Library compromise keeps doors open
January 5, 2012
By Editorial Staff, The Portland Tribune
The Multnomah County library system – with 19 branches stretching from Troutdale to St. Johns – is a step closer this week to receiving the permanent funding it deserves.
Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen on Tuesday announced that he has revised his approach to library funding and will support sending a plan to create a library district to voters in November. Cogen’s latest proposal is a compromise that unites county commissioners alongside the most ardent library supporters, including the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library.
Some of these library supporters had pushed for an earlier vote on a library district and were disappointed when Cogen chose not to place the district on the May ballot. Now, they appear unified around a two-step process for achieving the goal of permanent and stable library funding: In May, county commissioners will ask voters to approve another temporary levy that will keep libraries operating for now. Then, voters will have a chance to decide in November whether they want to form a library district that will give the library system a dedicated source of property-tax revenue.
This compromise plan did not come without a certain amount of anguish, but the debate on the library in the past few weeks was constructive. People who paid attention to the discussion are now more aware that Multnomah County’s library system – one of the most-used systems in the nation – depends on a temporary levy for 70 percent of its funding.
Read more >>