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Clackamas Community College explains bond in series of forums

As Clackamas County residents face a $130 million bond measure on May 17, Clackamas Community College is hosting three informational bond forums at each of its college campuses in April.

The bond measure, which was approved by the Clackamas Community College Board of Education last January, would update and renovate classrooms and college facilities and modernize equipment used in training students for jobs, if approved by voters.

The first forum will take place April 5 at the Wilsonville Campus, 29353 S.W. Town Center Loop E, and the second on April 7 at the college's Harmony Campus, 7738 S.E. Harmony Road, Milwaukie. The third forum will be held April 14 at the Oregon City Campus, 19600 Molalla Ave. All three forums will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. and will include informational displays, campus tours at Oregon City and Harmony, and an opportunity to discuss the bond with college staff.

According to the college's District 6 director, Jane Reid, who spoke in front of Estacada Chamber of Commerce members recently, Clackamas Community College has seen a 41 percent increase in enrollment over the past 10 years and served more than 38,000 students last year. Enrollment increases have been steep in college transfer courses and career technical education.

The estimated cost of the $130 million bond to homeowners in the district is an average of 21 cents per $1,000 assessed value over the life of the bond. For the average home in the college district, that amounts to about $40 a year.

'We are serving more and more students,' Reid said. 'This is so crucial for our community. Between a quarter to one-third of (Estacada) high school graduates have gone there. It has a huge impact on our community.'

Proceeds from the bond would be used to update and acquire instructional equipment and technology in classrooms, restore deteriorated college building and campus systems to extend their useful life, provide enlarged and additional classroom, lab and student support space to serve more students, and increase campus safety and security.

The bond would also allow for the acquisition of an existing facility at the Harmony Community Campus. Existing bond debt would be refinanced to save money.

'The impact is huge and the cost is small,' Reid said.

According to information Reid presented at the lunch meeting, it has been 11 years since the last bond request and studies have shown the college returns $5.80 for every dollar of taxpayer support.

More than 350 employers in the region use college instructors to train workers in their facilities or at the college. Trainings occur over a period of one day to 10 months and provide workers with specific, hands-on skills needed by those companies and technologies.

For additional information on the bond measure, contact Janet Paulson at 503-594-3162.