Walk the Vote: Oregon Walks' November 2016 Endorsements

Oregon Walks is the state's pedestrian advocacy organization. We advocate to make walking safe, convenient and accessible as a transportation and recreation option for everybody, living in communities all over the state of Oregon. We see local elections as an opportunity to address how government can help provide the necessary resources, policy directives and community support to build the social and physical infrastructure necessary to support a walkable community in every neighborhood. We see integrating more walking into our daily lives as a necessary policy tool that addresses our local and national crisis in economic inequality, public health, climate change, social justice, affordable housing and more.

With that background, the Oregon Walks board has voted to endorse the following ballot initiatives before Oregon voters in the November 8th election.  

STATEWIDE

YES ON Measure 97: A Better Oregon

Oregon Walks supports a YES vote on Measure 97,  to increase the corporate minimum tax that will provide $3 billion of tax revenue from large corporations to invest in Oregon's education, senior services, and health care. As we conduct our advocacy for Vision Zero here in Portland and across the state, it's become abundantly clear to us how traffic violence frequently intersects with communities experiencing economic inequality and lack of access to economic opportunity. With our state budget potentially facing devastating cuts to education, health care and senior services, it's, frankly, an imperative to good governance and the future wellbeing of every Oregon community (walkable or otherwise) across the state to demand that out-of-state corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Our organization's endorsement carries an asterisk; we hope to see any funds raised by Measure 97 that are ultimately allocated to transportation investments prioritize road maintenance, pedestrian safety over potential expansion of automobile throughput in our communities. After the election, Oregon Walks is eager to continue to engage in statewide transportation funding conversations; we intent to engage with the 2017 legislative session to push for a transportation funding package that best meets the needs of everyday Oregonians, many of whom wish to live in communities where it was easier to ride the bus or walk your children to school.

REGIONALLY

YES on Measure 26-178: Protect Our Natural Areas

Voters in the Portland region will have the opportunity to renew Metro's 2013 levy to fund operations and maintenance initiatives on our public natural areas. This levy has provided funding for trails, recreation opportunities, and engaged many of Oregon Walks' environmental justice partners in conducting meaningful land stewardship. These trails are an important component of supporting healthy, sustainable, walkable communities, providing more opportunities for Oregonians in the Portland region to easily access the outdoors and connecting neighborhoods to nature. This levy will extend Metro's current levy through 2023, ensuring ongoing funding for Metro's conservation work without raising existing taxes. Supporting the levy provides future opportunites for investments and maintenance in trails across the region including the Tigard’s Fanno Creek Trail, Happy Valley’s Scouter Mountain Trail, Portland’s Columbia Slough Trail, Forest Grove’s Council Creek Trail, Wilsonville’s Ice Age Tonquin Trail, and Beaverton’s Westside Trail.

LOCALLY

YES on Measure 26-179: Affordable Homes For All

Many Portlanders have been gravely impacted by our ongoing housing struggles. Oregon Walks has been attempting to build collaborative partnership with organizations advocating a litany of policy proposals to address this housing crisis to ensure every Portlander can find affordable rent in a walkable community. Measure 26-179 raises $258 million to build 1,300 deeply affordable public housing units that will serve over 2,900 Portlanders immediately and tens of thousands of Portlanders over future decades. We're inspired by the hard work of partner organizations Street Roots, Community Alliance of Tenants and the Welcome Home Coalition to build a thoughtful coalition to address our city's' housing shortage; and we support an investment in affordable housing to make sure more Portlanders have the opportunity to live, work, shop and play in a neighborhood with safe streets. There's a tremendous amount of work to be done to support affordable housing policy that works for Oregonians, and we're excited to partner with Community Development Corporations, YIMBY wonks, tenant rights advocates and parking minimum Shoupistas to provide numerous policy options to make it easier for every Oregonian to settle into a walkable community with stability and certainty. (If "YIMBY" and "Shoupistas" sound like made-up words, our apologies, but they're real movements, and we're honored to call their advocates partners in our work for affordable, walkable communities.)

Oregon Walks is partnering with the Yes for Affordable Homes campaign and leading a Walktober walk this October 28th. Details here:
http://walktoberpdx.org/event/walk-for-affordable-homes/

YES on Measure 34-255: Yes For Tigard

Oregon Walks knows that transit is an integral component of a walkable neighborhood, and our organization therefore endorsed Measure 34-255 authorizing Tigard to more forward with planning for potential light rail expansion in advance of the Southwest Corridor. We're closely following the regional conversation about transportation, and our organization is looking to see further commitments from Metro and regional transportation leaders for a SW Corridor plan that best provides walkability and accessible public transportation to Southwest Portland and surrounding communities. We support a vision of Tigard as a thriving community in Washington County connected to the rest of the region through frequent service transit, and we're encouraging Tigard residents to vote YES on Measure 34-255 to prepare the suburban community for the 21st century transportation system.  

Learn more about these campaigns here:
http://voteyeson97.org/
http://www.protectournaturalareas.com
http://www.yesforaffordablehomes.com/
http://yesfortigard.com/

Oregon Walks is partnering with the Yes for Affordable Homes campaign and leading a Walktober walk this October 28th. Details here:
http://walktoberpdx.org/event/walk-for-affordable-homes/

If you’d like to knock on doors with us, RSVP here:
bit.ly/Walk4Homes

Oregon's Voter Registration Deadline is October 18.
You can register to vote online here:
https://secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/vr/register.do?lang=eng&source=SOS