PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Voters in Gresham and Clackamas voted with their pocketbooks on Tuesday in deciding levies to protect overall safety.
The 10 p.m. results show a very tight race in Gresham. 50.74% are opposed, 49.26% in favor of the levy.
With a relative handful of votes reported, the 10 p.m. results for Clackamas show a 50-50 split.
In Gresham, Ballot Measure 26-239 would implement a five-year levy that would charge property owners $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The levy that would cost homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year. City officials say the levy is necessary to help ensure the city’s safety.
In Clackamas, considered a levy that the district says would add 62 firefighters and allow crews to better respond to wildfires and medical calls. Measure 3-594 would charge property owners in the Clackamas Fire District $0.52 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Gresham levy info
Gresham officials say the levy is necessary to help ensure the city’s safety.
Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall said it will likely cost the average Gresham family that owns a home or property about $35 per month.
According to the city, Measure 26-239 would raise about $69 million in 5 years, would fund 26 new police positions and would help keep 13 temporary positions.
The city said 62.5% of the funds raised will go to police, 35% will go to fire resources and 2.5% will go to homeless services.
If the levy fails, the city says it faces an $8 million budget shortfall and citywide layoffs. Stovall blames state Measure 5 and Measure 50 for the deficit the city currently faces. These bills, which were implemented in the 1990s, cut tax rates.
Unlike Portland Fire and Rescue, Clackamas Fire District has not operated on a levy before. Instead, it relied on taxes and grants, but those no longer cover the staffing the district needs, according to Nathan Hon, the secretary and communication director for the Professional Firefighters of Clackamas County union, also known as Local 1159.
If passed, the levy would begin in July 2023, at the start of the fiscal year. In the first fiscal year, the county predicts it will collect more than $13.8 million and the revenue is expected to increase every year after that.
If the levy does not pass, the staffing restrictions implemented in 2022 will remain in place and further staffing and operational reductions may be required, the district said.
KOIN 6 News reporter Amanda Arden contributed to this report.