REDMOND, OR -- The Cascade Swim Center will have to last a few years more. Voters defeated a construction bond and operating levy, Tuesday night. Measure 9-126, a $40 million bond to fund construction of a new activity and aquatic center and updated the 40-year-old Cascade Swim Center (pictured), failed by 16% margin; Measure 9-127, the five-year levy to run that new facility, failed by 12%.
RAPRD board member Matthew Gilman believes low voter turnout contributed to the loss, "There's a lot of noise in society today, and being able to stick out amongst all of the other causes that there are out there is proving to be difficult." He tells KBND News, "We're a small group of people that were trying to get something passed for the community that we know is good for the community, so when we can't get the voters out to support it, then it's a sad day." Deschutes County turnout for the special election was just over 22%. Gilman also thinks residents didn't want to part with more money, "People are still struggling to make a living for themselves and paying more taxes to get a fitness center isn't necessarily their top priority."
There are no immediate plans to try again. Gilman says other districts, including fire and schools, are expected to take other bonds and levies to voters in the next few years, so Parks and Rec will wait. "We just know there's a lot of 'no' voters out there that are going to continue to be out there, so until we get the 'yes' campaign to want to participate and to want to really care about something like this, than I think we'll continue to wait. We're not giving up the fight for now. I mean, for now we are, but for the long run, we still have a vision." He hopes those who want to update facilities will work with RAPRD to increase community support for the project.