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June 4th, 2008 12:00 am JAMES PITKIN | News Stories

Hill’s Bills

The Clinton campaign owes tens of thousands to Oregon public schools.

BILL-ARY: And you will know them by their trail of debt.
IMAGE: chrisryanphoto.com

As Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination flames out, her campaign leaves behind more than $40,000 in unpaid rental costs and overtime fees at Oregon public schools where she and ex-President Bill Clinton spoke.

With nearly $20 million in declared debt as of April 30, it’s little surprise the Clinton campaign is behind on its Oregon bills. Most school officials we spoke with expressed confidence they’ll be repaid, even as the Clinton campaign tottered into the final primaries on Tuesday.

Clinton has already coughed up more than $150,000 to pay Portland-based West Coast Event Productions for organizing most of the campaign’s Oregon events. But at a time when education is a staple issue, her failure to pay public schools as promptly surprised some.

“It really, really disappoints me,” says Diane Zaske, building coordinator for the Oregon City School District, which has invoiced the Clinton campaign twice for the $1,440 it’s owed after Bill Clinton spoke April 26 at Oregon City High School.

(We also checked with many Oregon venues where Sen. Barack Obama spoke and found that his campaign—which declared $46.6 million in hand as of April 30—had paid its bills promptly.)

The list here, from five trips to Oregon by the Clintons, does not include two schools the Clinton campaign paid. Nor does it include several schools that have not yet billed the campaign or did so only recently—including McMinnville School District ($1,700), North Bend School District ($600), Redmond School District ($450) and Corvallis School District ($150). Besides schools, we included the Jackson County Fairgrounds, another publicly supported agency owed $6,500.

The Clinton campaign in this already tough week didn’t return calls seeking comment.

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OWED TO: Oregon Health & Science University

WHAT FOR: A talk by Bill on March 31 in the OHSU auditorium and an invite-only event with Hillary on May 9 where she promised better health care for sick kids she left waiting outside for more than an hour.

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Tickets for 4,107 rides on the aerial tram.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Hillsboro School District

WHAT FOR: A rally April 5 with Hillary in the Liberty High School gym with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.) and a crowd of 3,500. Prominently displayed in the gym: an athletic honor code sign promoting fair play.

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Used trumpets for 28 members of the school marching band.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Jackson County Fairgrounds

WHAT FOR: A May 8 Hillary rally with 1,200 people in Central Point, where she urged Obama supporters to hold off casting their ballots and “keep thinking.”

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Shavings to bed 300 livestock stalls.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Eugene School District

WHAT FOR: Hillary spoke April 5 to 2,500 people in the South Eugene High School gym, where she promised to clamp down on companies that export jobs and tax money out of Oregon.

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: 285 paperback copies of Eugene native Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Portland Public Schools

WHAT FOR: An April 26 appearance at Lincoln High School where Bill, who arrived more than two hours late, told the crowd of about 1,000 people that Oregon’s tradition of direct politics is “a pretty straight deal.”

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Nine years’ worth of school lunches for one student.

* * * * *


OWED TO: University of Oregon

WHAT FOR: A May 12 rally in front of 3,000 people where Bill praised the “record numbers of people giving money over the Internet. All kinds of ways.”

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: The cost of 404 trips to the campus health clinic.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Oregon City School District

WHAT FOR: An April 26 appearance by Bill at Oregon City High School.

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: A civics textbook for each member of a 27-student class.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Bend-La Pine School District

WHAT FOR: Bill spoke March 20 to about 2,500 people in the Bend Senior High School gym, where he joked that he’d offered to wash local Democratic superdelegate Wayne Kinney’s car windows. (Kinney later endorsed Obama.)

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Gas for 51 school buses from Bend to Mount Bachelor and back.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Chemeketa Community College

WHAT FOR: A March 31 rally with Bill in front of about 1,000 people, where the former president assured the Salem crowd Hillary would win the nomination.

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: Almost one full term for one student at the school.

* * * * *


OWED TO: Western Oregon University

WHAT FOR: An April 26 rally where Bill spoke to about 800 people in the school’s Old Gym. Explaining Hillary’s take on college debt, he told the students in the crowd: “Your service itself should repay your loans.”

WHAT IT WOULD BUY: 11 kegs of PBR for the 5,000 students at WOU, located in the formerly dry town of Monmouth.

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