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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Frequently Asked Questions

Budget FAQ (FY 2014-15)

What is happening with the budget?
As a result of actions previously taken by Portland City Council, the City has turned the corner and addressed many short-term and long-term fiscal challenges it was facing. Given the difficult cuts bureaus are currently implementing from last year’s budget process, and due to updates from the City Budget Office that show economic growth, increasing property values, and relatively stable inflation, the Mayor released budget guidance in October proposing a “stabilization” budget. City bureaus will still be asked to focus existing services toward the bureau’s core mission and Council priorities. This focus may mean bureaus are asked to make smaller realignments or the opportunity add new, one-time investments to bureau budgets. The goal is to maintain overall service levels.

The background information City Council considered for this upcoming budget process at a work session was presented on November 5, 2014. Information on that worksession is here.

What is the timeline for the budget process?
The budget process begins with the Mayor providing instructions to the bureaus as to how they must prepare their proposed budgets. This budget guidance was issued on October 3, 2013.

PP&R has a Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) whose members represent our labor partners, neighborhood and underserved community coalition members, and the Portland Parks Board. In November, December, and January, PP&R will hold several BAC meetings to collect feedback, including a public input meeting likely on January 8, 2014.

BAC Meetings:

  • November 5, 5:30 pm – New BAC Member Orientation
  • November 21, 5:30 pm – 1900 Building (1900 SW 4th Ave), Room 2500-B
  • December 5, 5:30 pm – Portland Building (1120 SW Fifth Ave), 2nd Floor, Conference Room B
  • January 16, 5:30 pm – Portland Building (1120 SW Fifth Ave), 2nd Floor, Conference Room B

Portland Parks & Recreation Community Budget Meeting

  • January 8, 6:00 pm – Community Comment Budget Meeting, location TBD

Citywide Budget Dates

  • February 3 – All Bureau Requested Budgets due; PP&R with Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, delivers the Requested Budget to the City Budget Office
  • March 10 – City Budget Office (CBO) reviews released
  • April 30 – General Fund forecast released
  • May 1 – Mayor announces Proposed Budget
  • May 13 – Proposed Budget document available
  • May 15 – Budget Committee hearing
  • May 28 – Budget Committee approves budget
  • June 18 – Tax Supervising & Conservation Commission (TSCC) hearing on Approved Budget
  • June 19 – Council action to adopt 2014-15 Budget

PP&R will be presenting its budget to City Council in mid-February and additional work sessions are scheduled in February. The Mayor and Council will also hear comments at public meetings. In late April, the Mayor proposes his budget. In early June, the budget is adopted. The new budget is implemented July 1, 2014. For the full City budget process, please see the City Budget Office website.

How will the community be involved?
PP&R's Budget Advisory Committee represents a broad cross-section of the community, including communities of color, traditionally-underrepresented communities, labor partners, environmental interests, social services, architects, and business leaders. The Budget Advisory Committee provides advice and community perspectives to PP&R Director Abbaté and Parks Commissioner Fritz.

PP&R will hold one community input meeting in January 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm (location TBD). The public will be given the opportunity to understand the initial recommendations and considerations of the Budget Advisory Committee. The Budget Advisory Committee, Director Abbaté, and Commissioner Fritz will use the public feedback to inform their decision-making. The community can submit budget comments to PP&R online here.

City Council will hold public meetings during the budget process. Public testimony is accepted at all public meetings. These additional forums will be organized throughout the budget process. More info on the process on Portland’s City Budget Office website.

When will we know more specifics about the final PP&R budget for next fiscal year?
City Council adopts the FY 2014-15 budget in late May, and only at that point will we know the final outcome for the next fiscal year. However, we should have a clearer picture in March or April when the Mayor releases his proposed budget and the City economist releases the next financial forecast.

How are the priorities for any additional investments or program cuts determined?
The Mayor proposed a stabilization budget and cuts are not proposed. The bureau may be asked to examine smaller realignments within the bureau or may make recommendations for new, one-time investments. In order to develop a requested budget that's in line with the City Council's direction, PP&R Director Mike Abbaté is working closely with his management team to lay out our approach. Director Abbaté and the management team will start by developing budget guidelines and objectives. Next, the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) will review and discuss the proposed budget packages. After five years of reductions, Portland Parks & Recreation believes our current programs and services represent our core functions. The BAC will consider priorities that accomplish overall objectives from PP&R’s Strategic Plan and the PP&R 2020 Vision.

What is the total Portland Parks & Recreation General Fund Budget?
This amount will be finalized in December for Fiscal Year 2014-15 when inflationary factors are calculated.

Is the current fiscal year's budget available for review?
Yes. Please see the City's Office of Management & Finance website here.

When someone makes a donation, where does it go?
Donors typically indicate a specific program or use for their contributions. PP&R honors those requests. Many donations are made through the Portland Parks Foundation and not to PP&R directly.

How do you maintain a great park system with year after year of budget cuts?
The mayor is proposing a stabilization budget this year, but it is true that Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has sustained many cuts to service over the last six years. We are proud of our Gold Medal park system and we will continue to communicate about the investment it takes to be good stewards of our natural areas, our children's health and recreation, and our community's access to parks. As the economy continues to improve, we can only hope that future years will restore our collective resources and allow us to maintain and grow this incredible system.

I’ve heard talk about a Parks bond. How does that figure into the budget picture?
Over the last century, Portlanders have preserved and built our incredible park and recreation 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.

Portland Parks & Recreation currently has three funding challenges:

  • Ongoing Operations: Last year was the fifth straight year of budget cuts for the operations and maintenance of parks. However, this year we anticipate a stabilization budget as the Mayor has proposed.
  • Long-term Maintenance: PP&R also has significant deferred maintenance and infrastructure needs. All assets have an expected lifespan of service, and some of our assets have to be repaired constantly, or have failed and have been taken out of service because the asset has expired. To keep providing the service Portlanders enjoy today, these assets periodically need to be replaced (think everything from boilers to roofs to playgrounds).
  • Equitable Service and Building the Park System for the Next Generation: We know that parks and natural are critical and affordable anchors in our city’s neighborhoods. They are places to unplug and are revered lands passed down from generation to generation. But many Portlanders don’t have a park or natural area nearby. Capital funding from a bond would allow us to provide access to parks and natural areas for a growing population and the next generation of Portlanders.

The City of Portland’s budget process focuses almost entirely on the ongoing operations portion of PP&R’s budget. This includes the daily support and maintenance needed to care for the parks and deliver recreation programs. A Parks bond would address long-term maintenance and equitable service funding challenges. A bond would fund efficiency and safety improvements to our aging infrastructure and replace assets that have expired. It’s important to note that some efficiency replacements (such as replacing windows for energy conservation) could save ongoing operations and maintenance dollars in the long run. Further, a Parks bond would provide capital funding for the construction needed to create equitable service and address critical major maintenance issues. With bond dollars, we would build the park system for the next generation, including building in neighborhoods that currently lack ready access to parks and community centers. With a Parks bond, we would also acquire and protect natural areas and wildlife habitat for the long term. The Oregon Constitution stipulates that a bond can only be used for capital projects, and not used to offset ongoing operating costs.

Please note that a bond referral is a City Council decision; we will keep you updated if it is on the horizon.