By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Let construction begin.

Keizer and Salem voters approved a $619.7 million bond measure by the Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS).

The bond will address overcrowding, add space for career-technical education and vocational programs, add science classrooms, improve safety and security, improve seismic safety and expand access to technology.

All schools in the district will see improvements under the 2018 bond program.

McNary High School, along with Gubser Elementary, is one of the first five schools scheduled to begin construction in 2019.

“It’s a good day. It’s going to be great for our kids and for our schools and our community,” McNary principal Erik Jespersen said. “It’s an opportunity to plan for the future. As the population of Keizer continues to grow, we’re going to have enough classroom space for our kids.”

Construction on the first five projects is expected to be finished by fall of 2020. Renovations at Claggett Creek Middle School and Cummings Elementary are scheduled to begin in 2020 and at Keizer Elementary in 2022. Construction of all projects in the 2018 bond program are planned to be finished in about five years.

With 22,746 total votes cast, the bond measure passed 52.78 to 47.22 percent.

“I am very pleased that the citizens of Salem and Keizer continue to support the schools and trust the district to use the money wisely and as promised,” School Board Chair Paul Kyllo said.

Property owners will see am estimated increase of $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or about $248 per year on a home valued at $200,000.

“We’re extremely grateful to our community for their support of our schools and the bond measure,” SKPS Superintendent Christy Perry said before a gathering of supporters. “We understand that shepherding the bond funds is a responsibility and a privilege. Tonight we renew our commitment to sound financial management. As a community, we’ve made a promise to our kids, and we look forward to delivering healthy educational spaces.”

In other ballot races, Rep. Kurt Schrader will face off against Republican challenger Mark Callahan. State Rep. Knute Buehler will take in incumbent Gov. Kate Brown in the governor’s race, Buehler edged out several competitors with about 38 percent of the vote.

Willamette University’s professor Paul Diller, a Democrat, appeared to have squeaked out a win (50.79 percent of the vote) in a tight race to face state Sen. Kim Thatcher for the seat representing the 13th District.

Democrat Dave McCall, a Keizer resident, ran unopposed to challenge for the state representative seat currently held by Rep. Bill Post.

Shelaswau Crier, a Democrat will face incumbent Repulican Kevin Cameron in the race for Marion County Commission Position 1. Sitting Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for Marion County Commissioner Position 2, Colm Willis defeated Salem City Councilor Brad Nanke for the Republican nomination.

Val Hoyle won the race to become Oregon’s next Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Hoyle beat out two challengers for the title with almost 45 percent of the vote. She is also the first woman to hold the seat in its more than 100 year history.

Meagan Flynn defeated challenger Van Pounds with 69 percent of the vote for position 3 on the Oregon Supreme Court. Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Rex Armstrong fended off challenger Kyle Krohn. Paige Clarkson will succeed Walt Beglau at Marion County’s District Attorney.

Slightly more than 23 percent of Marion County’s registered voters cast ballots in the election.