Oregon voters say 'yes' to affordable housing, turn down other measures

Voters passed the affordable housing measure Tuesday night, but turned down measures on grocery taxes, sanctuary state law, abortion and raising revenue.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2018 9:08 PM
Updated: Nov. 6, 2018 9:22 PM

MEASURE 102 - Affordable Housing

Voters in Oregon passed Measure 102, allowing local governments to partner with nonprofits and private businesses for housing projects.

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The measure passed with 56 percent voting in favor and 44 percent voting against as of 9 p.m.

Under state law, local governments still need voters to approve individual projects.

KEZI 9 News spoke with the executive director of Cornerstone Community Housing, Darcy Phillips, leading up to the election.

She said she believes Lane County if facing a huge housing crisis and something needed to be done.

Phillips said six in 10 renters are “cost-burdened” in Lane County, which means they pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.

“A bond if we were able to pass that is a fair way of funding affordable housing,” Phillips said. “It’s not a tax purely on one sector or one industry. It would be across the board, and our community would step up and the dollars would stay local, which is really important.

Those who opposed the measure said they were worried about where the money would come from.

MEASURE 103 - Grocery Tax Ban

Oregon voters declined to pass the grocery tax ban measure in the November election.

As of 9 p.m. 58 percent of people have voted “no” on Measure 103, and 42 percent of people voted for it.

Opponents of the measure said it was unnecessary because there is no existing sales tax, a fact which caused confusion among voters leading up to Election Day.

Springfield Chamber of Commerce CEO Vonnie Mikkelsen said there have been multiple attempts to introduce a sales tax on groceries, and said he thought it was time for voters to say no to a sales tax.

However, President of the League of Women Voters of Lane County Lynda Lynch said a sales tax on food is unlikely to be proposed.

The Democratic Party of Oregon and Nike were among the groups who opposed the measure.

Those in favor of the measure were funded by major grocery chains including Costco, Albertsons and Safeway.

MEASURE 104 - Raising Revenue

Measure 104 failed to pass on Tuesday. The measure would have required a three-fifths legislative majority for any bill that raises revenue.

The measure failed with 66 percent of people voting against and 34% voting for as of 9 p.m.

Currently, bills that levy or increase taxes require the majority. If the measure had passed, bills that involve fees and changes to tax exemptions, deductions and credits would have also required the majority.

After Tuesday’s vote, “raising revenue” will remain undefined in the state constitution.

Opponents of the measure said it would create an unnecessary gridlock and could prevent social programs from being funded if tax increases couldn’t be implemented.

Carol Van Houten, a member of Community Alliance Lane County, said people should trust the government to make wise decisions with money.

Supporters of the measure said if it passed it would prevent legislators from creating loopholes to raise taxes that end up hurting businesses.

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President Janet Steele said the measure would have created a healthy discussion in the Legislature for revenue raising bills.

Nike, AARP and numerous social rights organizations opposed the measure.

The Albany, Springfield and Roseburg chambers of commerce supported the measure, along with other farming and business organizations.

MEASURE 105 - Sanctuary State

A majority of voters said ‘no’ to Measure 105, keeping Oregon’s sanctuary state law intact.

The measure failed with 63 percent turning it down and 37% voting in favor.

Measure 105 sought to repeal the law, which was passed in 1987.

Opponents of the measure said it would have caused fear in minority communities.

“Undocumented immigrants have been part of the fabric of Oregon,” said Joel Iboa, a coordinator for the No on Measure 105 campaign. “They are a backbone of our local community.

Opponents were funded by the ACLU of Oregon and the National Immigration Law Center.

Those in support of the measure said it would allow American citizens to come first.

“We’re a nation of laws,” said Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform. “We’re also a nation that has a immigration police and the policy is, you’re not supposed to come into this country illegally.”

The Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law Committee raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the measure.

During the gubernatorial campaign, Republican challenger Knute Buehler said he would vote to repeal the law and Incumbent Gov. Kate Brown said she supports the sanctuary state law.

Oregon was the first sanctuary state in the nation.

MEASURE 106 - Abortion Funding

Public money will continue to be used to fund abortions in Oregon after voters turned down Measure 106.

The measure sought to put an end to that source of funding for abortions.

As of 9 p.m. 65 percent of people voted against the measure, with 35 percent voting in favor of it.

Opponents of the measure said that every woman in the state should be able to decide when to become a parent, regardless of their income or how they are insured.

Chelsea Jennings, the statewide field director for the No on 106 campaign, who also works for Planned Parenthood, said if it passed, it would have disproportionately affected low-income women already struggling to make ends meet.

She said they live paycheck to paycheck and an unexpected expense is a hardship.

Proponents of Measure 106 said it would take away the state’s involvement in a very personal, divisive subject.

Leading up to the election, Cindy Brunk, a pro-life advocate and author, said anyone who believes that life begins at conception would be “unaware” or “amiss” to not vote yes.

According to the state, Oregon spends $2.9 million a year on abortions.

If the measure would have passed, the state estimated spending would have gone up because of a projected increase in births and the cost of corresponding health care

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