Clackamas County Vehicle Registration Fee Question (May 2011)

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Sellwood Bridge
A Clackamas County Vehicle Registration Fee Question was on the May 17, 2011 ballot in Clackamas County.

This measure was defeated

  • YES 31,089 (36.88%)
  • NO 53,208 (63.12%)Defeatedd[1]

This measure was brought forth by a petition drive by residents after the county implemented a $5 vehicle registration fee which would have started in 2012. The measure sought to reverse the implementation of the registration fee which was expected to generate near $22 million a year. The money collected from this fee would have gone towards the Sellwood Bridge renovation project.[2] Those opposed to the measure noted that residents in Clackamas county should not have to pay for the bridge which is in Portland and Multnomah county. Since this measure did not get approved, the bridge project will face budget problems and likely will not be able to be completed as promised. Clackamas residents were being asked to pay for a portion of the bridge because a study found that those who use the bridge often start of end their trips within Clackamas county.[3]

The most vocal opposition was that this would have set an unheard of precedent of one county paying for another's projects. While those in favor noted that many Clackamas residents use the bridge so the fee is valid. Those opposed noted that the bridge does need to be replaced but do not think this fee was the means for it to be done. Multnomah has already implemented a vehicle registration fee which will pay their part of the bridge replacement project. Though since this measure was defeated and Clackamas county will not contribute to the project it may be totally put on hold.[4]

The Oregon City Chamber Board of Directors voted to support the passage of this measure, noting that the importance of the bridge and the use of it by county residents is evidence enough that there should be support to help replace the bridge.[5]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

QUESTION: Shall Clackamas County impose $5 annual vehicle registration fee for replacement of Sellwood Bridge?

SUMMARY: This measure would authorize the imposition of a $5 annual County vehicle registration fee dedicated to be used exclusively for the designing, replacement, acquiring necessary property for, engineering and constructing a replacement for the Sellwood Bridge and its approaches. Certain vehicles would be exempt from this fee. This fee would be in addition to other fees required to be paid to the State of Oregon or any other statute.[6][7]

Additional reading