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Voters approve levy to fund Multnomah County history groups

TRIBUNE PHOTO: NICK BUDNICK - Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk celebrated Tuesday evening's levy victory with supporters at the museum in Portland.Multnomah County voters are overwhelmingly renewing a five-year property tax levy to support the Oregon Historical Society and four other history groups in the county.

Measure 26-174 garnered 69 percent of the vote in early returns.

“We are lucky to live in a state that places such high value on the preservation of its history,” Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, said in a press release issued shortly after 8:30 p.m. “With this levy, the Oregon Historical Society will continue to serve as the most comprehensive place to learn about our state and county’s rich past and the diverse communities throughout Oregon who have shaped our unique history. We are thankful to the voters and to the Multnomah County Commissioners who responded to the request of county citizens to place this renewal on the ballot.”

The measure will generateabout $2.5 million next year to support the society's downtown museum, library and other educational programs, as well as the Gresham Historical Society and museum, the Troutdale Historical Society, the East County Historical Organization and the Crown Point Country Historical Society. That figure was estimated to grow to $3.1 million by the levy's final year.

The state historical society, which also serves as the county's official historical socieity, uses some of the levy funds to provide school groups and county residents free admission to its museum in downtown Portland.

Like the existing levy, passed in 2010, this year's measure measure assesses 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to support the society.

The original five-year levy passed with 54 percent in support.