Oregon Ballot Measure 69 is the second of two constitutional amendments on the upcoming Oregon ballot.  The measure would amend the state Constitution to make it clear colleges and universities can use general obligation bonds to buy buildings as well as build them.  There is no organized opposition to the measure.

Measure 69 updates a small part of the Oregon Constitution to make it reflect the realities of our modern life.  Currently, if we want to build a new building on a college campus, the state sells bonds to get the cash at a low interest rate to build the necessary structures.  That is the way things should be.  That also presumed that our colleges and universities are everything about campus life.

In the modern world, our institutions of higher learning are building centers in the places that people actually live throughout the state.  It is possible to take U of O courses or OSU courses without stepping foot in Eugene or Corvallis.  The Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) is serving students in locations throughout the state, many who have never been to the main campus in Klamath Falls. Both institutions have a presence in Portland and elsewhere.  What this also means is that institutions are not necessarily building their own buildings; they are often purchasing existing structures and remodeling them to meet their needs. While this makes perfect sense, under our current financing structure, the universities cannot have the state sell the less-expensive bonds to finance the purchase.

This measure fixes that problem.  Certainly, we should be able to have the state sell low-interest bonds to buy a new building in the same way it would sell them to build the same building.  This measure will make that correction.  In the process, it will save the taxpayers of our state millions of dollars in financing costs.  Universities support this concept.  Businesses support this concept.  It makes sense to taxpayers, too.

Join me in voting YES on Oregon Ballot Measure 69.