Metro Area Zoo Bond Measure (2008)
in Multnomah County.
The money gave major animals more room and more interesting space, including adding five acres, watering holes, stands of bamboo and better indoor treatment facilities for the zoo's signature Asian elephants.
The money also updated the zoo's 45-year-old veterinary hospital, part of which was deemed substandard by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Projects would be completed in stages through 2016, with major work done to the polar bear and primate habitats and systemwide improvements to the zoo's water and energy utilities.
The measure was approved
- YES 195,652 (59.72%)
- NO 131,985 (40.28%)
Oregon Zoo director Tony Vecchio, and Metro, the regional planning agency that owns the zoo are sponsoring the measure. The elected Metro Council voted to place the measure on the November ballot on May 8, 2008. Metro is the regional government charged with managing growth in most of the tri-county area. It is also in charge of the zoo.
Voters have a history of supporting the zoo with levies and bond measures multiple times in past decades, most recently in 1996 when they approved a $28.8 million bond to build the Great Northwest exhibit.
Many voters expressed their opposition to having taxes raised even just a small amount because of other fees and taxes they must already pay in the tri-county area. A reader on PortlandTribune.com, indentifying himself as "John Benton," commented on an article posted about the measure, saying, "Bottom line – a bunch of programs some of dubious value, some well meaning but wasteful and others totally corrupt will increase our expenses by 15%." Another reader, who was only indentified as "Taxed Enough" said, "I automatically vote "NO" on any measure that will increase my taxes."
Some citizens feel the Zoo simply doesn't need that much money and has not used previous funding efficiently.
The bond was estimated to cost less than 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value per year. The average homeowner in the region would pay $1.38 per month. The average cost per household would be $16.56 for an assessed home value at $190,000. The average Metro region assessed property value is $190,000. The bonds will mature in 21 years or less.