PORTLAND — Portland voters Tuesday approved the largest school bond in state history, which would raise taxes to address high levels of lead in drinking water at nearly every school and pay for modernizing schools.
According to partial returns, 61 percent voted for the $790 million Portland Public Schools spending package while 39 percent were opposed, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
The bond is part of a yearslong strategy of measures to modernize all 90-plus of its school buildings, which are on average roughly 70 years old. District officials say broad overhauls and rebuilds are the best way to prepare schools to withstand an earthquake.
The win comes days after a flurry of district news including the resignation of the human resources director, a $1 million jury verdict against the district for racial harassment and the implosion of a superintendent search.
In Coos County, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have blocked a $7.5 million natural gas export terminal and pipeline, the newspaper reported based on partial returns.
The Jordan Cove LNG project envisions a 230-mile pipeline running from Malin, a town on the California border, to Coos Bay.
The measure would have banned the transportation of fossil fuels within the county that weren't intended for local use.
Jordan Cove and its parent company, Calgary-based Veresen Inc., have spent more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to win approval for the project.
Federal regulators rejected their application last year, but the company reapplied in January hoping that a fossil-fuel friendly President Donald Trump administration could help them get a green light.
Jordan Cove spent an unprecedented $600,000 on the campaign to defeat the ballot measure, with television, radio and newspaper ads against the initiative. In an effort to win over the county's 41,000 registered voters, they spent 50 times as much as the yes campaign's $12,000.
The ballot measure was broadly written, and in the opinion of many observers, likely unconstitutional.