Ballot Measure Endorsements

Multnomah County Democratic Party Endorsements

Endorsed Yes or No positions represent at least a 2/3 majority vote of the Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee, made up of your Democratic Precinct Committee Persons.

Statewide Ballot Measures

Measure 70

Yes - Amends Constitution; Expands home ownership loans for Oregon Veterans, including National Guard, through Oregon War Veterans' Fund.

Measure 71

Yes - Amends Constitution; Requires annual, time-limited Legislative sessions and provides for exceptions. The world changes too fast for budgets locked in for two years.

Measure 72

Yes - Amends Constitution; authorizes state to use less expensive mechanisms for routine borrowing.

Measure 73

No -  Requires increased minimum sentences for certain crimes. Both our prison budget and rate of incarceration are already staggering. We can do better.

Measure 74

Yes - Establishes medical marijuana supply system and assistance and research programs; allows limited selling of marijuana.

Measure 75

No -  Authorizes a Multnomah County casino, which would take money out of the community, provide no job guarantees, and produce human and social costs.

Measure 76

Position not taken - Supporters want to ensure funding for parks, beaches, wildlife and watershed protection. Opponents object to budgeting by ballot measure, outside of the budget deliberation context.

City of Portland Measures

Yes - 26-108 Continues “Voter Owned Elections” system of public financing for City of Portland elective offices.

Yes - 26-117 General Obligation bonds for fire vehicles and emergency response equipment.

Multnomah County Measures

Yes - 26-109 Repeals County term limits.

Yes - 26-110 Allows County elected official to run for another office midterm.

Yes - 26-111 Authorizes Salary Commission to set Sheriff’s salary and District Attorney’s supplemental salary.

Yes - 26-112 Requires County Commissioners to reside in district; creates vacancy if move.

Yes - 26-113 Restricts elections to fill County vacancies to May or November election.

Yes - 26-114 Allows Board of County Commissioners to form county library district.

Yes - 26-118 Five-Year Levy: Oregon Historical Society Library, Museum, educational programs.

Tri-Met Measure

Yes - 26-119 Bonds to improve transit services and access, especially for the elderly or disabled.

More Information

Statewide Measures 

Measure #70: Amends Constitution: Expands availability of home ownership loans for Oregon veterans through Oregon War Veterans' Fund. 

Recommend YES

  • Referred by our Democratically led State Legislature
  • No direct financial effect on state or local expenditures
  • These people put their lives on the line, this provides for a life in a house
  • Expands access for an existent program
  • Improves existing program

Measure #71: Amends Constitution: Requires legislature to meet annually; limits length of legislative sessions; provides exceptions. 

Recommend YES

  • Referred by our Democratically led State Legislature
  • The direct financial effect on state or local expenditures or revenues will not exceed $100,000
  • Provides potential for more consistency in Oregon’s budgets/expenditures
  • Allows State Legislature more responsibility and reduces Governor’s need to just make cuts when the fiscal reality turns out to be widely different than predicted

Measure #72: Amends Constitution: Authorizes exception to $50,000 state borrowing limit for state's real and personal property projects. 

Recommend YES

  • Referred by our Democratically led State Legislature
  • No direct financial effect on state or local expenditures
  • If used, would save the state millions ($38 million over life of bonds issued in 2009)
  • Measure limits State’s use of this source of funding to 1% of state property values
  • Measure prohibits levy of property taxes to repay these bonds

Measure #73: Requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, 
incarceration for repeated driving under influence. 

Recommend NO

  • Initiative promoted by Kevin Mannix. Opposed by Oregon House Speaker, Dave Hunt
  • The direct financial effect on the state is expected to be $1.4 million the first year, increasing to $18-$29 million per year by the fifth year. It would reduce local expenditures by $400,000 the first year, increasing to a reduction of $3.2-$4.6 million each year after that (net taxpayer increase in costs)
  • Funding of increased costs would come from the State General Fund (competing with the rest of the budget)
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing leads to overcrowding and essentially mandates the early release of other criminals
  • Will lead to more "prisons for profit."
  • Unintended impacts on teenagers (3 strikes aspect)
  • Unintended consequences include possible mandatory sentencing for teens who exchange nude pictures of themselves via cellphone (an example of "sexting.")
  • The legislative counterpart to judicial activism, this measure robs judges of their duties and discretion.

Measure #74: Establishes medical marijuana supply system and assistance and research programs; allows limited selling of marijuana. 

Recommend YES

Background: Oregon decriminalized small-quantity personal possession of marijuana in 1973. Voters (68%) rejected an effort to re-criminalize possession in 1998. Voters that year also approved medical marijuana (55%). Current law allows patients (with doctor's approval) to legally grow, possess and consume products derived from cannabis. A patient may grow his/her own or appoint a "caregiver" to grow the product. Only such legal growing operations are allowed and the State requires registry of growers and grow sites. 

  • Direct financial effect on state or local expenditures are to be paid by the program its self. Potential additional income to the state could be from a minimum of $400,000 to $3-$20 million in the first year.
  • Dispensaries offer more practical oversight than the present system and are less subject to growers' abuse.
  • Some patients may be satisfied with the current "caregiver" system. The measure retains this option.
  • Location of current legal grow sites is not addressed by law. Dispensaries however will be segregated away from schools and residential neighborhoods.
  • As a legal medical treatment, dispensaries would provide an alternative access point for patients not adequately served by present methods of acquisition.
  • This measure applies only to medical marijuana.
  • Makes access more consistent with other prescribed medicines
  • Dispensaries operate as non-profits. Some resulting revenues will be used to assist low income patients.
  • Medicinal qualities of marijuana vary according to strain and production techniques. The dispensary program would also fund R&D which would help ensure the safety and delineate the efficacy of the products they offer.

Measure #75: Authorizes Multnomah County casino; casino to contribute monthly revenue percentage to state for specified purposes. 

Recommend NO

  • Initiative petition by Canadian investment group which has gaming investments worldwide.  Initiative petition is drafted to reflect the interests of this Multinational corporation, not the interests of Oregonians.
  • The direct financial effect on state government would be paying $1 million the first year, $4-$6 million in the next two years, and $4-$8 million in each two year period after that. A state income from the business could be as much as $1.8 million, but could also be a possible loss of as much as $26.2 million.
  • Native American casinos operating currently in the state serve the communities they are in.  The profits stay in the state.  3/4 of the profits in the Wood Village proposition would go to Clairvest in Canada.
  • The initiative neatly limits the number of private casinos to 1 - Clairvest's, in an attempt to codify their own monopoly of Private Oregon casinos.
  • Planned to be bigger than any other casino, this will not only drain from local entertainment dollars that get reinvested into the local community, but will financially impac Native American casinos. As Tribal casinos, whose dollars recirculate in Oregon, lose revenue this will impact Oregon's greater economy.
  • Proponents are trying to sell this measure based on the promis e of jobs, but the preponderance of casino jobs will be low income jobs after infusion of construction money
  • Competes with current funding for state via casinos…may add or subtract to state revenues depending on how gamblers respond
  • Environmental and infrastructural impacts are likely high.
  • State funding through gambling is regressive

Measure #76: Amends Constitution: Continues lottery funding for parks, beaches, wildlife 
habitat, watershed protection beyond 2014; modifies funding process 

No Recommendation

Background: The Oregon lottery was approved in 1984 with the support of 66% of voters. Net proceeds (after prizes) were dedicated to economic development as appropriated by the Legislature and Governor. In 1995 the constitution was amended (90% voting in favor) allowing lottery funds to be spent on education as well, with 15% of net proceeds being dedicated to the education endowment fund. (This mandate was raised to 18% by voters in 2002). Oregonians voted in 1998 to dedicate 15% of lottery proceeds to the environment, half for state parks and half for watershed conservation. As passed by the voters (69%), the environmental funding mandate will sunset in 2014. 

Arguments in support of a YES position

    • We’ve been paying this already (percentage [15%] stays the same as it has always been) so why stop now…especially with increasing population growth causing greater pressure on our environment
    • Measure supporters argue the estimated $180 million in lottery money for one biennium is a drop in the bucket (relatively) barely enough to cover the cost of a medium-size school district
    • We tend to have short sighted vision that puts the environment last, regardless of its importance

Arguments in support of a NO Position

  • Initiative petition by conservation groups at the possible expense of education interests
  • No direct financial effect on state or local expenditures, but politically encumbers 15% of lottery monies that the legislature might otherwise spend elsewhere.
  • During the 2007/2009 biennium, net proceeds were allocated as follows: Public Education (67%), Economic Development (17%) , Parks and Nature (15%), Problem Gambling Treatment (1%).
  • Frees up money that could be used for education (or other needs)
  • This is the political equivalent (and mistaken thinking) of mandatory sentencing—we need to let the legislature do its job

City of Portland

26-108  - Shall Portland provide public campaign financing to City candidates who meet qualifying requirements and are subject to additional regulatory oversight?   YES

The passage of Measure 26-108 will continue the process of "Voter Owned Elections" in City of Portland races.  Big money flows into campaigns and influences decision making at all levels.  The recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case allows for unfettered Corporate campaign contribution on a federal level, but we can do something about it on the local level.  The financing is capped at .02 % of the City budget, and the 3 cycles in which this has been in effect, that ceiling has not been reached.

Candidates may still file and run for office using traditional methods of financing, so choice would not be limited to potential candidates.

If voters do not own elections, who does?

26-117 -  Shall Portland issue bonds for 72,400,000 for fire vehicles, emergency radio system, fire and emergency response facilities; require audits?   YES

This bond money will help purchase additional fire apparatus, help build a new fire station and emergency response center, and help fund an updated, digital emergency radio system for first responders. The fire safety bond measure would cost 9 to 13 cents more per thousand dollars in assessed property value.  We consider this a good deal that enhances the safety infrastructure for Portlanders and our visitors.

Multnomah County

County Measures 26-109 through 26-114 were all forwarded directly to Multnomah County Voters by the County's Charter Review Committee (CRC) as recommended changes to the County's Charter, which serves much like a "constitution" for our County Government.  The CRC is a body of citizens that is convened every 6 years to review and recommend changes to the County Charter.  For more info on the County Charter, see:

26-109  Shall County Charter limit on voters’ right to elect a person to more than two four year terms be repealed?  YES

Term limit places an arbitrary barrier on good government, resting on chronological limitations rather than the effectiveness of a given elected representative.  The more appropriate arbiter of term limits is the voting electorate itself, which makes it's decision on Election Day.

26-110  Shall County elected officials be allowed to run for another elective office in midterm?   YES

The recent example in March, 2010 reveals the problem in the current Charter.  After the passing of Oregon State Treasurer Ben Westlund, Multnomah County Commission Chair Ted Wheeler was appointed as Treasurer. Sitting Dist. 2 Commissioner Jeff Cogan ran for the Chair's position and was elected in May.  Commissioner Cogan's term was expiring in District 2 so he was not affected by the current Charter.  However, had he been a midterm Commissioner, he would have had to resign his seat.  Similarly, if had one of the other 3 Commissioners currently at midterm (Commissioners Kafoury, McKeel and Shiprack) decided to challenge for the Chair's position, she would have had to resign her seat.

Simply put, the staggered term of service presents an unfair impediment to commissioners and to voters who would support them.  

26-111  Should the Salary Commission set Sheriff’s salary and District Attorney supplemental salary?   YES

This is essentially an administrative change that puts current practice into law.

26-112  Should ceasing to reside in the district cause a vacancy in the office of county commissioner?   YES

This change is consistent with State Law and is consistent with principle of representative democracy.

26-113 Shall election dates for vacancies be limited to the May and November elections?  YES

This is a logical and cost saving Measure.

26-114  Should the County Charter allow the Board of County Commissioners to form a county library district by voter approval?   YES

This dose not allocate funding, but allows the formation of Library Districts whereby funding for the County Library system could be stabilized.


The following Measure was forwarded to the voters from the County Commission:

26-118  Shall County support history library, museum, educational programs:  5-year levy, $.05 per $1000 assessed valuation, beginning 2011, with oversight?


This is a stop-gap measure to cover the state funding fall-off for the Oregon Historical Society.  The Museum is in Portland, and much of its contents are specific to Multnomah County.  The funding provided is of very minimal cost to Multnomah taxpayers, and sunsets after 5 years.  Multnomah County residents will also enjoy free admission to the Museum.

Metro Measure

 Shall TriMet issue $125 million bonds to improve transit services and access for elderly riders and people with disabilities?  YES

While we don't take lightly the burden of asking voters to approve 3 bond measures, improving the accessibility to public transit for elderly and disabled public transit users is important and necessary.

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