Mayor using social media to raise money for arts measure

Mayor using social media to raise money for arts measure

PORTLAND, Ore. - Mayor Sam Adams is lending some unique support to a November ballot measure that seeks to raise money for the arts.

Adams is using Twitter and a new Portland startup to donate money to the cause. It's a grass-roots effort that may just change how politicians across the country look at fundraising.

Art education funding was met with skepticism when KATU News asked Portland voters about it in August. That's perhaps why a big supporter of a new art tax, Mayor Sam Adams, is on a unique campaign blitz.

Over the past four days there's been a Twitter onslaught from the mayor. A tweet in support of Measure 26-146 has appeared nearly 30 different times, saying the same thing each time: "Restore arts/music ed to #Pdx's elementary schools; support arts orgs citywide: Reply 'donate' to give $1.46 via @Chirpify."

"The mayor's been using it basically since launch (of Chirpify)," said Heath Black, who works for the Portland-based company.

Black described Chirpify as "a service that allows brands, nonprofits, musicians to transact via Twitter."

And the mayor is now using it to get Measure 26-146 passed. Those who see his tweet, and want to donate, simply have to hit reply and type "donate."

"The phrase we like to use is frictionless commerce," Black said.

The mayor could prove to be one of the trendsetters using social media as a sort of grass-roots fundraiser with Chirpify happy to be the middle man.

"Spread out across the country, we have a lot of local politicians using Chirpify to raise money for their campaigns," Black said. "The process of democracy isn't just about your vote, it's about your fundraising; it's about the measures that you're trying to push out to the public to vote for and things of that sort."

But if you look at the mayor's twitter feed, you won't see all those tweets. It appears most of them were deleted. But another website,, which keeps track of even deleted tweets, shows them.

If someone does donate, it's not clear where the money goes. KATU News tried asking the mayor about that Tuesday but weren't able to reach him.