Failed measure releases county inmates

Inmates, 114, were released from Multnomah County Jail Wednesday as Oregon’s state agencies began implementing proposed budget cuts threatened during the campaign for the measure.

While some freed inmates were merely awaiting trial, others were serving time for various felonies.

Portland Public schools have talked of a shorter school schedule, and other state agencies have suggested cuts could cause the loss of services.

The measure means the continuation of the current surcharge scheme for PSU students, lasting into Spring quarter. And further darkens the university’s fiscal outlook.

President Daniel Bernstine reiterated the plans he initiated during his Campus Wide Convocation speech.

“The convocation speech had Measure 28 in mind, pass or fail,” Bernstine said.

“We’re going to put together a committee and try to work through this, and I’m still optimistic, that we’re on the right track,” Jay Kenton, vice president of Finance and Administration at PSU, said.

ASPSU President Kristen Wallace is encouraged by the voter turnout, 64 percent in Multnomah County, but sees a volatile future for education and student issues.

“I’m going to hope that Oregon comes up with some innovative ideas,” she said, “and students are going to be very instrumental in what goes down. We have a lot of power.”

While numbers balanced out to a dead heat in polls nearing the election, the ultimate outcome was more decisive than projected, with 54 percent of voters casting a no vote, and 46 percent a yes.

Chief among the opposition forces was the Oregon Libertarian Party, whose members saw warnings of severe cuts as threats levied at the voting population.

“People do not like being threatened, it upsets them,” Tom Cox, former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate said.

Richard Burke, Libertarian Party member and PSU graduate, feels that the party’s efforts in a 27-city media campaign helped to change the course of the election.

The campaign, which focused on smaller communities around Oregon and Lane County, focused attention on those parts of the state that the Yes on 28 campaign wasn’t paying attention to, according to organizers.

“We knew that we didn’t have the horsepower to punch through in the Portland area,” Burke said.

Libertarian Party members think the success of the campaign had a great deal to do with their focus on alternatives, instead of political “rock-throwing.”

Among those alternatives are reform of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and elimination of vacant positions in state government.