Library levy/bond history

1976-present

1976

First three-year serial levy to maintain library service is passed.

1981

Three-year serial levy to maintain library service. There were two library measures, the "A" and "B" ballots. The "A" ballot passed, but "B" failed, resulting in the loss of 30 full-time employees and the closure of two branch libraries (Lombard and Montavilla). Central Library went from six to five days of service, and one bookmobile was taken off the road.

1984

Three-year serial levy to maintain library service passes.

1987

Three-year serial levy to maintain and improve library service passes.

March 1990

Three-year serial levy passes. Hours of service are increased.

July 1990

Governance of the library system transfers from the Library Association of Portland to Multnomah County, ending 126 years of private control.

November 1990

Measure 5: Amends constitution: bars new or increased taxes without voter approval; limits total taxes for local government to $10 per $1,000 of real market value.

May 1993

Levy Measure 26-1: Three-year serial levy to continue library operations. Operating and staffing  Central Library, Gresham Regional Library and 13 branches; providing library services to children, adults and senior citizens with special needs. 
YES: 78% 

NO: 22% 

Bond Measure 26-3: General obligation bonds for Central and Midland libraries. 

YES: 70% 

NO: 30%

May 1996

Measure 26-41: Renew three-year serial levy to keep public libraries open. Levy renewal keeps Central Library and all branch libraries open, and provides these expanded services: More books and other library materials; replacement of outdated and damaged library materials; youth programs, including story hours for toddlers, homework help for students, and special reading programs with attention to kids in day care; special library programs for adults, senior citizens and technology, and other subjects. Greatly expanded hours at Central and branches, opened busiest branches on Mondays for the first time in 20 years.

YES: 69.73% 

NO: 26.61% 

Measure 26-44: General obligation bonds to repair library branches, improve access to computers, technology. Improve library branches; repair deteriorated branches including roofs, electrical and heating systems in libraries throughout the county. Renovate busiest branch libraries -- Hillsdale, St. Johns, Belmont, Hollywood. Upgrade library computer systems, provide public Internet access, improve student access to library resources during school hours. 

YES: 59.47% 

NO: 36.08%

May 1997

Measure 50 (rewrite of Measure 47 passed in November 1996): Amends constitution; Cuts the property tax rate based on a set formula and caps it at 3% growth each year; based on assessed value. Measure 5 limitations still apply. 

YES: 54.27% 

NO: 44.49%

November 1997

Measure 26-58: Five-year serial levy for public libraries (59.5 cents/$1,000). This is the first time a five-year rate-based levy was allowed. Also, this was the first library election under the new requirement that 50 percent of all registered voters must vote in order for the measure to pass. The measure renewed library operations, allowed libraries to provide services planned prior to passage of Measure 47. Helped operate Central Library and all library branches, increased money for books and other library materials. Opened all libraries more hours, with all library branches now open on Sundays. 

YES: 51.24% 

NO: 45.94%

May 2002

Measure 26-32: Five-year local option levy to continue library services (75.5 cents/$1,000). 47 percent voter turnout – LEVY DOES NOT PASS. Due to the 50 percent voter turnout now required, the library levy is not approved. Services funded would have included: Central Library and neighborhood libraries maintain current hours; Monday hours restored at Central Library and four other branch libraries; continued library services for young and school-age children -- story hours for babies and toddlers, homework help, summer reading and services for children in child care; continued special services for adults and seniors, such as help for job seekers and small business owners and home book delivery; libraries buy additional books, magazines and other materials. 

YES: 59% 

NO: 41%

November 2002

Measure 26-36: Five-year local option levy to continue library services (75.5 cents/$1,000). Identical levy to that voted on in May.

YES: 58% 

NO: 42%

November 2006

Measure 26-81: Renew five-year local option levy to continue library services (89 cents/$1,000). Continue programs for school-age children, story hours for babies and toddlers, summer reading, literacy services for children in child care, programs for teens; help teachers and students use library resources; maintain free access to information;  update books and materials; continue book delivery to homebound senior and nursing home residents; keep libraries open; maintain current hours and services at Central and neighborhood libraries; open planned libraries in underserved neighborhoods of East County and North Portland. 

YES: 61.85% 

NO: 38.15%

May 2012

Measure 26-125: Renew three-year local option levy to continue library services (89 cents/$1,000). Continue programs for school-age children, story hours for babies and toddlers, summer reading, literacy services for children in child care, programs for teens; help teachers and students use library resources; maintain free access to information; update books and materials; continue book delivery to homebound senior and nursing home residents; offer programs and resources for job seekers, small business owners, and English language learners; maintain at least six days per week of hours and services at Central and neighborhood libraries. 

YES: 84.53% 

NO: 15.47%

November 2012

Measure 26-143: Provides permanent and dedicated library funding up to $1.24 per $1000 of assessed value; restore and retain library services such as summer reading, books, student and jobseeker support, and outreach to senior citizens; prevent reductions in services, programs and activities, and hours. Library services are a matter of county concern and the District will have the powers granted to library districts and public libraries under state and local law. The formation of a District will ensure a dedicated long-term funding source for library services, allowing libraries to retain educational resources and programming. The Board of County Commissioners, sitting as the Library District Board, will serve as the governing board of the District to provide oversight and accountability. A Library Advisory Board will provide community input.

YES: 62.83%

NO: 37.17%