Portlanders for Schools, the campaign fund for both Portland Public Schools' $548 million construction bond and its $57 million-a-year operating levy, recently crossed the half-million mark in fund-raising.
To date, the group has raised just over $577,ooo for the two tax-increase measures on the May ballot.
Among the top donors in recent weeks: Walsh Construction gave $12,500, for a total now of $25,000; THA Architecture gave $2,000; P&C Construction Company gave $5,000; Eileen Brady, co-founder of New Seasons gave $2,500; Skanska, another construction company, pledged $25,000.
Notably absent (so far, anyway) is the Portland Association of Teachers union, which earlier this month reached a contract agreement with the school district that gave raises to teachers. The union has endorsed both measures.
Some of the campaign's success is due to the heavy hitters on the campaign's leadership team, which includes Mayor Sam Adams and Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen. Also on that team are former city Commissioners Charlie Hales and Jim Francesconi.
In an interview with WW last month, Adams bragged about raising beaucoup bucks for the pro-schools campaign. This raises an interesting point. Adams is expected to run for re-election in 2012 yet he has raised no money for his mayoral ambitions in 2011. (He's actually about $150 in the hole at the moment.)
By working for the schools campaign, Adams gets himself in front of deep-pocketed donors for intimate conversations without actually having to ask them for money for his own campaign. Months from now, it will be fascinating to see how many of those schools donors then give to Adams' mayoral race. That same future question also applies to Cogen, Hales and Francesconi. Each of the three appears on insiders' lists of potential Adams challengers, with Hales the most likely to run.