PORTLAND Proponents of fluoride conceded Tuesday evening after the measure was losing at close to 60 percent after 129,663 ballots were counted in Multnomah County.

Turnout Tuesday was near 36 percent, which was high for an off-year election.

The Portland City Council voted for fluoridation last fall. But an anti-fluoride group collected enough signatures to put it to a vote. Votes in three previous elections have rejected it.

Phone canvassers on Monday were working at Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland -- the pro-fluoride campaign. They also had people going door to door. Clean Water Portland, the anti-fluoride campaign, was also working the voters in the final hours, arguing fluoride is not healthy.

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City Code specifies that a referendum measure should be placed on the ballot at the next biennial primary or general election unless public interest in a prompt resolution of the question outweighs the costs associated with a special election.

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