PORTLAND, Ore. -- The biggest fundraiser for Special Olympics Oregon has been canceled this year. Special Olympics Oregon said they announced the decision on the Bite of Oregon's website in March.
The Bite of Oregon has been a staple event for 30 years. In a statement, organizers for the fundraiser said the event has raised significant funds, positively impacting the lives of thousands of Oregonians. But in recent years, they've also seen a significant increase in the costs and staff time associated with the event.
They said this break will allow them to focus more resources toward the most important mission: providing year-round sports opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout the state.
Special Olympics Oregon has also canceled summer, fall and winter games due to financial woes.
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Volunteers and athletes in Cottage Grove are also upset with the state organization, saying thousands of dollars went missing for their account. Michelle Portmann, a local educator, left $50,000 to Special Olympics Cottage Grove after her death in 2011. The money was supposed to be used strictly for the Cottage Grove Special Olympics.
Special Olympics Oregon said audited financial statements from 2016 show the account had $14,000 in it. But other Special Olympics Oregon records show the 2016 balance as $50,000.
The 2017 financials are still being audited.
A spokesperson with the Oregon Department of Justice told KEZI 9 News they have been in communication with Special Olympics Oregon but would not elaborate.