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What Could Change the Minds of Portland Voters on a Transportation Tax? Make It Bigger.

Other West Coast cities—Seattle and Los Angeles—persuaded voters to spend on projects with far more eye-popping price tags.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

What lessons can a government take from the resounding defeat of its largest-ever tax measure?

Pollster John Horvick has one idea: Go bigger.

Horvick, who directs political research for the Portland polling firm DHM Research, looks at the rejection of Measure 26-218, Metro's $4 billion transportation tax, as a sign of a campaign that never sold voters on a vision of something that would transform their commutes. Other West Coast cities—Seattle and Los Angeles—persuaded voters to spend on projects with far more eye-popping price tags.

He wonders: Was Metro's measure "simultaneously too big and too small"? (Of course, having Nike willing to spend whatever it takes to defeat a measure also spells doom.)

In this video, Horvick discusses a few lessons from the Nov. 3 election—not just for Metro, but for progressives who are consistently getting their tails kicked in the most diverse, working-class neighborhoods of Portland.