The Nature Conservancy
last week poured another $200,000
into the effort to qualify a parks-funding amendment to the Oregon Constitution for the November ballot.
That brings to nearly $900,000 the amount the Nature Conservancy has contributed toward a measure
that would make permanent an expiring law that sets aside 15 percent of Oregon Lottery proceeds for parks. That total should be more than enough to qualify the measure for the ballot, despite an earlier hiccup
But some Salem insiders say the ballot measure, earlier seen as passing easily, may be imperiled by the $577 million budget deficit
revealed in the state's recently released quarterly revenue forecast. They say that budget hole will make it harder to convince voters to spend money on parks when teachers and other front-line public employees face layoffs.
Jessica Moskovitz — a spokeswoman for Oregonians for Water, Parks and Wildlife
, the group that is running the campaign for the parks measure — was not immediately available for comment.
at 4:20 pm: Moskovitz does not think budget woes have changed anything.
"I was personally out on the street collecting signatures this weekend," she says. "I didn't see a change in people's desire to protect clean water and parks. I think voters understand that this measure includes no new spending and no cuts to other services."