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Clackamas County Voters Give Thumbs Down To Sellwood Bridge Fee

Clackamas County voters were in no mood to support new taxes in Tuesday’s election. 

Sixty-three percent of voters rejected a $5 annual vehicle registration fee.  That money would have helped to replace the Sellwood Bridge in southwest Portland. 

Dan Holladay was one of the chief petitioners that put the fee to voters.  He told OPB’s Think Out Loud that this result tells officials each county is responsible for its own transportation projects.

Dan Holladay:  “We take care of our roads, we take care of our bridges and people from Multnomah County use them.  And Multnomah County should take care of their roads and their bridges, and we use them.  That’s how the state works.”

Chris Edmonds headed the campaign in support of the fee.  He said low turnout in the special election meant that a minority of Clackamas County voters made this decision.  But, he said the money to fix the bridge will have to be found somewhere. 

Chris Edmonds: “So, it is disappointing in a county that’s divided by a river that voters here wouldn’t understand the importance of having those safe river crossings.  But I don’t think the fight is over at all.”

Clackamas County has committed to paying $22 million toward replacing the Sellwood bridge.

Other tax measures in the county suffered a similar fate.  Nearly two-thirds of voters rejected a $130 million bond issue to modernize and expand facilities at Clackamas Community College. 

And a property tax levy to restore two weeks of school in the Oregon City district for the next three years also failed by a margin of 65 to 35 percent.

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