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Outdoor School initiative qualifies for ballot

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - A measure to use Lottery funds to pay for Outdoor School has qualified for the November general election ballot.An initiative petition to fund a statewide outdoor education program with Oregon Lottery revenue has qualified for the November general election ballot.

The Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Friday that the campaign for IP 67 gathered 93,102 valid signatures, about 5 percent more than the 88,114 requirement. The campaign turned in 135,538 signatures, but not all of those could be verified.

EO MEDIA GROUPCampaign leaders said earlier this month they were confident the proposed measure would qualify.

“We are very excited Oregonians are going to get a chance to support statewide funding for outdoor school,” said Paige Richardson, campaign director of the Outdoor School initiative.

The ballot measure would dedicate 4 percent of lottery revenue — as much as $22 million per year — to pay for a week of outdoor school for 50,000 students and 3,000 high school counselors.

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has criticized the measure because it would siphon money from other lottery-supported programs. The measure also would reduce the flexibility of the lottery fund, which has allowed lawmakers to use lottery money during the recession to sustain services, Johnson said.

“IP 67 sounds great on the surface, but it is fraught with unintended consequences,” Johnson said. “The bottom line is there is only so much money, and lottery money is the most flexible money we have, and if we are repurposing the money for specific financial obligations, we are taking it away from something else.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has until Aug. 7 to verify signatures for initiative petitions, which were due July 8. The only initiative petition still awaiting verification is a proposed measure to prohibit the sale of products made from 12 endangered species.

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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