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Beaverton City Council adopts tax measure language

Language explains city tax requests for public safety building, recreational pot

A measure that will ask Beaverton residents to pay up to $35 million to build an earthquake-resistant public safety building took this week another big step toward a local vote.

So did a separate measure that would tax recreational marijuana products sold in the city.

The Beaverton City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved explanatory language for both measures that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, with Council member Betty Bode absent. In June, the Council authorized sending both measures to voters this fall.

The public safety measure will ask voters to approve issuing bonds that will be repaid by taxing property at a rate of about 20 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or about $50 per year on a home assessed at $250,000.

City officials plan to build the new structure, which would house the city’s police and emergency operations departments, at a site currently occupied by the Beaverton Activity Center at the intersection of Allen and Hall boulevards near the center of the city. Longtime residents will remember the site as home to the former city library.

If voters approve the public safety center funding, the nonprofit and community groups that currently use the Beaverton Activity Center would be relocated elsewhere in the city. Several public facilities may have space, but the specific sites have not been chosen.

Meanwhile, the city’s municipal court will remain in the former City Hall building on Southwest Griffith Drive, an office park building that also currently houses the police department. That city-owned structure is not built to survive a massive earthquake of the magnitude many scientists believe eventually will strike the Pacific Northwest.

The Council also finalized language for city voters to decide in November whether to approve a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana products in Beaverton. Although elected officials earlier approved a 10 percent tax on such sales, more recently drafted state law limits cities to enact local taxes of up to 3 percent.

Officials have loosely estimated that the tax could generate about $86,000 for the city's general fund, which could help cover expenses such as additional training, equipment and enforcement that officials expect to need as a result of the recreational marijuana legalization that voters passed in 2014.