to change the results of a vote to give Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis a pay raise -- the measure is still losing but the outcome remains too close to call.

The latest count gave opponents of the pay raise measure a 46-vote margin, 6,619 to 6,573. But at least 50 ballots returned to other counties remain uncounted. Those counties have five business days to get the ballots to Clatsop County, Kennet said. Because Monday is a holiday, the deadline moves to Nov. 14.

The measure would amend the county charter to pay Marquis at least 90 percent of the salary of a circuit judge, or about $100,018 a year. Currently, Marquis earns a state salary of $84,360 after Clatsop County commissioners voted this summer to stop paying him a county stipend.

Marquis is the Vice President of the National District Attorneys Association, and has accused County Commissioners of attempting to violate his prosecutorial independence and of personal bias. A $4,000 contribution to the measure's opponents also has raised some questions.

In Clackamas County, voters chose to expand the county's board of commissioners from 3 to 5 at-large seats, the Oregon City News reports:

Almost 63 percent of voters favored ballot measure 3-272, which expands the board to five at-large, non-partisan seats. The three seats are currently partisan positions. Voter turnout in Clackamas County was 41 percent; 86,000 residents voted, and more than 51,000 favored the expansion of the board.

Commissioners have repeatedly stated that a larger board will allow them to better serve the county, especially when Clackamas is competing for federal and state funding with neighboring counties with five-member boards like Multnomah and Washington.

“As one of the largest counties in the state we need a five member commission to give us the firepower to compete in the regional, state and federal arenas,” vice-chair Lynn Peterson said in August, after the commission voted to put the move to a vote. “Change is never easy but it is vital for Clackamas County to take this first step toward a larger commission.”

More results after the jump...

In Eugene, voters soundly rejected a measure to finance a downtown urban renewal project amid worries that it would ultimately harm local businesses, the Register Guard reports:

Eugene voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly refused to open the public wallet and provide $40 million for downtown redevelopment.

Voters defeated the downtown redevelopment financing measure 63 percent to 37 percent in unofficial final results.

Measure 20-134 would have allowed the city to spend $40 million and probably more in the downtown during the next two decades. It also would have extended the life of the downtown urban renewal district six years, from 2024 to 2030.

Eugene voters also widely defeated a proposed 3 cent increase in the municipal gas tax, which the city council had proposed for road maintenance.

While voters in Eugene shot down a downtown renewal measure, voters in neighboring Springfield did precisely the opposite, according to the Register Guard:

Now it’s up to Springfield officials to decide how to spend millions of dollars in property tax revenue to help bring visitors and businesses into the city core.

Late Tuesday night, city Measure 20-131 appeared headed to certain victory, with about 56 percent of voters favoring it.

Passage of the measure allows the City Council to establish an urban renewal district encompassing much of southwest Springfield, including the downtown corridor.

If the larger boundary is ultimately chosen, the city could raise up to $43 million in property tax money over the next 19 years for upgrades. Less money would be raised if a smaller renewal area is favored by councilors.

Under the urban renewal district system, a portion of property taxes collected citywide each year will be channeled into the district, and property taxes for other local governments, including the city’s general fund, the county, and school districts, will be reduced by a like amount. Creating the district does not increase property taxes.

Finally, the Oregonian reports that Portland voters overwhelmingly voted to change Portland's pension system for public safety workers:

Measure 26-93 will bring the city disability fund in line with what the state workers' compensation system offers all other Oregon public employees.

The measure, which passed 70 percent to 30 percent, changes the City Charter governing the fund, which provides disability payments to about 3,300 active and retired city police officers and firefighters.

Until now, only Portland officers and firefighters who were injured, remained off work and reached retirement age while collecting disability benefits received medical coverage for any future aggravation of their on-the-job injuries.

However, injured officers who did return to work lost medical coverage for their work-related injuries once they retired. This proved to be a disincentive for disabled officers to return to work.

The measure approved Tuesday will apply to Portland police or firefighters retiring on or after Jan. 1, 2007. The City Council and the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund's board of trustees unanimously supported the measure, seeking to correct inequities in the system and encourage disabled officers or firefighters to return to work after being injured on the job.

KATU has results from a number of other local elections.


  • (Show?)

    Nick, can I just say out loud how much you rock? This is great stuff.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    It would be good to see WA races too... they passed some anti-tax stuff that is upsetting.

  • (Show?)

    Don't forget Lake Oswego validating the purchase of the SAFECO Building and campus on Kruse Way, simultaneously rejecting a plan to force all purchases over $2mil to be referred to voters.


  • Miles (unverified)

    This Josh Marquis thing is facinating. From what I've read and seen, he certainly hasn't won me over. I'm sure there is a lot of local backstory on this with his wife running against a sitting commissioner, and prosecuting that same commissioner on dog licensing charges (which were thrown out), but Marquis also seems to have a problem with anyone holding him accountable.

    The county commission wouldn't have cut his pay if he had submitted performance measures to them -- but he claimed it was an assault on his prosecutorial independence. Whatever. So he's not willing to set performance standards for the DA's office, and be held accountable for achieving them? Sounds like someone who needs to get knocked down a notch or two.

    I also saw him interviewed on election night, where he claimed TWICE in a two-minute interview that "an independent grassroots group formed to overturn the county's decision." But the links Nick provides show emails where Marquis is clearly coordinating the "grassroots" effort. Dude, just admit that you were trying to overturn the County's decision, no one will blame you for it!

    [Awesome links, Nick. Thanks!]

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
    <h2>I am pleasantly surprised that Clackamas County voters agreed with the revision to the Board of Commissioners.</h2>
in the news 2007

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