Archive | At the Polls

Primary Election results affecting land use/transit

While Portland Transport didn’t cover the primary election, there were some issues and offices with a direct impact on transit/land use:  All election returns are unofficial at the time of this writing, but the races have been called by local media:

  • Milwaukie voters narrowly passed a measure to finance the city’s contribution to Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail.
  • An attempt by conservative activists to install two more conservatives on the Clackamas County Commission (after electing two conservatives in 2012 on an anti-density platform) failed, as incumbents Paul Savas and Jim Bernard both win re-election.  (Speaking of conservative Clackamas County commissioners, Tootie Smith wins the GOP primary election for the Fifth Congressional District, and will face Democratic incumbent Kurt Schrader in the fall).
  • In the city of Damascus, there will be a run-off election between two competing comprehensive plans, neither garnering a majority.
  • In Washington County, three incumbent commissioners defeat a slate of pro-environmentalist challengers, including former congresswoman Elizabeth Furse.
  • Metro President Tom Hughes, and councilors  Carlotta Collette, Kathryn Harrington and Shirley Craddick all win re-election, the latter three running unopposed.  This will be Hughes’ and Harrington’s final term due to term limits.

The local election results and transit/land use

It has certainly been a momentous–and busy–election night. In DC, the status quo was mostly maintained–President Obama is re-elected, and neither house of Congress changes control (the Democrats pick up a few seats in the Senate, and likely will in the House as well; though many seats are still undecided at this point). All Oregon congresspersons are re-elected, and the Jaime Herrera Beutler in WA-3 appears headed for re-election as well. In Salem, the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate and re-take the House.

But several local races may have a bigger impact on transit and land use.
First, in the Portland mayoral election, Charlie Hales has defeated Jefferson Smith. This result was not surprising, given the various damaging personal revelations about Smith to surface in recent months. Earlier in the year, Hales gave an interview with Portland Afoot where he stated his positions on the relevant issued. He is, of course, a strong supporter of (and strongly associated with) Portland Streetcar, and has long supported the system during his career in both public office and private industry, and supports its expansion. He believes that transit in general is a worthwhile public endeavor, and supports new taxes/fees to fund operations. On the other hand, he is also a strong supporter of the Columbia River Crossing project (arguably moreso than Smith was), though has made clear that he will continue Sam Adams’ policy of requiring alternate transportation on the CRC as a condition of Portland’s support for the project.

Which brings us to Proposition 1, the initiative in Clark County for a 0.1% sales tax hike to fund both MAX operations as part of the CRC process, and the proposed Fourth Plain BRT project. It failed, 56%-44%. As Portland Afoot notes, officials in Washington have been viewing Prop 1 as a referendum on the CRC itself. With Clark County expressing its dislike for light rail across the river, and Portland likely continuing to insist that it be built, and a continued lack of funds from either Olympia or Salem, and the extreme difficulties the project team seems to be having with designing a bridge that will meet regulatory approval; will this put the brakes on the CRC? (One other factor that may have an affect: The Washington governor’s race remains too close to call at this time).

Two Oregon suburban communities also continued an anti-rail backlash, with Tigard voters passing a measure to require a public vote on tax/fee increases going towards future light rail spending (and doing so by a wide margin). This measure seems to be more competently drafted than the similar measure which passed in Clackamas County–it only applies to new taxes and fees (not sure how it deals with the money-is-fungible problem), and also only applies to construction projects. It doesn’t appear that this measure will limit Tigard’s ability to participate in the SW Corridor planning process; though it certainly could constrain the result of that process. As noted previously, if Tigard residents are opposed to light rail, this is the time to speak up. While Clackamas County residents have made opposition clear to future projects, the Green Line is already in operation along I-205, and the Milwaukie line is under construction as we speak.

Speaking of Clackamas County, transit opponent John Ludlow is currently leadingincumbent Charlotte Lehan in the race for county chair, and another transit skeptic, Tootie Smith, is leading Jamie Dimon. Should both results hold up, the county government will shift to a position of being considerably more hostile to “Portland creep” in the county. Whether this will affect ongoing projects like MLR remains to be seen; though it’s safe to assume that future “smart growth” projects will be on hold in the county for a while.

Portland Afoot has more analysis of tonight’s election results.

UPDATED: Land use/transportation issues on the ballot, other land use odds and ends

Unofficial election returns on the items discussed in this post:

  • C-TRAN operating level appears to be PASSING, 54%-46%.
  • Clackamas County urban renewal: Both measures 3-386 and 3-388 PASS; 3-386 (which requires a countywide vote, rather than a vote within a proposed or existing UR district) passes with a wider margin (70% for 3-386, 64% for 3-388) so it prevails.
  • Beaverton UR district PASSES, 54-46%.
  • Washington State initiative 1125 (concerning highway tolls) appears to be FAILING, 51%-49%; though KIRO-TV reports that it is too close to call.

To repeat, these results may be preliminary.
Previous content after jump.
The general election is coming up soon (on November 8) and there are a few land-use related things on the ballot in various communities in the Portland metro area, as well as other government business to report.

In Beaverton
The city of Beaverton has an Urban Renewal program on the ballot, for revamping downtown Beaverton. The proposal, if passed, would authorize the city of Beaverton to issue up to $150 over 30 years, for various projects in the downtown area, much of which is notoriously hostile to pedestrians and bikes. TV Highway/Canyon Road, and to a lesser extent Farmington Road, both impose barriers to human-powered mobility; strip development and car lots abound, and there are insufficient safe pedestrian crossings of the various railroad tracks in the area (both the MAX line, and especially the P&W freight line). This despite good transit access in the area–MAX, WES, and numerous bus lines (including the frequent-service 57) converge upon the area.

Beaverton has not used urban renewal since 1972; for nearly four decades the practice was banned within the city, until a 2008 charter amendment lifted the ban. However, creation or expansion of new UR districts requires a public vote at a May or November general election.

Clackamas County

Beaverton’s UR laws are a nice segue into what is going on in Clackamas County, where there are two competing urban renewal proposals on the ballot. One (Measure 3-388), backed by the county board of commissioners, would require a majority vote of residents within an urban renewal district, in order to create or expand one; the other (3-386), backed by citizen initiative, would instead require a county-wide vote. The two initiatives are competing–should both pass, only the one with a higher vote total would take affect. Neither measure would affect UR districts located within cities, which are the responsibility of City and not county governments to manage.

Beaverton’s policy is essentially similar to 3-386, but on a city-wide scale. Portland Transport previously covered the citizen initiative last year.

In related news, the board of commissioners also pledged, via non-binding resolution, that proceeds from urban renewal would NOT be used to fund the county’s contribution to Milwaukie MAX–it’s long been suspected by critics of the project that a proposed UR district in the Oak Grove area was really about funding Milwaukie MAX, not about other improvements within the district. (A proposal to incorporate Oak Grove has been put on hiatus due to lack of popular support).

North Bethany

Not election news, but the Washington County commission voted 4-0 to upzone the North Bethany area, roughly bounded between NW 185th, NW Springville, and NW 147th streets. PCC Rock-Creek lies within the westernmost part of the area. Despite the vote, planning for the area is still in flux, with much contention as to how dense it ought to be. 185th Avenue serves as a mobility corridor which connects the area to US26 and to MAX, but the rest of the street network through the remainder of the Bethany area is already clogged by the existing sprawl–in particular, Bethany Boulevard, which is the predominant N/S route through Bethany. (One other useful road connection for the area is Germantown Road, albeit one which is presently unsuitable for most modes of transportation other than cars).

Washington and Clark County

On the Washington statewide ballot one finds several things:

  • Initiative 1125, which would “prohibit the use of motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes, and require that road and bridge tolls be set by the legislature and be project-specific”. The bill, sponsored by Tim Eyman, would additionally ban variable tolling, and limit tolls to capital construction costs. If passed, this might have interesting effects on the CRC.
  • Within the C-TRAN service area, there is a proposal on the ballot to increase the sales tax (which funds C-TRAN) by 0.2%, to preserve existing operations. Without a yes vote, C-TRAN claims that they will be forced to ” cut 35% of bus and C-VAN (Paratransit) service. These cuts are real: loss of fourteen routes; elimination of all Sunday, holiday, and special event service such as 4th of July and Clark Co Fair; and elimination of the Camas Connector. Remaining routes’ hours and frequency will be reduced, leaving commuters, senior citizens, the disabled, and students without a way to get to work, church, doctor, school, and shopping. All revenue from Prop 1 will fund bus service only, not light rail.” C-TRAN opponents note that the agency has $50 million in unrestricted funds on the balance sheet, which they argue could be consumed to preserve service levels during the recession, and claim that the promise to not fund MAX expansion with the proceeds from the ballot measure is an empty one.

Yesterday’s election results

The results from the May 17 2011 election are in, and here’s how transport and land use issues fared.

The results from yesterday’s election are in, and here’s how transport and land use issues fared.

  • Clackamas County voters rejected the $5 license fee surcharge to replace the Sellwood Bridge, 63-37. Opponents of the levy hailed this as a victory of suburban values over urban ones (“in Clackamas County, we drive cars”)–even though the primary users of the new bridge (as well as the current one) would be automobiles. Multnomah County officials stated that they would look at other options, including deleting the big interchange with OR43 on the west end–a design feature which has been roundly criticized, but on which quite a bit of state funding is conditioned.
  • Voters in the city of Damascus rejected their comprehensive plan.
  • In Washington County, voters in the North Bethany area north of Beaverton approved a permanent tax levy to help fund the area’s transportation needs.

Thoughts and comments? In particular, what ought to be next for the Sellwood Bridge replacement?

Bob Stacey concedes, Tom Hughes is your new Metro president (Update x7)

Bob Stacey concedes; Tom Hughes is the new President of Metro.

Thanks to Doug K in the comments. Bob Stacey has conceded the race to Tom Hughes. It’s over.


UPDATE 6: Bob Stacey does better today, netting almost 100 votes, but still trails Tom Hughes by 1017 votes.

County Tom Hughes Bob Stacey Other (write-in)
Clackamas 38,418 33,118 444
Multnomah 86,506 116,010 1808
Washington 72,289 47,068 892
Totals 197,213 196,196 3144

UPDATE 5: Tim Hibbits of the Portland Tribune has called the race for Hughes. Hat tip to RA Fontes in the comments.

UPDATE 3 & 4: 11/10/10 results

Washington County updates its results (3:00). Multnomah County updates its results (4:30).

County Tom Hughes Bob Stacey Other (write-in)
Clackamas 38,346 33,058 336
Multnomah 86,365 115,751 1803
Washington 72,230 47,026 892
Totals 196,941 195,835 3141

Hughes widens his lead to 1106 votes. He gained several votes from Washington County, though Stacey offset this somewhat with a net gain of 16 from Multnomah. Don’t know if Clackamas County will publish any updates today.

(Note: See UPDATE below).

It’s been nearly a week since the general election. We know who the next governor of Oregon will be (Kitz), and whether or not TriMet will have some extra money to play with (no). What we don’t know, still, is who the next Metro president will be.

As of yesterday, the race stood as follows:

County Tom Hughes Bob Stacey Other (write-in)
Clackamas 38,346 33,058 336
Multnomah 85,828 115,208 1784
Washington 72,074 46,917 889
Totals 196,248 195,183 3119

As you can see, Hughes as a small lead (of about 1000 votes, or about 0.25% of the electorate); but so far, no election analysts have called the race; nor has either of the candidates conceded. Multnomah County, whose vote has favored Stacey, is still counting ballots (1000 ballots were added to the total yesterday); whether there are enough remaining votes to permit Stacey to overtake Hughes is an open question.

Actually, two things surprise me: 1) That Clackamas County is so close, given that is probably the “reddest” county within Metro’s boundary, and the county which most decisively voted no on Measure 26-119; and 2) that Tom Hughes is doing as well as he is in Multnomah County. It’s not surprising that Hughes is dominating in Washington County, where he hails from.

It’s also interesting to note that like the governor’s race; the “other” vote (all write-ins, as no other candidate was listed on the ballot) will likely exceed the margin of victory between the two leading candidates. Should there be a recount, this may complicate things, as these write-in ballots may need to be scrutinized more carefully.

This article will be updated as new information comes in.


Today’s release of updated Multnomah County numbers does not bode well for Bob Stacey.

County Tom Hughes Bob Stacey Other (write-in)
Clackamas 38,346 33,058 336
Multnomah 86,251 115,621 1799
Washington 72,074 46,917 889
Totals 196,671 195,596 3134

Today, 423 more votes for Hughes were tabluated, vs 413 for Stacey–resulting in Tom Hughes increasing his lead by 10 votes. Stacey now has an overall deficit of 1048 votes. Neither Washington nor Clackamas counties have updated their ballot counts as of this afternoon. Washington County indicates their next update will be tomorrow (the 10th); Clackamas County has not indicated when the next update (if any) will be published.

Given that Multnomah County is supposedly “Stacey territory”, his losing ten votes in the county is not a good sign for his candidacy. It’s not known how many ballots remain–at this point, the county is likely hand-investigating overvotes and undervotes to see if voter intent can be discerned, a process which explains the slow pace. Election results need to be certified by the 22nd.

One more bit of info. oregonlive’s tabulation gives Hughes a total of 196,671 votes vs 195,596 for Stacey; I’m not sure where the additional 27 votes come from. Still not good for Stacey.


I discovered the source of the discrepancy; I had written down 72,047 votes for Hughes in Washington County, the correct total is 72,074. The above charts are now updated and agree with oregonlive’s tabulation.