I write to urge voters to vote yes on the Clatsop Community College bond measure. This is a double majority election for money measures that requires the measure to win the popular vote and that a majority of registered voters cast a ballot. There just isn't any excuse to not vote in this or any Oregon election. To do otherwise shirks civic responsibility.
As I watch the community debate the college's future, I have wondered about the absence of those voices that spoke up over 50 years ago to create Oregon's first community college. While I did not live here then, I suspect that a number of interested and well-informed citizens spoke frequently about the economic, cultural and social benefits of the college; how it would enhance the education and livelihood of local citizens; how it would give the community a public facility for which it could be proud; and, how it might help improve the local economic climate.
Today, instead of hearing many of those voices, we hear accusations that the college board and administration have mismanaged the process to bring a new and improved campus to fruition; we've heard the board and administration criticized for their efforts to inform the community about dire college needs. We hear complaints about the location of a new campus; the board and administration respond with a valid survey that suggests one specific rural location and an ad hoc group suggests that remodeling the old, tired campus should be done instead.
Enough already. I don't want my tax dollars wasted on remodeling an old, cramped set of buildings that have been marginally suitable for a college learning environment, and I suspect that many others feel the same. The college has heard pretty clearly that a new campus is what many in the area want and need, and has responded with innovative plans to finance and build that new campus. This is an opportunity to build a $60 million campus for an investment of only $22 million in local tax monies.
Property owners would pay 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. For property valued at $200,000, the cost would be an extra $66 per year for whatever period the bonds will be financed by the college. Put another way, for the price of one inexpensive meal or a couple of lattes ($5.50) per month, we'll get a new college campus.
My life has benefited from undergraduate and graduate degrees from a public Oregon university; I've attended classes at CCC, and four other Oregon community colleges, and have taught courses at the community college and university levels. I believe in life-long learning, and I'm ready to do my part to help others benefit from a college with contemporary facilities, easy access and up to date technology.
Other funds to help build the new campus may not be available much longer, so let's not be shortsighted at this election. Voters in a local city recently frittered away over $40 million for much needed highway improvements, and they're already seeing huge property developments that will soon strangle an already congested highway.
We have a great opportunity right now for our college. More taxes? Sure, but at a small price to pay for what we'll receive. Please vote, and vote "ye"s for the college, for the future.