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Plus, candidates turn out for Black Voices forum, and Merkely and Trump agree on something, sort of.

COURTESY CCC - An affordable housing project to be built by Central City Concern in East Portland.Metro voters might be willing to pass a $1 billion affordable housing bond instead of the $500 million version the regional government has been considering.

That's according to a February poll conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) for Metro. A similar poll conducted last October found that a majority of Metro voters were willing to pay $50 a year to create affordable housing — enough to support a $500 million measure, Metro President Tom Hughes announced the next month.

But now, as Metro is working on the bond proposal for the November 2018 ballot, the new poll found that 59 percent of voters are willing to pay $100 a year to help house low-income families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

The council must refer the measure to the ballot by June to meet all state election deadlines.

Candidates turn out for Black Voices forum

In a show of respect for Portland communities of color, all major candidates for the City Council Position 3 and Multnomah County Commission District 2 races showed up at the Black Voices Candidates Fair last Saturday — even though it was held at the same time as the large downtown March for Our Lives gun-control rally that drew other elected officials and candidates.

The forum at the Maranatha Church in Northeast Portland was the first time all of the council candidates appeared together. Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith was in Washington, D.C., when the Main Street Alliance held a previous candidates forum March 6.

The two leading candidates for City Council Position 2 also showed up, even though they were not scheduled to speak. Commissioner Nick Fish and environmentalist Julia DeGraw watched the forum and mingled with the crowd when it ended.

Merkley and Trump agree on something, sort of

Although Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has been one of Donald Trump's most vocal critics since Trump was elected president, they found themselves on the same side of an issue last Friday — they both criticized the omnibus spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year because it did not include protections for the 800,000 Dreamers brought into this country illegally as children.

Of course, politics being politics, Democrat Merkley and Republican Trump couldn't agree on who to blame.

In a March 23 statement after the bill was approved by the U.S. Senate, Merkley blamed Trump for revoking protections for Dreamers in the first place.

"While I have other concerns with the bill, this reason alone is significant enough that I could not support it," he said.

For his part, when he was considering vetoing the bill, Trump tweeted the Dreamers "have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in the bill)." He signed it a few hours later, however.

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