Vegas Resident Loren Parks Ranks as Oregon’s Top Initiative Donor

Three proposals, including one for a larger state tax deduction, fetch $250,000 Loren Parks, once the top donor to political causes in Oregon, has returned as the biggest contributor to initiatives trying to make the statewide Nov. 7 ballot — even though he lives in Las Vegas. Parks has contributed more than $250,000 so far to three proposals. Most of that money was listed in two campaign finance reports filed Monday but not made public until Tuesday by the state Elections Division.

One of those reports showed that Parks contributed $112,500 for an initiative that would allow Oregon taxpayers to claim the same income tax deduction on their state tax return as on their federal return. Parks’ donation was reported as a Dec. 9 payment to Democracy Direct Inc., a signature-gathering company based in Clackamas.

Patty Wentz, a spokeswoman for Our Oregon, a coalition of liberal groups, opposes the tax measure, saying it would cost the state $835 million a year in revenue.

Another report showed that a group called the Oregon Family Farm Association had contributed just less than $80,000 for an initiative that would require Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges to be elected by geographic district rather than in statewide votes as they are now.

Last year, the family farm group reported that Parks had given it $100,000 on Aug. 5 to support the judges proposal.

Chief petitioners for both proposals are Carol and Abner Bobo of Oregon City, who have worked with anti-tax petitioner Bill Sizemore on past initiatives, and Russ Walker of Keizer. Walker is the state director for FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based group.

Parks also contributed $64,500 to Sizemore’s proposal to prohibit insurance companies from using credit scores in calculating rates. And Sizemore expects Parks to contribute another $34,500 to that initiative.