Without the benefit of polling, it's easy to be surprised on election night.
The mixed performance of the two high-profile Portland Public School measures, however, is not shocking. The massive $548 million capital bond is trailing 53 percent to 47 percent with a little less than a quarter of the votes tallied. The five-year operating levy, which would raise about $57 million is passing by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. Those results are consistent with a nervous, under-employed electorate and also with the behavior of the pro-schools campaign, whose massive output of mailings suggested a tepid electorate.
The surprise of the evening is the vehemence with which Clackamas County voters are rejecting a measure that asked them to pay an extra $5 a year to help finance a new Sellwood Bridge. That measure, which the Clackamas County Commission unanimously approved last year but was subsequently referred to voters by opponents, struck a nerve with critics because it asked Clackamas County residents to fund a piece of infrastructure within the boundaries of Multnomah County. The beating it is taking—down 63 percent to 37 percent with 27 percent of the vote counted—suggests that the line demarcating Oregon's infamous urban-rural divide may be closer to Portland than previously thought.