Balloting sees strong push for enhancing regions green space

A levy to maintain Metro natural lands was passing in early returns in the special election Tuesday evening.

Thanks to strong support in populous Multnomah County, the vote on Ballot Measure 26-152 was leading late Tuesday by 54 percent to 46 percent.

The measure was designed to raise about $50 million over five years to maintain roughly 16,000 acres of natural lands and parks owned by Metro.

The passage would be a continuation of previous votes to acquire most of the lands.

In 1995, voters in the region approved Ballot Measure 26-26 by 63 to 36 percent. It passed in all three counties. The vote the vote in Washington County was 58 percent yes and 42 percent no. The vote in Multnomah County was 67 percent yes and 33 percent no. And the vote in Clackamas County was 60 percent yes and 40 percent no.

In 2006, voters in the region approved Ballot Measure 26-80 by 59 to 41 percent. It also passed in all three counties. In Washington County, the vote was 55 percent yes and 46 percent no. In Multnomah County, the vote was 64 percent yes and 36 percent no. And in Clackamas County, the vote was 53 percent yes and 47 percent no.

As of election day May 21, two campaign committees in support of Ballot Measure 26-152 had raised more than $311,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. Restore Our Natural Lands reported raising more than $270,000. A separate committee funded primarily by the Boston-based Conservation Campaign had raised more than $61,000.

Opposition to Ballot Measure 26-152 was scarce. No statements opposing the measure were purchased in the Voter's Pamphlet. A number of mayors in the region asked Metro Council to delay the measure, but they put it on the ballot anyway.

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