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Council vote closes the book on Voter-Owned Elections fund

Five-year-old program was only used successfully twice by candidates

Six years after it was created, Portland's public campaign fund - known as Voter-Owned Elections - ends Thursday afternoon with a City Council vote to close the fund at the end of the month.

The fund that spent $1.755 million on 10 candidates between primary elections in 2006 and 2010 was officially ended in the November 2010 general election when voters decided the city could no longer afford to provide public campaign funds to people running for city offices. The fund provided qualified candidates $150,000 for each election with the requirement that they use that money for their campaigns.

City Commissioners Eric Sten (2006) and Amanda Fritz (2008) were elected to their positions using the public funds. Eight others candidates, including the most recent one Jesse Cornett in 2010, were unsuccessful in their campaigns.

The fund was created in April 2004 and became effective in the summer 2005. The 2006 election was the first to use the public funds.

Thursday's vote is part of a series of decisions to adopt the city's 2011-12 budget. The council meets at 2 p.m. in City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.