A $790 million Portland Public Schools bond measure on the May 16 ballot will be the biggest in state history if it passes.
The district wants the money to address safety concerns and replace and repair aging buildings. The committee tasked with passing the bond, Portlanders for Safe and Healthy Schools, has raised $264,000, after getting a late start.
That's a good start but less than a group called Save Coos Jobs Committee, which has raised $358,000.
The underlying issue is a long-planned liquified natural gas terminal at Jordan Cove. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the proposed $7.5 billion pipeline and export facility last year but the project sponsor, Calgary-based Veresen Inc., re-applied to FERC in February. The Canadian company is banking on a more favorable environment under President Donald J. Trump.
The Jordan Cove project was originally conceived as an LNG-import terminal more than a decade ago but bountiful natural gas supplies caused a switch to proposed exports. Environmentalists have battled against Jordan Cove and other proposed LNG export facilities near Astoria, which have fallen by the wayside. The prospect of 2,000 construction jobs associated with Jordan Cove has proven attractive to trade unions and to others in the economically-depressed south coast.
The pro-Jordan Cove forces are seeking to defeat Coos County Measure 6-162, which creates a "community bill of rights for a sustainable energy future," but is a referendum on whether it should be legal for any company to transport fossil fuels into Coos County for any purpose except for consumption in the county.
The committee seeking to block the project has raised just under $10,000.
Ballots for the May 16 election will be mailed starting April 26.