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Supporters of the city's public campaign finance program decry the influence of big campaign contributions in politics. But in the ballot measure fight on the future of the program, the supporters are the ones collecting the large contributions so far.


According to the most recent campaign filings, the group Friends of Voter-Owned Elections reports collecting more than $75,000 to support Ballot Measure 26-108, which would continue the program. Major donations include: $25,000 from Oregon AFSCME Local 75; $20,000 from the Western States Center; $15,569.50 from the League of Women Voters of Portland; and a $9,160 in-kind contribution from the Bus Project.

No contributions have been reported by Portlanders Against Taxpayer Funded Political Campaigns. Opponents of the program, however, raised thousands in an unsuccessful effort to refer it to the ballot in the past. Since then, the city has spent almost $2 million on 10 candidates, with only Amanda Fritz being elected to the City Council.

And the winner is …

Although most Portlanders have probably given up trying to follow the city's convoluted discussions over the future of the Memorial Coliseum, one group was cheered by Mayor Sam Adams' unexpected compromise proposal.

Concepts laid out in his Aug. 3 memo sound a lot like the so-called Base Case option supported by Friends of the Memorial Coliseum, the grassroots group that lobbied to prevent the city from tearing the structure down.

The group's proposal calls for preserving the coliseum in its current configuration, but bringing it up to modern building codes and standards. That is essentially what Adams is proposing, although he wants the idea of adding some athletic and arts features to be studied.

'We won. Sort of,' architect Stuart Emmons said after learning of Adams' memo to the Rose Quarter Stakeholders Advisory Committee that he appointed to help decide how to redevelop both the coliseum and surrounding Rose Quarter.

Let the speculating begin

Although Mayor Sam Adams has not yet said whether he will seek re-election in 2011, two potentially serious opponents have already taken themselves out of the running. Former Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler was appointed state treasurer early this year and is overwhelmingly favored to win the November general election for that office. Now, Metro President David Bragdon is leaving town to work for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as his director of long-term planning and sustainability.

So far, only former City Commissioner Charlie Hales has indicated that he is seriously considering a run at the office, whether or not Adams seeks re-election. Commissioner Dan Saltzman is thought to be interested, too.

A lot of candidates could jump into the race if Adams pulls out, however, including every other member of the City Council.

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