November 18, 2020

Celebrating Home & Hope Wins and Notable Election Outcomes

While much of the election has focused on the national stage, early learning providers and affordable housing advocates have some wins to celebrate in the Pacific Northwest. Oregonians and Washingtonians turned out in exceptionally high, even record numbers in some areas, to decisively support an amendment that paves the way for more affordable housing opportunities in King County and to support a tax measure to create universal preschool in Multnomah County.

King County Charter Amendment 2

Charter Amendment 2 removes a major impediment for developing surplus land for affordable housing in King County and will now allow the county to sell surplus, government-owned land at low or no cost for the purpose of developing affordable homes. This is a huge win for housing advocates as it allows the largest county in the state to utilize expanded authority to discount public land when used for affordable housing, which was granted by the Washington State Legislature in 2018 with HB 2382. This amendment passed with nearly 69 percent of voters in favor. Enterprise advocated for this amendment early on with testimony in support to the King County Council in advance of its placement on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Multnomah County Measure 26-214: Preschool for All

Multnomah County Measure 26-214 would provide free, universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children that live in Multnomah County. The measure supports a range of providers from home- and school-based, centers or head start facilities and provides options for various half-day, full-day, and school-year schedules. Children who have disabilities, are living in foster care, have been affected by homelessness, and students of color are prioritized in this effort that is estimated to create 7,000 new, tuition-free preschool slots by 2026. Funding will come from a marginal income tax of 1.5 percent on individuals making over $125,000 and households making over $200,000. The tax increases for individuals with taxable income over $250,000 and households with taxable income over $400,000. This measure passed with 64 percent. 

Our Home & Hope program builds upon the promise of the opportunity afforded by having access to quality early learning and affordable home. Especially now, it is more important than ever to continue investing in communities. We are pleased to see that efforts in alignment with our Home & Hope program are making waves locally, signaling that voters care about and want to see more done for affordable housing and early learning. We look forward to continue championing these efforts in the Pacific Northwest.

Other Notable Election Outcomes

The power balances in both Washington and Oregon remain largely unshifted. In Oregon, the Democratic Party maintains its supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature while in Washington neither party netted any new seats, maintaining a Democratic majority (57/41 in the House and 28/21 in the Senate) in both chambers of the Washington State Legislature.

In the congressional election, Democrats were unable to flip the 3rd, 4th, and 5th congressional districts representing southwest, central and eastern Washington respectively. A seat left vacant by former Congressmember Denny Heck (D) came down to a contest between two Democrats: Rep. Beth Doglio and former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Strickland, who currently leads with approximately 49 percent of the vote, if elected, will be the first black woman to represent the state of Washington in the congressional delegation.

Both states are in the final stages of counting the last remaining ballots that were either received by Election Day on Nov. 3 deadline (Oregon) or postmarked by that date (Washington). Washington state election results will be certified by each county on Nov. 24. The Secretary of State in Washington and Oregon will certify results by Dec. 3.

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