Over the last century, Portlanders have preserved and built our incredible parks system through a series of legacy investments. Historically, voters have committed to a bond or levy about every nine years. The last levy expired in 2009 and the last bond, passed about 19 years ago, will expire in 2015.
Every day, I have the opportunity to meet and talk with people who use and love our parks. Recently, the Portland Parks Foundation funded a public opinion survey. Parks Director Mike Abbaté and I have listened closely, and understand that Portlanders are asking us to continue to stretch our dollars and past investments a little further right now.
While Portlanders are not ready to invest in a new Portland Parks bond effort this year, we are beginning a conversation about the most pressing health and safety needs in our Parks system. We start this work from a very good place. From the survey, we also learned:
- Portlanders believe we have done an excellent job creating and maintaining our Gold Medal system, often through sheer will and elbow grease. Nine in ten Portlanders (91%) give positive marks to the quality of the parks, programs, playgrounds and community centers.
- Portlanders trust us as responsible watchdogs of taxpayers’ money. Nearly two-thirds (66%) say the Bureau "is probably efficient with the money they have."
I invite you to visit Portland Parks & Recreation’s website to take a survey, and tell us what you think are the most pressing needs in our parks and recreation facilities.
At the same time, the City is crafting its 2013-2014 budget. With an expected $25 million shortfall, we anticipate difficult cuts to our programs and services. Follow the PP&R budget process online, and visit the City Budget Office online for upcoming public hearings and opportunities for comment.
Thank you for your continued support of our wonderful Portland Parks & Recreation system. I look forward to hearing from you.
Parks bureau backs away from bond plan
Jennifer Anderson in the Portland Tribune