This was not good timing.

At almost the exact moment that ballots were being mailed to voters in the Gresham-Barlow School District, Multnomah County was mailing notifications of property tax bills with news that assessments are up an average of 9.2 percent countywide.

Considering the fact that their property taxes already are up over the previous year, the people who are still undecided on how they plan to vote on the Gresham-Barlow School District’s $210 million school improvement bond measure may be tempted to vote no.

For the record, not all Multnomah County residents pay the same amount on property taxes. It depends on where you live. For example, only the taxpayers living within the Portland Public School District will pay for the $482 million bond passed in that district. Whew!

But all property owners in Multnomah County will help shoulder the costs associated with the county library levy passed last November, and the Metro natural areas levy approved in May.

Add to that the realities that property values are on an upswing, and you begin to understand why the tax bills are up so dramatically.

That’s where considerations for the Gresham-Barlow School District bond come into play.

Despite the increases in county property taxes, we strongly encourage voters to pass the Gresham-Barlow bond for all of the right reasons:

• To improve the safety of students in schools.

• To upgrade technology.

• To help prepare students for college and beyond.

And those aren’t the only reasons to approve the bond. We also know that as schools go, so go the communities that surround them. When schools fall behind in teaching and maintenance, the surrounding neighborhoods are soon to follow.

Likewise, well-maintained and thriving schools attract investment as people move into neighborhoods to take advantage of those buildings and programs.

As that happens, the housing market has an upward push on property values, which is every homeowner’s wish as they plan for the time in the future when they hope to sell their home and avoid taking a loss.

While we understand the consternation over higher tax bills, we hope taxpayers of the Gresham-Barlow Schools District keep their eyes on the prize by not wavering on support of Measure 26-153.

Contract Publishing

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