BONDS TO PROTECT ANIMAL HEALTH AND SAFETY; CONSERVE, RECYCLE WATER.
COST: $0.09 property tax per $1,000 assessed value per year = 0.009%
Shall Zoo protect animal health and safety; conserve, recycle water; issue $125 million in general obligation bonds; require independent audits? If the bonds are approved, they will be payable from taxes on property or property ownership that are not subject to the limits of Sections 11 and 11b, Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.?
• Portland Tribune
• Victoria Taft
From arguments in opposition (pdf):
• Jane Frances Bicquette: "...prolonging woefully inadequate conditions..."
• Oregon Zoo Keeper Phil Prewett
• In Defense of Animals
MY FIRST IMPRESSION: I would like to support the zoo, but $125M for what is essentially a popular recreational attraction pales in comparison to more essential government services. My questions:
- Why isn't the zoo able to self-fund its expansion from admission fees? Are its admission fees too low? The Oregon Zoo charges $9.75 for adults, but much smaller (and, in my opinion, less impressive) zoos and attractions I've visited are able to charge the same or more:
- The bond's wording sounds like a scare tactic. If the bond is not passed, does that really mean animals' health and safety will be at risk? If so, why hasn't the zoo handled its resources and prior expansions appropriately to secure its animals' health and safety?
- Since it arbitrarily chose to change its name to the Oregon Zoo ten years ago, why are not taxpayers across the state being asked to contribute? The name erroneously implies that the zoo is supported by the state while City of Portland and tri-county taxpayers have built and supported it for over a hundred years. Why should Metro residents pay the same fees and subsidize non-residents?
The more I think about it, the less inclined I feel toward voting for this bond. At the risk of sounding like an old, anti-tax curmudgeon, this measure's sensational wording rubs me the wrong way. I also don't see why local property taxpayers should be financially responsible to expand a popular recreational attraction that doesn't seem to have properly tapped tourists' dollars.