People for Portland, the nonprofit political group pushing city leaders to take a more aggressive approach to homelessness, appears to have given up on its attempts to get a measure on the November ballot.

Earlier this month, the group’s political action committee Everyone Deserves Safe Shelter returned more than $360,000 in contributions to its donors. That includes large donations, such as $40,000 returned to both Killian Pacific and Schnitzer Properties.

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The People for Portland proposed ballot measure, first introduced in March, would have shifted tax money away from creating affordable housing and wraparound services in order to create emergency shelters. It would have also made it a requirement for governments in the Portland region to enforce public camping bans if they wanted to receive homeless services money.

A posting is taped near a group of tents in downtown Portland, giving notice that the area will be swept, May 20, 2022.

A posting is taped near a group of tents in downtown Portland, giving notice that the area will be swept, May 20, 2022.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

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The pot of money the group proposed using was from a tax voters in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties created in May 2020.

Like the group itself, People for Portland’s push for the ballot measure was controversial.

The group struggled to create language for the ballot measure that passed legal muster. Lawyers for Metro, the government agency charged with land use management and issues in the region, rejected their attempts. Later, a judge did the same.

Angela Martin, with the advocacy group HereTogether, said she’s happy to see People for Portland seemingly abandon its effort.

“We’re happy to know the money is being refunded and is no longer available to push a misguided, unconstitutional effort,” Martin said in a statement. “People for Portland attempted to change the will of the voters. Now, it’s time for people in our region to shift their focus back to getting people housed right now, instead of spending time debating a distracting, misleading ballot measure.”

A spokesman for People for Portland did not return OPB’s call for comment.

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