It's been another busy (and fruitful!) few weeks on the phones for Commissioner Dan Saltzman and his crack campaign staff—proving, once more, that the four-term dean of city hall is still very much taking seriously his bid at serving through (almost) the end of the decade.
Since I last posted about Saltzman's early fundraising efforts, back on October 28, he and his staff have reported an additional $12,500 in new contributions, according to state campaign finance records. That three-week burst amounts to more than a third of the $33,719 he's raised so far this year.
That new money also has come via big checks from just a relative handful of wealthy households and their businesses—shedding some interesting light on Saltzman's early fundraising strategy. By building as big a pile of cash as he can right now, he'll scare off all but the most long-shot opponents. (It's immensely difficult to unseat incumbents in Portland, and it's gotten even more difficult with the demise of public campaign financing.)
For example? A quarter of that new cash—$3,000—has come from two households and their businesses.
The MEI Group (a company that had a multimillion-dollar contract with the Bureau of Environmental Services when Saltzman ran it) wrote Saltzman a $500 check. And so did two of its principles, Roy and Kathy Moore. Saltzman also got a $500 check from Oregon Pacific Investment and Development, a real estate firm with holdings in the metro area and beyond, and another from each of its principles, Julie Leuvrey, and her husband, Eric.
That strategy's also been in play, to a lesser degree, with some other moneyed Portlanders and their businesses. Harold Pollin, owner of the Sheraton out by the airport, gave $1,000 under his name and his hotel holding company's name. Philanthropist Irwin Holzman did the same, giving $1,000 between himself and his car loan credit company, Reliable Credit Association. And so did Robert Walsh of Walsh Construction.
Saltzman's other big donors are no slouches either: Terry Bean, Robert Ball of Ball Janik (not Bob Ball the developer), Standard Insurance, and United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 555.
And then there's his landlord, at least for his campaign operation. It's property management firm Melvin Mark, whose president, Scott Andrews, is chairman of the Portland Development Commission and has to answer to Saltzman and other city commissioners when it comes to votes on the city budget and urban renewal policy. (Saltzman, as housing bureau commissioner, has been keenly listening to the concerns of developers and others worried about the fate of the PDC.)
Is Saltzman paying Melvin Mark? Not quite. Melvin Mark is another contributor, kindly donating office space and parking to Saltzman's campaign staff. So far, that "in-kind" contribution has been worth more than $2,700.