Bonds, Ballots and Buildings Conference

February 7, 2020

Salem - Salem Convention Center and The Grand Hotel - 200 Commercial St SE, Salem OR 97301 - 877-540-7800


Is a bond measure or local option levy in your future?

Then don’t miss OSBA’s Bonds, Ballots and Buildings Conference, held once every two years in Salem.

This event has a long history of providing resources to help school districts and community colleges plan facilities, define and communicate bond costs to voters, and learn tactics for effective bond campaigns. OSBA is bringing experts in construction and facility planning, finance, surveys and communications together to provide workshops and resources in a one-day conference.

Thank you to everyone who attended this year's conference. See you in 2022!

7:30-8:15 a.m. – Registration, Continental Breakfast

8:15-9:30 a.m. – General Session

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Learn From the Winners Panel/Q&A

9:30-9:45 a.m. – Break

9:45-11:00 a.m. – Workshops (choose one)

Battling Scope Creep

Turning a History of "No" Into "Yes"

Learn How to LOL (Local Option Levy)

Build a Communications Plan - A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish

11:00-11:30 a.m. – Break/Visit with Partners

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. – Lunch

Pivot to Video

12:45-2:00 p.m. – Workshops (choose one)

Rule #1: Know Thy Voters

Run a Winning Campaign on a Shoestring

How Oregon City Flipped the Numbers (36% to 63% Approval)

Cruising to Safe Harbor: How to Stay Legal in Your Bond Campaign

2:00-2:15 p.m. – Break

2:15-3:30 p.m. – Workshops (choose one)

Increasing Student Engagement Through CTE

Your School Bond Has Passed - Now What? Tips for Continuing the Communications Effort

Manage Your Construction Contracts

The ABCs of Bonds

3:30 p.m. – Adjourn

8:15-9:30 a.m. – General Session

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Learn From the Winners Panel/Q&A

Craig Hoppes, superintendent, Astoria School District
Ryan Noss, superintendent, Corvallis School District
Kerry Delf, chief of staff, Eugene School District 4J
Bryan Starr, superintendent, and Justin Thomas, board chair, Harrisburg School District

9:45-11:00 a.m. – Workshops

Battling Scope Creep
Scope creep likes to raise its head on all capital projects. You have a vision of what you want to build, but other factors come into play to push you over budget. That creates a dilemma: Cutting large items post-bid compromises your promises to staff and community. Re-designing and re-bidding impact your overall schedule and move-in dates. Our panelists offer strategies and lessons learned on early cost containment to avoid these pitfalls and celebrate construction successes.

Scott Rose, senior project manager/LEED AP, R&C Management Group LLC
Dan Junge, CEP, associate, Rider Levett Bucknall
Aaron Boyle, administrator for facilities development, Beaverton School District
Trevor Wyckoff, vice president-project executive, Skanska USA Building Inc.

Turning a History of “No” Into “Yes”
While it would be nice to always come out in the win column, the reality is that bond measures don’t always pass on the first try. Sometimes districts try again successfully in the next election; sometimes they don’t get a win for several years. Hear how three districts re-thought their bond packages and came up with new strategies to win voter support for their bond measures.

Heidi Sipe, superintendent, Umatilla School District
Todd A. Miller, superintendent, Santiam Canyon School District
Melissa LaCrosse, board member, Jefferson School District 14J

Learn How to LOL (Local Option Levy)!
Local option levies are not really laughing matters given their complexity, but they can be immensely helpful in adding resources to the classroom. Learn how this levy system works, how to estimate how much you might receive, and how to explain the impact to your voters. Then hear from a superintendent with a recent successful local option effort about how the district navigated the campaign to come out on top and laughing out loud!

Carol Samuels, managing director, Piper Sandler
Alex Bowers, assistant vice president, Piper Sandler
Matt Utterback, superintendent, North Clackamas School District

Build a Communications Plan - A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish
Your goal is in sight, but you need a plan to get there. Now what? Grab a seat and put on your thinking cap for this fast-paced, hands-on training. We’ll give you the skills, ideas and templates you will need to begin to build your own comprehensive advocacy, informational and association bond/levy communication plans. How many votes do you need to win? How will you spend the 100 days leading up to the election? How will you reach stakeholders with the right messaging? Is Safe Harbor a place in the Puget Sound? With a dynamic community engagement plan in hand, you will not only turn school supporters into campaign advocates, but also engage voters who will vote YES to provide your students and staff with the teaching and learning environments they deserve.

Julianne Repman, director of communication and safety, Bend-La Pine Schools
Kerry Delf, chief of staff, Eugene School District 4J

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. – Lunch

Pivot to Video
Explore how school districts can incorporate video best practices of the corporate world into school communications -- from everyday information sharing to targeted pieces for bonds, levies and other specialized work. Learn tips and tricks of the trade, and debunk the myths and assumptions about video. And maybe there will be a cat video...or two.

Jeremy Wright, president, Wright Public Affairs

12:45-2:00 p.m. – Workshops

Rule #1: Know Thy Voters
Learn how to use data and critical survey research to align your campaign messages with today’s most frequent voter groups. Delivering the right messages to the right demographic groups helped Salem-Keizer Public Schools and Greater Albany Public Schools pass large bond measures.

Melissa Martin, survey research director, The Nelson Report
Karma Krause, capital projects public engagement specialist, Salem-Keizer Public Schools
Russ Allen, executive director of business and operations, Greater Albany Public Schools

Run a Winning Campaign on a Shoestring
A flush campaign account is always useful, but two districts are proof that bond measures can be won even when money is scarce. While the PACs in some large districts raise thousands of dollars for their bond campaigns, Nestucca Valley School District was successful with a $500 budget, and Warrenton-Hammond School District won with $10,500 in campaign contributions. Learn how the combination of an information campaign by the district and an advocacy campaign by the PAC can bring election success.

Mike Moha, business manager, and Debbie Morrow, board chair, Warrenton-Hammond School District
Misty Wharton, superintendent, Nestucca Valley School District
Parasa Chanramy, policy and implementation director, Stand For Children Oregon

How Oregon City Flipped the Numbers (36% to 63% Approval)
With only one bond win in the last 19 years, a conservative electorate and only 36% poll approval for the new bond they were proposing, things didn’t look good for Oregon City School District’s November 2018 bond measure. Even worse, the most significant need was replacing two middle schools, which garner less public support compared to elementary and high schools. To overcome these challenging odds, the team implemented the single greatest strategy available. Visit this session to learn the one thing that made all the difference!

Larry Didway, superintendent, Oregon City School District
Michael Clark, director of communications, Oregon City School District

Cruising to Safe Harbor: How to Stay Legal in Your Bond Campaign
By law, districts inform and citizen committees do the advocating in bond campaigns. But using the wrong word or illustration can push a district into legal trouble. Avoid worries about whether any of your campaign materials crossed the line by seeking “safe harbor.” Learn how Beaverton and Lake Oswego school districts worked with the Oregon Elections Division to review and okay their materials in advance to assure compliance and avoid election law complaints.

Maureen Wheeler, public communications officer, Beaverton School District
Michelle Teed, deputy director, Oregon Elections Division
Christine Moses, CEO, Buffalo Cloud Consulting

2:15-3:30 p.m. – Workshops

Increasing Student Engagement Through CTE
Today’s students require relevant, problem solving experiences and hands-on activities. Accordingly, a new generation of learning environments are being designed to allow students to move around and collaborate as they design, create and problem solve. Learn how Sherwood, Central Point and Salem-Keizer school districts worked with architects to create innovative career-technical education spaces in their schools and communities.

Karina Ruiz, principal, BRIC Architecture
Ken Bell, principal, Sherwood High School
James Orth, interim assistant superintendent, Salem-Keizer Public Schools
Samantha Steele, superintendent, Central Point School District

Your School Bond Has Passed - Now What? Tips for Continuing the Communications Effort
School districts spend staff time and money to effectively communicate about proposed bond measures, but what needs to happen after your bond passes? Find out why it's important to continue effectively communicating while your school bond projects are underway, the keys to post-bond communications success, and steps to ensure your communications resonate with your school community. Attendees will see examples of effective post-bond communications and learn what has an impact when using social media as a communication vehicle.

Athena Vadnais, APR, communications director, Gresham-Barlow School District
Jeremy Wright, president, Wright Public Affairs

Manage Your Construction Contracts
Winning at the polls is just the first step in a successful bond project. Procuring favorable contracts and reliable contractors are critical in shaping projects that come in on time and within budget. Learn about best practices and how to avoid common pitfalls in construction contracts and procurement from an experienced panel that includes attorneys, an owner’s representative and a school district bond manager.

Rob Wilkinson, partner, Ball Janik LLP and Chris Walters, Partner, Ball Janik LLP
Stephen Wasserberger, bond manager and senior project manager, Day CPM
Wes Rogers, bond manager, Oregon City School District

The ABCs of Bonds
Do you want to know how GO Bonds work in the trenches? Come to this session to learn from the leading Oregon financial consultant and Oregon bond counsel about the types of projects you can use bond funds for, how much you can legally borrow, how to calculate and communicate about the cost to your taxpayers, the details of election timing, the documentation you need and more! Then, the Manager of the TAP and OSCIM grant programs will describe how these vital programs work to help you on the path to success with your voters. The former CFO from Gresham-Barlow School District and current CFO for Beaverton School District, who has worked on multiple successful bond efforts over his career (most recently a $291 million bond measure in 2016), will share his tips for developing a bond plan and carrying it through, all while building credibility with your patrons.

Carol Samuels, managing director, Piper Sandler
Ann Sherman, partner, Hawkins, Delafield & Wood
Mike Schofield, CFO, Beaverton School District
Michael Elliott, school facilities program manager, Oregon Department of Education

Lunch Speaker: 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Jeremy Wright


Pivot to Video

Jeremy Wright has over 25 years of expertise in the political, public affairs and communications arena. He has worked with more than two dozen school districts and supportive organizations in bond and levy development, helping to pass over $3.5 billion in school funding measures since 2015 -- including the largest school bond in Oregon history. He believes in a data-centered approach to targeting voters and developing paths to victory, but says in the end, the hard work of winning comes through one-on-one conversations with voters.

OSBA Bond Election Resources

  • Oregon School Bond Manual - updated February 2020 (login required) (scroll down to locate)
    The Oregon School Bond Manual contains all the details you need to understand the long- and short-term borrowing options for school districts, education service districts and community colleges.
  • Oregon School Construction Contract Manualupdated February 2018 (login required) (scroll down to locate)
    This construction contract manual helps school districts, education service districts, charter schools and community colleges understand the procurement process and contract negotiations information for design professional and construction services.

Election Material from the Oregon Secretary of State

Election-related publications are available free on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website:
Click on “Voting & Elections,” then “Manuals, Forms, Tutorials and Election Laws," then "Manuals & Quick Guides." These manuals will be especially helpful:

  • Campaign Finance Manual (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.) - revised September 2019
    The Campaign Finance Manual includes information about Oregon campaign finance law. It is intended to provide committees and persons required to file independent expenditures with information about the requirements of campaign finance reporting. The PDF, listed under “Campaign Finance,” may be downloaded free.

Other Resources

  • Cross-Tabulated Voter Counts 
    L2 provides various election data, products and services, including Cross-Tabulated Voter Counts
    This is an image of L2 logo 93x120

Workshop Presentations

Learn From the Winners Panel/Q&A

Battling Scope Creep (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Turning a History of “No” Into “Yes”

Learn How to LOL (Local Option Levy)! (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Lunch Speaker: Pivot to Video (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Rule #1: Know Thy Voters (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)
Contact Erin Good if you did not receive your district-specific Cross-Tabulated Voter Count distributed in this workshop session.

Run a Winning Campaign on a Shoestring

How Oregon City Flipped the Numbers (36% to 63% Approval) (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Cruising to Safe Harbor: How to Stay Legal in Your Bond Campaign

Increasing Student Engagement Through CTE (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Your School Bond Has Passed - Now What? Tips for Continuing the Communications Effort (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Manage Your Construction Contracts (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

The ABCs of Bonds (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

Thank you to our Premium Partners!

new logo for pace for 2017

Property and Casualty Coverage for Education (PACE)
Dave Harvey
503-588-2800 x229;
The leading provider of property and casualty coverage for public schools, education service districts,
community colleges and charter schools.


D.A. Davidson logo

D. A. Davidson & Co.
Matt Donahue
D.A. Davidson & Co. provides investment banking and financial advisory services to school districts.



Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
Ann Sherman
Hawkins is a legal firm that provides bond counsel expertise to school districts and other issuers of municipal debt.


Piper Sandler 

Piper | Sandler
Carol Samuels
Municipal bond investment banking firm with expertise in underwriting, financial advisory services,
portfolio management and market making for fixed income securities.




Thank you to our Exhibitors

BLRB architects

BRIC Architecture, Inc.

CBRE | Heery

DAY CPM, a Division of Otak

DLR Group

Energy Trust of Oregon

KCDA Purchasing

HMK Company

IBI Group


Mersereau Shannon

Opsis Architecture

PIVOT Architecture

R & C Management Group

Soderstrom Architects

Virco Furniture MFG and Planscape Project Mgmt. FFE

Wenaha Group, Inc.



  • larger new logo for pace in 2017
  • Click to visit the Oregon Rising website.
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