Labor recommends ‘yes’ vote on Multnomah County Library levy

In Multnomah County, union members and their families are urged to vote “yes” to renew a library funding levy on the May 15 primary ballot.

AFSCME Local 88, which represents workers at Multnomah County, is trying to get the word out about the need to pass the levy —Ballot Measure 26-125— which funds one of the most popular public libraries in the nation.

Multnomah County library ranks number one in circulation among U.S. libraries serving fewer than 2 million people. Not only that, but as Local 88 points out, it’s one of the few places laid-off and unemployed people can go to search for work using Internet access at free computer stations.

The property tax levy would raise about $34 million a year to operate the Multnomah County Library, which represents about 65 percent of the library’s budget. Voting “yes” does not raise property taxes; rather, it extends the current levy of 89 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Voting “no” would eliminate that funding, and thus cause the closure of most library branches, and cuts in hours of operation of those remaining.

Even with the levy’s passage, the library isn’t fully funded, but the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners plans to refer to voters a proposal for a library funding district; that would be on the ballot in November, if voters approve the levy’s extension in May.

1 Comment

  1. I’m afraid I cannot support the library at this time. They spend money recklessly and don’t care that much about their patrons. They spent a fortune on the Belmont Branch for example, and ruined it. They installed a terrible autocheckout and refused to change it and in the case of Belmont, they should remove most of them and put back a table and chairs. People have to sit on the floor in that mismanaged joint. Until there is a place for a person to sit and read in that library, they do not have my support.

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