Never underestimate Multnomah County's love for its libraries.
County voters tonight are handily passing a measure to build a new flagship library in Gresham, renovate seven other library branches, and add higher-speed internet to the whole system.
In early returns released Tuesday night, Measure 26-211 was leading by a 60% to 39% margin.
Measure 26-211 will authorized the county to issue $387 million in general obligation bonds to expand the library system, funded by a property tax increase.
But polling released last month by Portland-based firm DHM Research showed dangerously soft support for the tax measure. In a year when many library services were suspended and people borrowed books out of to-go windows, some wondered about voter appetite for an expensive expansion of the system—especially on a Portland-area ballot crowded with tax increases.
The worries (and the polls) were wrong.
The measure had no formal opposition. But it was met with some skepticism by library employees, who were unhappy about pandemic layoffs and concerned that the county wouldn't have enough money to operate the expanded system.