ESTACADA, Ore. (AP) _ Residents of this small northwest Oregon town on Tuesday rejected for the third time this year a $4.5 million property-tax levy needed to keep its schools from closing, officials said.

The Estacada School District board has authorized the borrowing up to $1.8 million to keep schools open through Dec. 5, so the district's six schools would not close immediately.

The district has 2,119 students in Grades 1 through 12.

The vote Tuesday was 1,323 to 1,160, and schools Superintendent Gail Foster Perkins said the rejection likely stemmed from voters' belief there were too many taxes, and because many residents no longer have children in school.

The board probably will cut back school services before another levy is submitted to voters, she said, adding that one elementary school might be closed and interscholastic athletics could be eliminated.

Schools were closed for 11 days in 1981 following a series of levy defeats. Voters have rejected the tax twice so far this year, the last time Sept. 16 in a mail election.

Another levy vote probably will be held Dec. 2, district business manager Bill Packard said.

Estacada is one of several Oregon school districts with an outdated property-tax base, the amount under Oregon law that can be levied annually without voter approval.

The small tax base, which approved by voters in 1926, forces the district to return to voters annually for supplemental one-year operating levies to balance its budget.

A group opposed to the levy charged that the school board and administration had ignored its proposal to cut $1.8 million from the budget.

Estacada, about 20 miles southeast of Portland, has 1,725 residents.