The ballot measure that would have raised property taxes to expand the Clatsop County Jail has failed.

But it likely won’t be the last time the county takes the funding levy to voters.

Measure 4-156 would have increased property taxes by 16.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value, raising $14 million over a 20-year period. It received 5,574 (no) votes (56 percent) to 4,379 (yes) votes (44 percent).

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin, who was a top proponent of the levy, said he was disappointed by the election result.

He said he wouldn’t rule out another try at a levy initiative during an election with higher voter turnout. The county, which hired a high-powered consulting firm to aid in its efforts and to design the project, had placed high hopes on a remodeled jail.

Top cheerleaders for the project, including Bergin and District Attorney Josh Marquis, said during the election that if the levy failed, it would likely be another 10 years before it appeared on a county ballot again.

Bergin and Marquis had pushed hard for the measure, arguing that the 64-bed jail facility had become overcrowded and too outdated to serve the county’s needs.

The jail would have been expanded by 100 beds and equipped with new space for drug and alcohol treatment. The existing probation office in Warrenton would have also been remodeled to add space for the sheriff’s office Criminal and Support Divisions.

“But the people have spoken,” Bergin said, “and we’ll look to do something else.”

He said he couldn’t fault the result, as “times are hard.”

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