Portland’s anti-fluoride group on Thursday reached the midpoint of their 30-day period to collect nearly 20,000 signatures from registered voters and force the issue to the ballot.
The group declined to say how many signatures have been collected as part of the referendum effort, but if fundraising is any indicator, fluoride opponents are making progress.
According to campaign finance reports filed with the state, Clean Water Portland’s referendum committee has raised $17,245 in cash and almost $4,800 from in-kind donations. The group has spent only about $1,000, indicating that it could ramp up paid signature gatherers before the Oct. 12 deadline to submit signatures for review by the city.
The referendum would block the city’s decision Sept. 12 to authorize fluoride in Portland’s drinking water, which also serves suburban customers in Gresham, Tigard and Tualatin, until it can be placed on the ballot. Otherwise, the city plans to begin fluoridating local water by March 1, 2014.
Top cash contributors to the effort so far have been Kim Kaminski, who led the opposition effort, with $1,747, the Sessions-Surtshin Living Trust with $1,500, longtime fluoride opponent Roger Burt with $1,000, former Portland businessman Bob Nagel with $1,000 and an east Portland IT analyst named Matthew Folger with $1,000.
Meanwhile, the group also has collected about $1,700 cash and received almost $1,300 for its separate initiative effort. The initiative effort would amend Portland’s charter to ban fluoride from water, but opponents need to collect nearly 30,000 signatures to force a vote.
According to a recent poll for TV station KATU, voters are split on fluoride but nearly 8 out of 10 who were polled said they wanted to vote on the topic.