Our Chance At Campaign Finance Reform

In November, Portland voters will have our chance to reform our city’s political-money culture.

The “Honest Elections” city charter amendment will be on the November ballot.  This initiative, which qualified for the ballot with over 55,000 signatures, will reduce the influence of big money in our city’s Mayoral and City Commissioner races.

  • Campaign donations from Individuals and organizations will be limited to $500.
  • Candidates will be able to loan their campaigns up to $5,000.
  • Individuals will be allowed to spend up to $5,000 to “independently” support a candidate.  Organizations will be able to spend up to $10,000.
  • Candidates will be required to disclose the source of their largest donations.

The name of this website is “Portland is not for sale”.  Well, the problem is, Portland actually is for sale, and is being sold, to big donors – sometimes from out of state – who contribute millions to candidates for mayor and city commissioner.  Read about it here.

Big donors and out-of-towners drown out regular Portlanders’ voices

Individuals and organizations who could write checks for $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 played an outsized role in candidates’ campaigns compared with regular people who could only spare $10, $50, or $100. At least 6,000 individuals contributed checks of $250 or less, for a total of $570,000 in donations. Their voices were overwhelmed by just 600 big donors—both individuals and organizations—who wrote checks for $1,000 or more, jointly contributing a whopping $1.7 million to local campaigns.

Similarly, out-of-town interests have outsized sway over local elections. One thousand Portland residents writing checks for $100 to $200 contributed $92,000 between them. But that figure was swamped by the $230,000 that only 20 out-of-town donors gave to Portland campaigns.”

With big money controlling our city like this, is it any wonder that Portland is for sale?

  • That the city is trying to re-zone your neighborhood so that developers can demolish houses and build apartment buildings?  (Residential Infill Project).
  • That the city is trying to drive our older brick buildings to bankruptcy, so that developers can demolish them and build high-rises?  (Unreinforced Masonry Project).

If you have only $50 to donate to a candidate – or $10, or nothing – your vote, voice, and needs should still count just as much as the out-of-town real estate investor who walks into City Hall with a $20,000 check.

In November, vote for the Honest Elections initiative.