ENTERPRISE — Enterprise voters passed the $4 million levy Tuesday, Nov. 3, approving the funds to conduct repairs at the school district — funds that will be matched.
“I am incredibly grateful for our community’s support and their investment in their schools,” Superintendent Erika Pinkerton said.
The bond passed with nearly 57% of the vote with 1,222 yes votes to 927 no votes.
The money raised through a bond will pay for what Pinkerton called a much-needed roof as well as other repairs to make the school more accessible and safer for students, staff and visitors.
The bond also will pay for asbestos abatement, remodeled locker rooms and updates to the science rooms. Much of the work will begin as early as next summer.
Pinkerton said the day after the election she would be posting a request for proposal for a project manager to oversee the construction.
“To the community — we are humbled by your vote of confidence and your investment,” said Heather Melville, a school board member.
An investment in the school’s education and infrastructure is never wasted, Melville said.
“We can now use the $4 million OSCIM grant match to ease the overall financial burden to our community.” Melville said. “We have a lot of work ahead, but we will be smiling all night long, for sure.”
The city of Joseph, meanwhile, overwhelmingly passed ballot measure 32-004, placing a 3% tax on marijuana sales within the city.
The initial count saw the measure winning with about 73% of the vote, 575-211.
A race that was nearly a dead heat — the measure requiring county commissioners to discuss the pros and cons of Wallowa County joining Idaho — fell by fewer than 50 votes. The measure received 2,519 no votes, and 2,478 yes votes.
“I thought we would be like Union County and it would pass here in Wallowa County was what I anticipated,” said Commissioner Todd Nash, referring to neighboring Union County’s passage with 52% approval. “I think there’s some sentiment and frustration with the way Oregon has legislated, and so I thought that it might be tilted a little bit more. Not completely surprised, either, that it failed.”
The commissioner, though, doesn’t think the discussion surrounding a border move is over.
“With a neighboring county, Union County going to go through the process, I think there will be people who keep an eye on that,” he said. “I don’t know that it will be completely put to bed.”
Mike McCarter, spokesman for the Move Oregon’s Border movement, agreed.
“I’m pleased. Of course, I wish that it would have passed there, and I hope we continue to get the right message out to other people,” he said. “We’re not anybody from out of state or white supremacists or anything else. These are an awful lot of conservative Oregonians in this movement. It may not work, but we gotta try it. Even if it doesn’t pass, I think each time it comes up for a vote it sends another message to the legislatures.”
Cliff Bentz, who continued the Republicans’ grip on the 2nd Congressional District by defeating opponent Alex Spenser, earned nearly 71% of the county’s vote with a margin of 3,562-1,332. He won more than 60% of the overall vote in the district.
The county also backed Jo Rae Perkins, the Republican challenger who looked to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. Perkins took 64% of the county vote, 3,255-1,696. Merkley, though, won his reelection bid with 57% of the state total.
President Donald Trump won 66% of the county’s vote, 3,390-1,619. Most mainstream media outlets called the race for former Vice President Joe Biden early Saturday.
The county voted with the state in supporting Measures 107 and 108, and voted against the rest of the state in voting down Measures 109 and 110. All four measures passed the state.
According to the Oregon voters guide, Measure 107 will allow laws that “limit contributions expenditures made to influence an election.” Measure 108 will increase tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, and on cigars by $1 apiece. Measure 109 allows for the manufacture, delivery and administration of psychoactive mushrooms. And Measure 110 lowered the penalty for possession of certain drugs from a felony or misdemeanor to a Class E violation.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more quotes, additional information.