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March 3rd, 2010 BETH SLOVIC | News Stories
 

Gathering Pains

A second, all-volunteer effort to recall Mayor Sam Adams is getting what it paid for.

     
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NOT HIS PEN PALS: Mayor Sam Adams will learn next month if opponents gathered enough signatures for a recall.

Less than halfway to their April 20 deadline to collect 32,183 valid signatures, volunteers for the campaign to recall Mayor Sam Adams say they’re outpacing last year’s failed first attempt to force a vote on the mayor’s future.

Recall advocates say they have collected 5,000 signatures so far, a rate of about 125 a day. That’s about twice as many signatures at this point in the 90-day process as at the same point in last year’s recall.

But to succeed, they’ll have to quadruple that rate to more than 500 per day between now and April 20.

And that’s not their only challenge.

Fundraising has slowed. Contributions of $100 continue to trickle in. But even though big-name donors, like Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle and auto dealer Ron Tonkin, contributed four-figure sums, the campaign only had a total of about $20,000 as of this week. That’s more than the total of $12,000 the first recall group collected last year, but far short of recallers’ fundraising ambitions under the direction of former state Sen. Avel Gordly, the chief petitioner.

With far less money than expected, the campaign hasn’t used paid signature gatherers, although supporters still expect to do so. That will help them collect the 32,183 valid signatures of registered Portland voters they need to put the question of a mayoral recall on the city ballot, they say.

“I know we can do it with volunteers,” says Teresa McGuire, a lead volunteer. “I just know it’s a slam dunk with paid people.”

On Monday, the recall campaign also said it was losing its rented headquarters at the downtown building owned by the City of Portland at Southwest 10th Avenue and Morrison Street.

The reason is twofold. VOTE Oregon LLC, a voter canvassing company led by conservative Ross Day, held the lease to the corner office next to the MAX line. The company donated the space to the recall campaign in February as an in-kind gift. But after recall advocates declined to give VOTE the job of sending out paid canvassers to gather signatures, the company decided to end the in-kind donation and give up its lease.

McGuire asked the City of Portland to allow the recall effort to keep the $750-a-month space for six more weeks. But the city declined. On Monday, a representative of the city-owned Portland Development Commission said the city had no other parties interested in the space and that it was offering only month-to-month leases at the moment.

City officials said the nature of the campaign had no bearing on the move. “We would prefer to see an active space,” says PDC’s Katherine Krajnak. “We’re trying to set an example.”

The campaign is preparing to move. It just doesn’t know where yet.


FACT: Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, donated $7,500 to the recall. Auto dealer Ron Tonkin gave $5,000.
 
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