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Ballots are now arriving in the mail for one of the most hotly contested special elections in recent memory.

The fight over fluoridating Portland's water has already generated more than $855,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

The campaign in support of Ballot Measure 26-151 has raised more than $643,000. It is spending heavily on TV advertisements and mailings.

The campaign against the measure has raised more than $212,000. It has purchased billboards and is doing mailing.

Both sides also have volunteers going door to door throughout Portland neighborhoods.

The fight has produced interest splits in the community. It is supported by major health care organization and most elected officials. But Measure 26-151 is opposed by major environmental organizations and some minor political parties. Minority organizations are split on it.

Two other measures on Portland ballot have generated little controversy. Measure 26-150 would extend the Portland Children's Levy for another five years. Measure 26-152 is a five-year operating levy to improve natural areas owned by Metro, the elected regional government. They have no organized opposition.

A number of school board and special district candidates are also on the ballot.

The election is May 21. Ballot must be received in county elections offices or physically brought to official drop-off sites by that date. The deadline to register to vote has already passed.

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