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Eye On Olympia

Eyman: Home a-loan…

OK, so that's a crappy headline. But in what is either a sign of desperation or a novel way to light a fire under campaign donors, initiative promoter Tim Eyman says he's taking out a $250,000 second mortgage on his Mukilteo home in order to pay signature gatherers.

He hopes to get that money back from contributors.

Initiative 985, in case you've misplaced your scorecard, would open up carpool lanes to all vehicles in off-peak hours and steer red-light camera money into anti-congestion projects, among other things. (Spokane readers: that last item means that your red-light fine could pay for smoother traffic in, umm, Seattle, but I'll write more about that if I-985 makes it to the ballot.)

Eyman says the campaign has raised nearly $280,000, but needs $290,000 more to pay signature gatherers now. For the measure to appear on the fall ballot, Eyman needs about 250,000 valid signatures by July 3rd.

In recent years, Woodinville investor Mike Dunmire has shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Eyman's measures and a "compensation fund" for Eyman and his Spokane partners, Mike and Jack Fagan.

But that well may be running dry. In a letter to supporters Tuesday, Eyman said Dunmire informed him that

"because of charitable donations and other obligations, we can't count on anything more from him in the foreseeable future."

Hence the loan. Eyman hopes that donations in the coming months will repay it.

"I'm jumping off a big cliff," he wrote to contributors. "Please help catch me."

The 3-bedroom, 3-bath, 3-car-garage home on a golf course that Eyman bought a decade ago for $433,000 is now worth $844,000, according to the local county assessor's office.

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