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Pool measure sinks by large margin


$24 million aquatic center rejected by large margin

Hopes for an aquatic and community center in West Linn washed away Tuesday night, as an unofficial tally showed voters siding against the $24 million bond measure by a margin of 76 percent (4,614 votes) to 23 percent (1,428 votes).

"While the outcome was not what we hoped for, we are grateful that the West Linn community finally had an opportunity to vote after decades of study and discussion of a pool," said Nancy King, co-director of the West Linn Community Pool and Recreation Center group. "The advocates that have been involved for the past decade made it possible to bring this forward to a vote. We are certainly thankful for everyone who stepped up and was involved in the campaign."

Measure 3-432 on the Nov. 5 Clackamas County special election ballot asked voters if West Linn should “sell bonds to refinance land and construct, equip and furnish a new indoor aquatic and community center.”

The facility would have been located on city-owned property near Tanner Creek Park, housing a pool with “aquatic park-like features” as well as a gym, running track, classrooms and fitness areas.

The city council voted unanimously July 1 to pass a resolution that officially put the measure on the November ballot. Though the council as a whole expressed mixed feelings about the idea, Council President Mike Jones said the time had come to “allow the voters to vote after a pretty active decade of discussion and a very active three years.”

The aquatic center task force originally recommended in February that the city press forward with a cheaper $8.4 million outdoor facility, but results from a poll conducted in April suggested residents were more receptive to an indoor park.

The debate over installing a public pool or aquatic center has gone on for nearly 40 years in West Linn, but Tuesday marked the first chance the voters had to decide.

"I am proud to be a member of the city council that finally referred this longstanding community issue to the voters," City Councilor Jenni Tan said in a statement Tuesday.

Proponents of the measure said that an aquatic and community center would be an ideal congregation spot for adults, teens and families alike, and would likely draw patrons from outside of West Linn.

Other residents looked at the price tag and said the aquatic center was simply too expensive for an already cash-strapped city. Construction of the facility would have raise property taxes by an estimated 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $152 per year on a home valued at $285,000.

Patrick Malee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 106. Follow him on Twitter, @pmalee_wl