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PCC Wins Big with $144 Million Bond
Photos and Story by James Hill
The third time was the charm for the Portland Community College bond measure. In its third attempt on the election ballot, district voters overwhelmingly approved PCC’s $144 million bond, 26-7, by an official "yes" vote count of 64 percent. As of Nov. 22, 100 percent of the precincts have reported results. PCC president Daniel Moriarty said that the large victory was due to the "excellent reputation of the college and the many services that it provides. That is the bedrock on which we won this election. "I want to thank all of our communities for the tremendous show of support," he added. "The victory belongs to the people; the everyday people who come to the college."PCC received tremendous support from its two largest counties – Multnomah and Washington. In Multnomah County, the bond measure had garnered 135,250 "yes" votes (71.8 percent) versus 52,921(28.16) "no" votes. In Washington County, PCC’s bond won with 58 percent of the vote (95,250 to 68,931.The bond measure also won big in Clackamas County, winning by a margin of 12,864 to 6,560 or 66 percent of the "yes" vote. PCC lost by a slight margin in Yamhill County, with 5,595 voting "no" to 5,337 "yes" votes, or 48.8 percent, but that was a 10 percent gain from the May primary and the November 1998 bond election. In Columbia County, the bond lost by a substantial margin, 70.3 percent "no" votes, or 10,275, to 29.7 percent "yes," or 4,033 votes. The bond measure win by PCC, said David Kish, who chaired the Friends of PCC advocacy campaign and is a PCC board director, "is a reflection of the importance of education in this election. People focused on what was important and voted on targeted improvements for schools." The $144 million bond will provide for more classrooms and laboratories, help upgrade technology and repair and maintain aging buildings. The bond will cost an estimated average of 11 cents per thousand of assessed property value, spread over a maximum of 23 years. Of the 11 cents per thousand of assessed value, 4.8 cents will go for technology improvements, 3.6 cents for building repairs and 2.6 cents for new buildings. Voters actually approved the measure in the May primary by more than 57 percent, but the measure did not pass because voter turnout was slightly under the needed 50 percent. The largest share of the bond will go to improve Cascade Campus, approximately $57 million. The Rock Creek Campus will receive $35 million and Sylvania, $42 million and the Southeast Center will receive $8 million. Moriarty said work would now begin on determining the sequencing of projects. "We will most likely issue the bonds in December. Then, we can begin immediately to work on some of the upgrades to existing classrooms and labs, and begin repairs and renovations." He said the college would also begin work on construction documents at the campuses.Moriarty added that the projects funded by the measure would not all be undertaken at once and are likely to be spread out over the next 10 years.