Taxpayer impact of record $790 million Portland Public Schools bond proposal

KATU file image

How much will you pay if the largest bond proposal in Oregon history passes next month's election?

Supporters say the $790 million bond would make critical investments in Portland Public Schools.

Property owners are already paying for a school bond in Portland but school board members say much more is needed to keep students healthy and safe.

They say money from the proposed bond would be used to renovate Benson and Madison high schools and rebuild Lincoln High School and Kellogg Middle School.

Planning for upgrades to Cleveland, Jefferson and Wilson high schools would also be undertaken. It would also help fund district-wide projects to remove lead-based paint and fixtures.

And those are just some of the projects on the table.

April Gutierrez, a licensed tax consultant who co-owns Pacific Northwest Tax Service in Portland, helped KATU crunch the numbers to figure out first what property owners are already paying.

Right now, the average homeowner in Portland pays about $230 dollars annually for a Portland Public Schools bond levied in 2012. If the new one goes forward they'll pay about $304 per year on top of that for the next four years. That would then drop down to about $148 annually.

"Most people who owe mortgages are paying into an escrow account through their mortgage. It's just gonna be like a few extra bucks per month," said Gutierrez, "but those who do pay cash for their property tax bill each November, when it's due, are probably gonna notice -- hey, it went up a bit."

Multnomah County says the average assessed value of a single-family home in Portland is about $217,371.

That's assessed value -- not market value -- and it's important.

"The property tax assessment on your house is based on its assessed value," said Gutierrez.

Jeremy Wright is the consultant managing the campaign for the new bond measure.

"We haven't invested in our schools in 70 years. The last major capital construction bond since 2012 was 1945," said Wright, "and we're seeing the effects now."

Homeowners are expected to be paying off both the 2012 bond and the proposed bond, if it passes, for 30 years each. But the district says the pay rate decreases over time.

KATU News is hosting a town hall on the bond measure starting at 8 p.m. on May 3 at our Northeast Portland studio. If you are interested in participating, please email

To figure out how much you would pay annually under the proposed bond, click here.

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