The Protect Our Salmon Committee, a group trying to place a measure on the 2012 ballot that would mostly ban gill-netting and tangle-netting on the Columbia River and other Oregon waters reported a whopper of a check over the weekend—$250,000 from Norman Brenden. That contribution is the largest by far any individual or group has made in Oregon in 2012.

Brenden was formerly the chief financial officer of the Holiday Retirement Group, a Salem-based developer of senior living projects that Fortress Investment Group, a New York private equity firm bought in 2007 for $6.8 billion (yes, with a "b") dollars. Holiday was one of the largest companies in Oregon but flew almost entirely beneath the radar until 2006 when Brenden and the firm's founder, William Colson, contributed heavily to GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton.

Now, Brenden, who lists Olympia, Wash., as his home on his contribution, is joining Loren Parks, the reclusive medical products tycoon, in financing the salmon ballot measure. Parks previously gave $20,000. Brenden has now given a total of $355,000 to the campaign.