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Voters said no to MHCC's $125 million bond

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lynn Snodgrass views election results on her smart phone Tuesday as Mount Hood Community College President Debra Derr looks on. A proposed college bond measure was trailing in the polls with roughly 20 percent of votes counted. Voters turned down a $125 million bond to upgrade buildings at Mt. Hood Community College.

Early returns from Multnomah, Clackamas and Hood River counties showed the measure losing 24,517 (43 percent) to 31,903 (56 percent).

The college's last request, $58.8 million in 2006, was soundly defeated.

College supporters mounted a well-funded and sophisticated campaign to help garner support. But at a gathering Tuesday night at the Riverview Restaurant in Troutdale, the mood grew somber as the night wore on and results rolled in.

The biggest portion of the bond would have been used to build a Workforce and Applied Technology Center to house programs in automotive repair, welding and other skilled trades.

In scores of meetings with community groups and businesses, people told MHCC president Debra Derr and board members they wanted family-wage jobs and more highly trained workers. The new workforce center woud have provided that training.

The heavily used campus at Maywood Park would also have been replaced. The bond would have also bought safety and security upgrades for other buildings that serve 25,000 students.

Most of MHCC's main campus buildings were constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Facilities such as its aquatics center, theater and planetarium get a lot of use by the community.

The Maywood Park center, which houses vocational studies and other operations, is a former Catholic school built in the 1930's. The new Maywood Park campus would have been constructed across the street from the current building and the parking lot put on the old building's site.

Most of the rest of a $125 million bond was earmarked for safety and security upgrades.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Mount Hood Community College bond supporters gather at the Riverview Restaurant in Troutdale to await election results Tuesday night.