SALEM — Now that the moon and the sun are done throwing shade on the state Capitol, we can get back to business here on Planet Oregon. Summer is coming to a close, and the 2018 session of the Legislature isn’t until winter, but there’s still plenty of what passes for “action” in the government and political world.

Much of it has to do with little green men. Not space aliens — the guys named Franklin, Grant, Hamilton, Jefferson, Washington and Jackson (for now) in your wallet.

While everyone’s eyes were on the skies Monday, the two candidates for governor with the highest profiles were sweeping up campaign contributions. A smattering of the latest this and that from the first state capital of the Eclipse (eat our dust, Jefferson City!):

War chests: his

Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, is the only official candidate in the race for governor. He announced Aug. 3.

Buehler’s campaign received a huge infusion of money when Nike’s Phil Knight gave $500,000 on Aug. 14 in one check. Knight declined to comment to The Bulletin on the contribution. A Knight spokesman told the Oregonian the contribution “speaks for itself.”

Such a big amount so early to a primary candidate sends one loud message: any other Republican better bring a big wallet to the fight. With the Knight money, the “Knute for Governor” account has $888,000 cash on hand.

Notable contributions include $50,000 from Redmond-based Hayden Homes, $25,000 from construction executive Dan Harmon of West Linn, $10,000 from Bend auto dealer Jeffrey Robberson, and $2,500 from Perry Sainati, the CEO of Belden, Inc., an Illinois-based maker of high-speed transmission equipment.

War chests: hers

Gov. Kate Brown has not officially announced her candidacy for 2018, but has kept the money machine primed. The Kate Brown Committee has just over $1.5 million cash-on-hand.

Since Buehler’s announcement, some of her largest campaign contributions include $40,000 from the Coalition for a Healthy Oregon PAC in Portland, $15,000 from the Doctors for Healthy Communities PAC in Portland, and $10,000 from Local 48 Electricians PAC in Portland.

On your mark…

Candidates can actually file to run for office beginning Sept. 7. Buehler plans to file on the first day.

Oregon firsts

Workers of the world unite! Just not in spring. Labor Day was first recognized by Oregon, in 1887. It became a national holiday in 1894. Around the world, May 1 is the traditional day to honor labor. But the connection of May Day with socialist and later communist movements made it untenable to many U.S. politicians.

Build it and he will…

One of the more intriguing contributions to Brown is $25,000 from film executive Dean Devlin of Los Angeles.

Devlin has been an actor (“Martians Go Home”), screenwriter (“Independence Day”), producer (“The Patriot”), and most recently, director (“Geostorm”). His latest project is “Bad Samaritan,” starring former “Dr. Who” television actor David Tennant. The film will be released later this year.

Devlin shot much of the film in Portland, where he also has filmed parts of the television series “Leverage” and “The Librarian.”

In a 2014 profile, the Portland Business Journal said, “It’s likely that nobody in the film industry makes better use of Oregon’s film production tax incentive program than Dean Devlin.” Devlin has said with the right combination of incentives, he would love to build a film production studio in Oregon.

Constitutional changes

Two amendments to the state constitution have been approved to circulate petitions in hope of getting on the ballot in 2018.

Corvallis businessman Jeff Jimerson is leading his third major effort to ban public funds from being used for abortions. Attempts to qualify similar measures in 2012 and 2014 failed.

Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, is leading an effort to wipe out all voter records in 2020 and require re-registration, including proof of citizenship.

To qualify for the ballot, supporters must turn in 117,578 valid signatures. Since many signatures turn out to be invalid, most successful petition drives aim for about 150,000 names.

Referendum pending

The other type of ballot measure is statutory — it creates or deletes a law that does not have an impact on the constitution.

The Secretary of State has received 20 proposed ballot initiatives on issues from education to vaccinations to seceding from the United States. None has been approved for circulation of petitions. One ballot measure on the fast track is a referendum — an attempt to send a measure passed by the Legislature for voter approval.

Referendum 301 would ask voters to approve or reject the $550 million health provider tax passed by the Legislature near the end of the 2017 session. The revenue would guarantee Medicaid funding for low-income health subsidies regardless of whether the Republican-controlled Congress and President Trump repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act.

The bill squeezed through the Senate and was passed by the House by one vote. Before the bill had even gone to Brown, Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, was promising a challenge via voter referendum.

Democrats took the threat seriously and passed a bill that would require any vote be held in January. Bill opponents were angry since the vote would have come in the November 2018 general election — and once the signatures were submitted, the bill would be put on hold. Both the tax bill and the vote bill became law.

Next step is for referendum organizers to submit the required 58,789 signatures — a lower hurdle than changing the constitution.


“Eugene is located in western Oregon, approximately 278 billion miles from anything.”

— Dave Barry, humorist

— Reporter: 541-525-5280,