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The $75 million bond to build a new career and technical education building was failing

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA  - Students at Mt. Hood Community College work in the machine shop. Voters in Tuesday's election nixed a $75 million Mt. Hood Community College facilities bond, the school's second bid in two years, for funds to build a career and technology center and make safety and security upgrades to the school.

"We're strategizing about how we're going to go out again," said college President Debra Derr, sitting among some board members Tuesday night, May 16, at a downtown Gresham restaurant.

Returns as of Wednesday afternoon, May 17, in Clackamas and Multnomah counties show 21,865 voters, or 55 percent, said "No, thanks" to the bond, while 17,734 voted for it.

Mt. Hood, the state's seventh-largest public college, scaled back the size of the bond to $75 million after voters turned down a $125 million bond in the May 2016 election. Despite multiple attempts, the school has not been able to pass a facilities bond since 1974.

About $35 million of the bond would have been used to build a new Workforce and Applied Technology Center, which houses the cutting-edge manufacturing, automotive technology, welding and other skilled-career programs MHCC offers.

"We have to do something with the career and technology education facilities," Derr said, noting she would "absolutely not" recommend to the board to try to make do with current facilities. "I can't speak for my future board. I'll be interested in what they have to say to us."

The college planned to to use the funds to improve safety and security on its campuses. Most of Mt. Hood's main campus buildings were constructed in the late 1960s and early '70s and have not been retrofitted to withstand a significant earthquake. Facilities such as the aquatics center, theater and planetarium are popular among community members as well as students.

The bond also was to be used to add security upgrades such as a centralized system to lock classroom and building doors.

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