Decision to protect Portland parks passes in ‘real squeaker’

June 15th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Portland residents narrowly approved a ballot question Tuesday that blocks the sale of Congress Square Plaza and gives voters more say over future attempts to sell city-owned land.

Question 1 on Portland’s ballot passed with 4,888 votes to 4,605 opposed – 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent – after a hard-fought legal and political campaign that started with city officials’ decision last year to sell part of Congress Square Plaza to the company that redeveloped the adjacent hotel.

Additional Images

Volunteer Chris Moore, right, celebrates the win by the Yes on 1 campaign in Portland on Tuesday night, joined by his wife, Bree LaCasse, center, and City Councilor David Marshall. “We hope city officials heard us loud and clear,” LaCasse said. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Yes on 1 campaign volunteers Asher Platts, left, and Becky Wartell, right, and Lauren Besanko, a campaign staffer, dance in Congress Square Plaza on Tuesday. The “very close vote” blocked the sale of the park, but also had far broader implications for city-owned land. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

With that sale now blocked, city officials will have to decide how to proceed and whether to seek a second citywide vote on the controversial proposal.

Turnout for the referendum was about 18 percent, less than the turnout for November’s referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana use but higher than normal for a ballot question, city officials said.

“We thought it was going to be a real squeaker and we are definitely happy with the outcome, but we have worked hard for

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