CAPTION: Renew Five-Year Local Option Levy for County Library Services

QUESTION: Shall Multnomah County continue library services with levy of 75.5 cents per $1000 assessed value for five years beginning 2003?

This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.

SUMMARY: The library levy approved by voters in 1997 expires June 2003. It provides about half the library’s funds. If not renewed, library service will be greatly reduced. Libraries will be open fewer hours and buy fewer books.

At the May 2002 election, 58.99% of voters approved renewal of the Library levy. It could not take effect because of inadequate turnout. That five-year levy would have begun July 2002. This levy begins July 2003.

The Library levy will:

  • Keep Central and neighborhood libraries open;
  • Restore Monday hours at Central and four busiest libraries;
  • Continue services for young and school-age children, story hours for babies and toddlers, homework help;
  • Continue services for seniors, job seekers, small businesses, delivery to homebound;
  • Buy library books, magazines and other materials.

The levy raises approximately $26.7 million in 2003-04, $27.8 million in 2004-05, $29.0 million in 2005-2006, $30.3 million in 2006-2007, and $31.7 million in 2007-2008.

This new levy replaces the current Library levy. An average value single-family residence will pay $7.93 monthly.

The estimated tax cost for this measure is an ESTIMATE ONLY based on the best information available from the county assessor at the time of estimate.


Continue Existing Multnomah County Library Services

On May 21, 2002, about 59% of those voting approved the renewal of the Multnomah County Library levy for five fiscal years commencing July 1, 2002. The measure could not take effect because less than 50% of those registered to vote cast ballots in that election.

Measure 26-36, will replace the current library levy that expires next year. Its cost will be 75.5 cents per $1,000 assessed value per year. This replaces the charge for the current Library levy. According to the County Assessment and Taxation, the average single family home would pay about $7.93 per month for this levy.


Measure 26-36 will fund continued library services at Multnomah County libraries including Central Library and:

Albina Library
Belmont Library
Capitol Hill Library
Fairview/Columbia Library
Gregory Heights Library
Gresham Library
Hillsdale Library
Holgate Library Hollywood Library
Midland Library
North Portland Library
Northwest Library
Rockwood Library
Sellwood-Moreland Library
St. Johns Library
Woodstock Library

Library Services Expected to be Renewed and Restored, include:

  • Multnomah County libraries open six days a week for an average of 53-58 hours each;
  • Monday hours restored at Central Library and the four busiest branches;
  • Central Library and neighborhood libraries open Sunday afternoons;
  • 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;
  • Library services for jobseekers, small business owners, those speaking English as a Second Language;
  • Buying more new books, magazines, and other library materials.

How Are Libraries Used?

  • An average of 24 books are checked out every year, for every man, woman and child in the County;
  • More than 34,000 children participate in the Library's Summer Reading Program;
  • More than 52,000 people attend library events for children and teens each year;
  • Special library programs with schools reach nearly 75,000 students and teachers each year;
  • Librarians and other staff provide personal help an average of 93,000 times each week - answering questions, reading stories, checking out books, and more;
  • People turn to the library in person, by phone or e-mail hundreds of times each day for help finding information they need;
  • Each day more than 6,500 people visit Central and neighborhood libraries.


The library gets about half its funding from the current voter-approved levy. If the library levy is not renewed, library services will be greatly reduced. Libraries will be open fewer days, some neighborhood libraries may close, and fewer books will be purchased.

Submitted by:

Multnomah Board of
County Commissioners

Measure 26-36 | Multnomah County

Didn’t we just vote on this?

If Measure 26-36 looks familiar, it should. In May, this same measure was approved by 59% of Multnomah County voters. But because of the “double majority” rule, our vote did not take effect: less than half of eligible voters returned their ballots.

That is why we must vote again. The good news is that while the election has changed, the measure that 59% of us approved hasn’t.

Our Library: Still a great value

The good reasons that we voted Yes on the Library Levy in May are still true:

  • It will keep our libraries open, and restore Monday hours at Central and the four busiest branches.
  • It will continue services for kids, families and seniors.
  • It will buy more books.
  • And it will allow our libraries to remain available for all – for learning, for gathering and for making our neighborhoods safe and attractive places to live, work and grow.

Remember: this measure continues current library services, which provides over half of funding for our libraries.

In good times, and especially in uncertain times, our libraries are essential. Let’s keep them open.


(This information furnished by Liz Kaufman, Libraries Yes!)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County


As teachers, we help children learn, grow and become successful adults. And one of the most important tools we have is the public library.

Today, the libraries’ role in helping our schools do their job has never been more critical. That’s why we hope you will join us in voting yes to continue Multnomah County’s Library Levy – Measure 26-36.

Even before the first time a child arrives at school, libraries help. Thousands of pre-school children participate in reading programs, story times and other gateways into books and learning. They get to school better prepared and ready to learn. That is one of the biggest predictors of success, and helps ease one of schools’ greatest burdens.

During their school careers, libraries provide even more. Homework help, access to books, references and information all day and into the evening mean learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. And the library is a constructive, safe place where a young person can always get help, or get their questions answered – every day, in every part of our community.

Our schools face great challenges: they are short of money and materials. And school libraries have been particularly hard hit. It is our public libraries that have stepped into that breach – becoming an indispensable partner to our public schools.

But that will only continue if we continue the library levy. Passing Measure 26-36 will allow the library to keep helping our schools and our students. It will keep educating and encouraging the next generation to be productive citizens. And that is something we all have a stake in.

Schools and kids need libraries.


Dawn Martin
Middle School Teacher, Portland Public Schools

Dan Pierce, teacher, former school librarian
Reynolds School District

(This information furnished by Dawn Martin, Libraries Yes!)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County

Let Libraries continue to Serve Our Senior Citizens

Our Multnomah County Public Library is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. We can’t quite match that – we’re only in our 70’s and 80’s. But we’ve been around long enough to know how essential libraries are to our community, and that supporting them is one of the best values we have.

That’s especially true for older residents of Multnomah County.

Of course, seniors care about libraries because they’re the gateway to learning. They offer constructive activities for young people, helping their schooling and keeping them out of trouble.

But libraries specifically serve senior citizens in several important ways:

  • Elder citizens use the library daily, for information, to see people and neighbors and, sometimes, just to see a friendly face or be steered in the right direction.
  • Programs like Cyber-Seniors offer help for seniors who want to learn how to use computers – opening an entire new world. (Many seniors use library computers to keep in touch with grandchildren and friends, make travel plans and check on doctors and medication!)
  • Libraries reach out to nursing homes, those who are homebound and those who face physical challenges.

And here is one more thing we hope everyone understands: Measure 26-36 is not a “new tax”. It simply continues the library levy and library services we approved a few years ago. In fact, we like the idea that we have a chance to say ‘yes’ to our libraries occasionally.

But it is important to know that the library gets more than half of its day-to-day funding from our voter approval of this levy. If it fails, all of us – seniors in particular – will lose a lot.

Our library is always there for everybody, no matter his or her circumstances. In these uncertain times, that’s a real necessity – and something worth protecting.


Lloyd Culbertson, Gresham
Dorothy Hirsch, Portland

(This information furnished by Dorothy D. Hirsch, Libraries Yes!)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County

Gresham, East Multnomah County and Measure 26-36

The Library Levy is especially important for our neighborhoods!

Measure 26-36 will maintain library services at every library throughout Multnomah County. And East Portland, Gresham and the eastern end of Multnomah County have a particularly large stake in continuing the Library Levy.

The levy provides about half of the money it takes to keep our libraries working. If it doesn’t pass, there will have to be serious cuts. And many of those cuts will be in hard won services to our East County communities.

In 2001, Multnomah County Library opened the first new library in 29 years at Fairview/Columbia. Residents of the community have made it a very busy library—delighted to have a public meeting space, computer access, story times, and all of the other services the library has to offer to families, seniors and children.

Other libraries serving East Multnomah County are Gresham, Midland and Rockwood. Each library offers special programs to their communities – from Career Development, to International Outreach to non-native speakers, Libros and Dia de los Ninos. As East Multnomah County has a significant Spanish speaking population, Multnomah County has bilingual staff at Gresham, Fairview/Columbia and Rockwood to assist with young children, and elementary, middle and high school students and their families.

More East County Library programs that a ‘Yes’ vote on Measure 26-36 will protect:
Preschool, toddler, K-5 and family story times

Tiny Tots
Homework Helpers
Book discussion groups
Computer assistance classes and labs
Cyber Sundays (free one on one help for families to learn about computers)
Home schooling classes
Public meeting space
Old time music show
Book Babies
Math classes
Musical events
Classes on reading to your baby
Lectures for adults and children


Terry McCall, Library Board chair and resident, City of Gresham; Diane McKeel, Gresham resident; Sgt David Hadley, Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

(This information furnished by David L. Hadley, Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff's Association)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County


Dear Voter,

My name is Page Beukelman. I’m 11 years old, and in the 5th grade. I’m not old enough to vote on keeping our libraries open, but I really care about it. That’s why I wanted to tell people who can vote why the library is important to me.

I have been going to the library for as long as I can remember, way before I started going to school. Mostly, I go to the Hollywood library to get books, CDs, videos and books on tape. My favorite thing was going to story time with my mom. It made a big difference for me, because the library helped me learn to read even before I got to Kindergarten. I had a great start to school.

The library is still important to me. I go there all the time with my family. It helps with my homework, and it’s just good to have it in the neighborhood. I also like that it is open after school and on weekends, which is when I can really use it.

My mom told me that this vote on the library will decide if it can stay open the same times, buy more books and keep things like story times and homework help going. It’s really important for kids like me. But there are always a lot of grownups there too.

Please vote to keep the library open!


Page Beukelman

(This information furnished by Jill Spitznass for Page Beukelman)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County


Working with Parents to Protect Children

My name is Lisa Regimbal and I am an librarian at the Gresham Library. I’m the mother of two small children. For me, helping kids is the best part of the job. It’s important that kids have a safe and healthy experience while they are at the library. The library is a great place for them to learn and grow. There is no better value than our libraries.

That is why:

  • Library staff and volunteers work closely with parents to make sure they know how the library works, and what’s available. When it comes to kids, we believe parents should be in charge.
  • All children’s computers open to a “Kids Page” that helps guide them to age-appropriate materials.
  • Most of all, we keep our eyes and our ears open, and library staff work closely with kids to make sure they are finding what they need.

There is a lot of talk about the internet and “filtering” the library’s computers. The problem is that filters don’t work. Filters also block legitimate information. For example, one of these “filters” even blocks the library’s own homework help center!

The reality is that our libraries have almost no complaints about kids viewing inappropriate materials. By working with families, we are able to make sure our kids are getting the information they need at the library, with the supervision that keeps them safe and healthy. This approach is working well for kids and for parents.

Nobody at the library wants children to be exposed to inappropriate materials.

And the library works hard to keep that from happening.

(This information furnished by Lisa Regimbal)

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 26-36 | Multnomah County


Would you pay to have a porn shop open in your community? Multnomah County Library system provides Internet pornography to anyone at any age through its unfiltered Internet computers, and it uses your tax dollars to do it! Now, with Measure 26-36, it is asking for a levy to draw more than $125 million from Multnomah County residents.

The Multnomah County libraries sued our federal government (which used our tax dollars to defend) to overturn the Child Internet Protection Act of 2000. This law would have required all libraries that receive federal money for Internet services to use XXX porn filters on their computers. Now, Multnomah County libraries can continue to receive federal money AND provide XXX pornography via their computers!

There are 2,037 registered sex offenders in Multnomah County. Should the library provide free XXX porn (which includes child pornography) to them and encourage the creation of more – all at taxpayer expense?

Multnomah County’s library system is one of the wealthiest of its size in the United States. The amount of money it spends on books and other materials has nearly doubled since voters approved a $113.3 million levy in 1997. Using the same cities the library uses for comparisons, The Oregonian found that Multnomah County spends more money on books than five out of the six systems of comparable size. Per person, the county spends double the money that two of the systems spend on books. And now the library system wants a $145.5 million budget!

In 1997, the Multnomah County libraries admitted sending out an erroneous fundraising letter (see The Oregonian, May 24, 1999), which provided outdated information in order to elicit sympathy for a raise in their budget.

So, you see, the Multnomah County libraries do not need more of the taxpayer’s money. And the Multnomah County libraries need to hear this message – no more government-funded Internet pornography!

Vote NO on Measure 26-36.

Suzanne Brownlow
Concerned Women for America of Oregon

(This information furnished by Suzanne Brownlow, Concerned Women for America of Oregon)

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.