Lake Oswego voters keep pot ban, say no to fiber network
'Housekeeping' charter amendment passing, removing the need for redundant city election notices
Voters decided Tuesday night to keep Lake Oswegos ban on marijuana businesses in place and told city leaders not to pursue a municipal broadband internet network.
Unofficial results Wednesday showed that:
Ballot measure M-490, which upholds Lake Oswegos ban on the production and sale of marijuana within city limits, passed by a wide margin, with 61.4 percent of voters saying yes and 38.6 percent saying no.
Ballot measure M-491, an advisory vote on whether to pursue a municipal broadband internet service, was defeated handily, with 54.7 percent of voters saying no and 45.3 percent saying yes.
Ballot measure M-489, a housekeeping measure to eliminate a charter requirement for the City to post notices of upcoming elections, won voters approval, with 66.2 percent saying yes and 33.8 percent saying no.
The charter rule essentially became redundant when Oregon switched to statewide voting by mail; there are no longer any physical polling places, and the mailed ballots themselves serve as notice of the date of upcoming elections. The marijuana and broadband measures, on the other hand, each generated their fair share of debate during the 2016 campaign.
Under state law, local governments are allowed to impose bans on marijuana businesses, but they have to give voters a chance to weigh in. A majority of Lake Oswego voters approved Measure 91 to legalize marijuana in 2014, but the City Council imposed a sales ban out of concern that having pot shops in the city would tarnish the Lake Oswego brand.
Supporters of the ban also argued that while Oswegans favor overall legalization, that doesnt necessarily mean they want marijuana grown and sold in their own hometown.
With approval from voters, the current ban will remain in place. Individual possession and use of marijuana will still be governed by state law, but all dispensaries, growing facilities, production facilities and retails stores will continue to be prohibited inside Lake Oswego city limits.
The other major local measure was an advisory vote on a proposed municipal fiber broadband network. The City-owned network would be built in a public-private partnership with local startup Symmetrical Networks.
The council deadlocked earlier this year during discussions about the broadband idea; supporters said it would be a community asset, while opponents were concerned that the City would be left on the hook for the costs of the project if it failed.
The biggest concern was whether the City would be able to meet the 35 percent sign-up rate that the network would need in order to pay for itself, so the council ultimately referred the issue to voters to get an additional measurement of public sentiment.
The advisory vote does not require the council to take any action related to the project, but at the time that the measure was referred, Mayor Kent Studebaker suggested that the council would be looking for a Yes vote of at least 55 percent in order to safely move forward with the project.
For comprehensive election coverage, visit PoliticalOregon.com.