California voters weren't willing to pony up an extra $18 each year to underwrite state parks, while their neighbors to the north voted to funnel millions into their parks.
Key difference: California wanted to tap into the controversial vehicle registration fee to prop up the parks. Oregon went for lottery funds.
The resounding defeat of Proposition 21 - 58 percent of the voters opposed it - could send a message to other states. It was expected to raise $500 million annually for state parks and wildlife programs.
The approach has gotten widespread attention since Montana first approved the fee in 2003. Unlike California, though, Montana and several others states have made the extra registration payment optional for motorists.
This week, more than two-thirds of Oregon's voters agreed to continue indefinitely dedicating 15 percent of state lottery profits each year to parks and natural resources. In 1998, two-thirds of Oregon voters approved the lottery allocation through the end of 2014. It has raised more than $800 million.
Tapping into lottery money for parks is unlikely in California, where it would take another ballot measure to change voters' 1984 decree to fund education from the lottery pool, officials said.
Opponents of California's plan argued that the vehicle fee hike was a ruse by politicians to dump responsibility for state parks on voters and continue their wasteful spending.
- Marjie Lundstrom