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A reader asks: Can we limit who gets to vote? (quick answer: no)
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
Here’s a good one: A reader sent me the following question:
“If there is to be a vote on this issue, why not let the property owners, ONLY, vote if they are the people who will have to pay? On the other hand, if everyone is going to be able to participate in the vote, then everyone should pay a portion of the costs.”
Great question. The fact is, the state doesn’t allow anyone, be it a city, a county or Portland Community College, to pick and choose who gets to vote. If we could do that, why limit it only to property owners? It would be smarter to limit it only to employees of the college! Or, say, to my immediate family.
No, alas, we don’t have the power to do as the reader suggests. Anyone of voting age living in the 1,500-square-mile PCC district gets to vote.
Also, I own a home in the district now, but for most of my adult life, I was a renter. (Having chosen the miraculously high-paid world of weekly newspapers – most of the weeklies I worked for were non-profits. Not intentionally, mind you. It just worked out that way at the end of the month.) Anyway, I would argue that the owners of rental property do pass along increased costs to their renters. So in a way, everyone pays their fair share.
Including, I must add, those people who aren’t living here yet but who will be in the future.
By making this a 20-year bond measure, not only do we spread out the cost, but we make sure that the financial burden does not fall unfairly on existing taxpayers. Thus, if successful, the bond would make sure that growth helps pay for itself.
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