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Petition signatures sought to put a Molalla Aquatic District on May ballot

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PEGGY SAVAGE - L-R: Lucy Allison-Pursley and Donna Russell collected petition signatures  for the Molalla Aquatic Center at the Molalla Apple Fesitival in  September.  
A citizens group called Citizens for Molalla Aquatic District is gathering signatures for the Petition to Form the Molalla Aquatic District. They say they are well underway toward their goal, but will continue to collect signatures through the early part of November.

The successful petition would ask voters across the Molalla River School District in May 2017, do they support the formation of a Special District (the Molalla Aquatic District) for the purposes of funding and operating the Molalla pool?

“People have been so supportive of the petition, I feel encouraged,” said Paula Beck, one of the petitioners. “At least they will get a chance to vote on whether the pool should be opened. All its about right now is getting this on the ballot.”

The approach of an aquatic district was decided upon after MRSD, the city and Friends of Molalla Pool researched a number of scenarios for funding and operating the pool. The Molalla River School District and the city of Molalla are listed as chief petitioners, and volunteers from the community are gathering signatures.

As part of their outreach, petition circulators have been making the following points, said Marilyn Bloch, another driving force behind the effort.

n Public input. The pool was closed with minimal public input. Putting this to a vote would allow the public to choose whether they want the pool.

2) More households paying in means less money per household. The bond to build the pool was approved and paid for by taxpayers across the Molalla River School District. Because the operation of the pool was up to the city, however, only city taxes were going toward funding. This meant that a relatively small group of people were shouldering the burden. The Molalla Aquatic District would spread the cost across the area of the entire school district, which is more fair and asks less per household.

3) Finally asking the right people. City residents may remember voting on pool funding initiatives in the past. However, this would be the first time that voters outside the city limits will have a chance to weigh in on funding the pool they helped build.

4) Dedicated funding and management. “Another advantage to a Molalla Aquatic District is that it would ensure reliable, dedicated funding to operate the pool for years to come and that the pool would be managed by an elected board dedicated to its success,” Bloch said.

“We have been collecting signatures and talking to people since early September, and the response has been highly positive. We hear from a lot of people that they feel it’s a terrible waste for the pool to just sitting there, unused. We also hear from people outside city limits that they just assumed that they were helping to pay for the pool all along. And of course, many people have mentioned that they miss their exercise routine, or that they have to drive a long way to take their kids to swim lessons, etc.”

Beck said that she thinks it is fantastic that the MHS swim team and local elementary kids will be able to use the pool this winter.

“It’s good to see the pool being used, and it’s proof that the pool has been maintained and is still in good working order,” Beck said. “A Molalla Aquatic District would allow the pool to be reopened for public use, so we could all take advantage of this community resource.”

If you are registered to vote within the Molalla River School District boundaries, you are eligible to sign the petition.

If you haven’t had a chance to sign the petition yet, send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit Citizens for Molalla Aquatic District Facebook page, or call Marilyn at 503-829-6618.