FIVE-YEAR LOCAL OPTION LEVY FOR INCREASED POLICE SERVICES

QUESTION: Shall Gresham impose $0.97 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for five years beginning in 2009-2010 for increased police services? This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.

SUMMARY: Revenue generated from this levy would fund increased police services in Gresham . Levy funds would allow the City to hire 36 additional sworn police positions and 12 non-sworn police personnel. Levy funds would be used to target gangs, drugs, property crimes (including burglary and theft), family crimes (including child and elder abuse, domestic violence, and sex offenses), and provide an overall increased police presence in the community through increased patrol and traffic enforcement.

The funds generated by the levy would provide dedicated funding to add 36 trained and fully-equipped officers to the current police force. Levy revenue would be placed in a special revenue fund for the specific purpose of providing increased police services.

Approval of this local option levy would allow the City to provide increased police services for Gresham residents. The proposed rate will generate approximately $5,950,000 in 2009-2010; $6,171,000 in 2010-2011; $6,397,000 in 2011-2012; $6,566,000 in 2012-2013; and $6,725,000 in 2013-2014, for a total of $31,809,000.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Funding from this levy would be solely focused on increasing police services in Gresham . In 2007 Gresham experienced an overall per capita increase in reported crime. Compared to 2006 crime rates, motor vehicle theft rose by 20.3%, drug crime increased 16.5%, driving under the influence of intoxicants offenses increased by 9.8%, and traffic crimes increased 13.4%. In addition, the East Metro Gang Enforcement Team has identified 125 known gangs that exist within Gresham .

At any given time, Gresham has between 7 and 12 officers on the street, in order to provide 24 hour police coverage in Gresham 's 23.43 square miles.

Police departments often measure their forces in the number officers they employ per thousand residents. Gresham 's police staffing ratio is 1.27 officers for every 1,000 residents. Gresham has fewer officers per 1,000 residents than most jurisdictions in the metro area. The City of Portland has 1.78 officers per 1,000 residents, the City of Beaverton has 1.50 officers per 1,000 residents, the City of Troutdale has 1.49 officers per 1,000 residents, and the City of Hillsboro has 1.38 officers per 1,000 residents. Lake Oswego (1.18 officers per 1,000 residents) and West Linn (1.24 officers per 1,000 residents) have fewer officers per 1,000 residents than Gresham .

Revenue from the levy would be used to increase police services in specific areas. Levy funds would be used to combat gang and drug activity, property crimes (including burglary and theft), family crimes (including child and elder abuse, domestic violence, and sex offenses), and provide an overall increased police presence in the community through increased patrol and traffic enforcement.

Funding from the levy would be solely dedicated only to costs associated with police services (salary and benefits for police officers, as well as operating expenses and capital costs associated with providing police services). The levy would fund an additional 36 sworn police positions and 12 non-sworn police personnel to provide department-wide support and assist with gang, drug and crime prevention efforts.

Passage of this measure would increase property taxes an additional $0.97 cents per $1000 assessed property value. The median taxable assessed value of a home in Gresham is $142,910, which represents a real market value of roughly $275,000. The median Gresham homeowner would pay $11.55 per month, or $138.60 per year.

Citizens were involved in the decision to place this measure on the ballot. The City held a community Public Safety Summit in March of 2007 to analyze crime and law enforcement issues in Gresham . Out of that summit the City launched a 34 member Public Safety Task Force, which conducted meetings over the course of seven months, analyzed the City's law enforcement issues, and recommended that the City propose a property tax levy to hire additional police officers.

Submitted by:

Eric Chambers
Assistant to the Mayor
City of Gresham


No argument AGAINST this measure were filed.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Dear Gresham Neighbors:

We, the Citizens for a Safer Gresham, strongly urge you to vote yes on Gresham Police Measure 26-98, which would bring 36 more vitally needed police officers to our streets and neighborhoods.

Our group formed because of our shared concern over the crime issues we have seen increase in Gresham in recent years. We value our city and are simply not willing to let criminals run away with our livability.

With per capita crime on the increase in Gresham last year, the safety of our children, families, and property is at an ever growing risk. Passing this levy would help us gain ground on the issues that alarm us most: gangs, drugs, domestic violence, elder abuse, sex offenses, property theft, violence, and homicide.

This levy will cost money. A safer community does not come free. However, not making the sacrifice now to bring more officers to Gresham will lead to more crime, and more crime will lower property values across Gresham . Put simply, we cannot afford to vote against this measure.

Please join us in voting “yes” for the future of our city. Together, we can help deliver a safer Gresham .

Sincerely,
Citizens for a Safer Gresham
Dwight Unti, Chair
Cory Williamson, Co-Chair
Joan Albertson, Treasurer
www.safergresham.org

Measure endorsed by:
Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce
Judy Han, Sunny Han's Wok & Deli
Gresham Downtown Development Association
Historic Downtown Gresham Business Association
Carla Piluso
Brian Lessler, Persimmon Development Group
John Lim
Greg Matthews, Fire Fighter
Dina DiNucci, President Rockwood Business Coalition
Tokola Properties
Eric D. Stubblefield
Jenni Simonis
Dave Kim
Oregon Web Team
Kohler, Meyers, O'Halloran, Inc
Sue Piazza
Vona Cline, Accents of Elegance
David R. Jothen, Business Owner
Bob Skipper , Multnomah Co. Sheriff
Multnomah Co. Democratic Party
Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson
Diane McKeel, Candidate, Mult. Co. Comm., Dist. #4
John Nelson, Candidate House Dist. 49

(This information furnished by Dwight Unti, Citizens For A Safer Gresham)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Dear Gresham Residents:

It is no secret that the safety of our city has been my top priority as Mayor, and has been the top priority of your City Council. With fewer police officers per capita than most cities in the region, and with as few as seven officers on the streets at any given time to patrol all of Gresham's 23 square miles, the need for more police officers is clear.

While we love the small town feel that Gresham offers, we have also been forced to come to terms with the big city crime that has started calling our city home. Gang and drug activity, shootings, and violent crime have all started threatening the fabric of our community.

Your support for this police levy would result in an additional 36 officers, all devoted to the police services you value most: combating gangs and drugs, fighting against burglary and theft, preventing family crimes like child and elder abuse, domestic violence, and sex offenses, and providing an increased police presence in our neighborhoods.

Levy funds will be placed in a Special Revenue Fund, which will only be used to provide increased police services. To ensure that the money stays where we intend it to go, funding will never be commingled with other city funds. In addition, a citizen oversight group will be appointed to provide further accountability.

With 125 known gangs in Gresham , and with increasing crime threatening the value of our property, we cannot afford to continue on without more police officers. Your support for this measure will help us defend our strong community identity and send a clear message to the thugs and criminals who threaten it: The citizens of Gresham are willing to do what it takes to keep our city safe.

Sincerely,

Shane T. Bemis

Mayor

Measure endorsed by the entire City Council: Paul Warr-King, David Widmark, Shirley Craddick, Carol Nielsen-Hood, Dick Strathern, and Mike Bennett.

(This information furnished by Mayor Shane Bemis)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Gresham continues to experience increasingly serious and expanding crime levels at an alarming rate in both high and medium density neighborhoods. Without a corresponding increase in police presence this trend cannot be decreased. We need more police officers out of cruisers on the street into these neighborhoods. Only Measure 26-95 will provide the necessary resources for making our streets safe.

Richard Strathern, Gresham City Council

Paul Warr-King, Gresham City Councilor
“It is imperative that we use every opportunity to change our image as a crime infested community in order to attract economic activity that will generate living wage jobs”

David Widmark, Gresham City Councilor
“I'm voting YES for the Gresham Public Safety Levy, it's the best GIFT I can give my family and the citizens of Gresham for a safer tomorrow.”

Gresham is growing which is evident by the fact that we are now the fourth largest city in the state with a population of 100,000 and that presents new challenges. Perhaps the single greatest challenge is maintaining a safe and vibrant community for our children, ourselves and our local businesses.

Recent statistics indicate that crime in Gresham is on the increase at what some might classify an alarming rate yet we have one of the lowest per-capita sworn officer ratios in the state. The low ratio is not by choice but various property tax limitations and the need to maintain other vital City services has seriously limited Gresham 's ability to build the Public Safety force necessary to combat the ever increasing infiltration of crime, gangs and the thugs that threaten the safety and very fabric of this community.

We all need to remember that a safe and vibrant community promotes business activity, job creation and community activities that benefit everyone in the community and that is why I encourage everyone to support the Public Safety Levee.

Mike Bennett
Gresham City Councilor

(This information furnished by Mayor Shane Bemis)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

When I was mayor, gangs and drugs were just beginning to be a problem. Now they drive Gresham 's increasing assault and robbery cases, and other crimes against people. Our police force is stretched thin and the days of cops on the street doing community policing are no more. Why can't the City just hire more police officers? We taxpayers have had a break because of blunders by the City: missing a deadline to report newly annexed areas to Multnomah County and getting involved too late in the State re-write of Measure 50. So instead of thinking the Public Safety measure means new taxes, how about we're really playing catch up.

Even if you live in a low crime neighborhood, your property values will suffer if Gresham gets a reputation of being unsafe. Companies will question bringing new jobs to an unsafe community. Do we really want to be a smaller version of Detroit , Michigan with companies abandoning the city? If the support staff in the levy concerns you, ask yourself this question: Do you want cops off the streets writing crime reports, or dictating them to support staff and staying on patrol? Go on a ride-along and see for yourself which would best serve the citizens of Gresham . Measure 26-98 is not about Republicans or Democrats. It is something we can all come together and support. Please vote Yes for more cops on Gresham streets.

This information furnished by Gussie McRobert, Gresham Mayor, 1989-1999

(This information furnished by Gussie McRobert)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

September 5, 2008

Dear Gresham Voters:

As your District Attorney I am asking you to vote yes on Measure 26-98 on the November 4th Ballot. Measure 26-98 is a police levy to hire 36 more police officers in Gresham . Never before has there been such a need to put more officers on our streets to restore the livability and safety that we must have in our community. Gresham has gone from seeing mostly “small town” infractions to a place where we are now regularly prosecuting high level gang cases, drug crimes, and homicides.

In the last year alone drug crimes increased 16.5%, motor vehicle theft rose over 20%, and drunk and impaired driving offenses rose nearly 10%. A fair portion of this criminal activity is directly related to the many gangs that call Gresham home.

Your yes vote on this measure, and the 36 police officers who come with it, will send a resounding message to all criminals that Gresham is no longer a place for them to do business. Please join with me in supporting a measure that will help restore the livability of our community.

Very truly yours,

MICHAEL D. SCHRUNK
District Attorney
Multnomah County

(This information furnished by Michael D. Schrunk, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


Measure No. 26-98 | City of Gresham
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Citizens, Business Owners and Property Owners of Gresham ,

On behalf of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center , I encourage you to vote “yes” on the Gresham Public Safety Levy Measure 26-98 to respond the level of crime taking place in our city. Recently, our city has experienced several shootings, a brash, mid-day jewelry store robbery and crime statistics that show an increase in motor vehicle theft and drug crimes. Activities of this sort have been well documented in recent years and threaten to drown out the positive developments taking placing in the City of Gresham .

Over the summer, two milestones mark positive economic and community development: the ground breaking of Gradin Youth Park and the Center for the Arts Plaza . Soon our families will enjoy spending time with each other at the sports park and arts plaza. These amenities will bring more visitors to the city to attend a wide variety of recreation and arts events. They will enjoy shopping in our stores, dining in our restaurants and coffee shops, and an array of personal services offered by the local business community.

To convert these new amenities into long-term economic successes, our community should establish public safety as the most important element of livability in our city. A vote in support of the Gresham Public Safety Levy is a vote for a safer community and a higher quality of livability for our citizens and visitors.

Please vote for your community by voting “yes” on the Gresham Public Safety Levy Measure 26-98.

Sincerely,

Robert Brown, President
Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce
701 NE Hood St .
Gresham , Oregon 97030

(This information furnished by Robert Brown, President, Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.