Elections

Signature Gathering Fueled By Handful of Donors

OPB | July 7, 2008 2:39 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:15 a.m. | Salem, OR

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By Chris Lehman

Thursday was the deadline to submit signatures to get measures on this fall’s ballot in Oregon.  Five measures have already qualified, with a half-dozen more poised to make it.

At least half of the money that went towards signature gathering efforts came from a single source:  Nevada businessman Loren Parks.

That’s according to a non-profit watchdog group called Democracy Reform Oregon.

The group’s director, Janice Thompson, says the concentration of so much money should raise questions in the minds of voters.

Janice Thompson:  “Are the interests of this one large donor consistent with the interests of typical Oregonians who do not have $1.1 million in their back pockets to put measures on the ballot?”

Most of the Parks-funded measures involve conservative causes such as English-only education and merit pay for teachers.

Washington voters won’t have as many initiatives to consider.  At most three will be on the ballot.

The most controversial could be a physician-assisted suicide proposal based on Oregon’s Death With Dignity law.

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