Voters in Clackamas County
have rejected the $130 million bond
for Clackamas Community College
(CCC). As of 7:30 this morning, the vote was 24,690 for
and 39,927 against
, according to the Clackamas County Elections Division.
The bond, which would have paid for a new building for the college’s manufacturing and engineering department and classroom modernizations, has been the subject of a series of contentious debates at recent school board meetings.
The discontent over the proposed bond
came from a small group of CCC political science students who opposed the measure on the grounds that it was fiscally irresponsible. Echoing comments made by political science instructor Dean Darris
—who has posted several lengthy comments against the bond and the Board of Education on OregonLive.com
—the students spoke out against the measure accusing the Board of Education of not listening to their concerns.
One political science student, Marlo Smith
, seems to have taken Darris’ words to heart. Smith ran for the college’s zone 4 school board seat,on an anti-bond, anti-spending and free-admission platform, the last of which she proposed to fund by cutting CCC employee salaries.
Smith has not yet returned a call for comment.
Smith lost to Chuck Clemans
, who has long held the position, by a two-to-one margin. But the anger she felt toward spending has been mirrored in the overwhelming opposition the bond, and similar measures have received from voters. A result, Clemans says, he did not see coming.
Clemans, who was behind the crafting of the bond, says a year ago when he and fellow board members polled voters their results showed the bond would pass. What changed?
“I think it was a general no-new-taxes mentality that wasn’t out there when we did our polling,” says Clemans. The other factor, Clemans says seems to be voter turn-out, which in Clackamas County was 40.7 percent.
“We really could not find an election similar to this in recent elections were there were county-wide bond measures and special district elections,” says Clackamas County elections manager Steve Kindred.
“We thought we would get 35 percent,” says Kindred. “We were surprised to get over 40 percent.”
Were Smith and her cohort part of the unexpected 5 percent? Perhaps. One thing is certain. Voters have chosen to hold on to their money.