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Friends mourn death of Don McIntire

Don McIntire of Gresham, arguably Oregon’s most famous anti-tax activist, was found dead, reportedly of a heart attack, on Friday, Oct. 12. He was 74.

McIntire was the chief sponsor of the 1990 Measure 5, which placed limits on Oregon property taxes.

McIntire was found by his stepson in his home, according to Gregg Clapper, a longtime friend and former owner of radio station KRDR.

Don McIntire“He’s the best guy I ever knew, and he did what he did politically for all of the right reasons,” Clapper says. “He didn’t do it for power. He didn’t do it for money. He did it for the taxpayers.”

McIntire is known as the father of Measure 5, which shifted the responsibility for school funding from property taxes and local governments to the state income tax.

Supporters say it provided much-needed tax relief, especially for senior homeowners, and curbed government spending. Opponents argue that the measure harmed public education.

Jason Williams, executive director of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon, which he co-founded with McIntire in 2000, credited McIntire for changing the fortunes of the state's residents.

“People would call and say please tell Don McIntire thank you,” Williams said. “Because of him I can now live in my home. When we cut property taxes it really kept a lot of Oregonians in their homes.”

Steve Buckstein, founder of the Cascade Policy Institute, a libertarian organization, has known McIntire since the 1970s. The two men worked together on such issues as tax limitation and school choice, he said, gathering petition signatures and trying to persuade voters of their causes.

“I think he’ll be remembered as one of the real giants of the limited government,” Buckstein said. “He was a controversial figure, but he had the capacity to keep going with this.”