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Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

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

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Replacing the Expiring Parks Bond to Fund Critical Repairs: Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT Offers Chance for Input, Questions Answered

 

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz will discuss her Parks Replacement Bond proposal tonight at a community Town Hall, including announcing specific examples of critical projects that could be funded if voters approve the bond this fall. Example projects include repairing or replacing 10 to 20 neighborhood playgrounds at risk of failing, repairing several community swimming pools to prevent emergency closures, and repairing trails and bridges to preserve access to natural areas and open spaces like Forest Park.

WHAT: A Town Hall discussion about how the Parks Replacement Bond will help address urgent maintenance needs with no increased tax rates for Portlanders. Co-hosted by Portland Parks & Recreation and Portland Parks Foundation

WHERE: Cleveland High School Cafeteria, 3400 SE 26th Ave.

WHEN: TONIGHT - June 30, 2014, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Please join us for a discussion about how the Parks Replacement Bond will help address urgent maintenance needs with no increased tax rates for Portlanders. Get your questions answered and give your input to Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Over the last century, Portlanders created and have maintained our parks system through a series of capital investments (bonds and levies). However, our park structures and facilities have finite life spans, and require ongoing investment to remain safe and accessible. As Portland’s existing parks bond—approved in 1994—is paid off in 2015, we have the opportunity to address critical park needs without increasing tax rates, by referring a Parks Replacement Bond to voters now.

A recent survey shows that more than 65 percent of Portlanders are supportive of a Replacement Bond which would not increase tax rates and would fund some of the most critical repairs to our parks system.

Get your questions answered on this unique opportunity at the Parks Replacement Bond Town Hall.

For more info, please visit ParksReplacementBond.org

BACKGROUND

A recent Portland Parks & Recreation survey shows support for Parks Replacement Bond: respondents strongly in favor of funding critical parks repairs without increasing tax rates.In order to assess support for a possible parks replacement bond, Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Portland Parks & Recreation commissioned DHM Research to conduct a representative telephone survey of Portlanders. The survey shows that, support begins at 48% but once Portlanders find out that a replacement bond would not increase tax rates and would fund some of the most critical repairs to our parks system, more than 65% are supportive. Replacing the expiring bond would generate an estimated $56-$68 million to fund critical repairs, such as:

The replacement of deteriorating playgrounds, including the Couch Park structure serving the Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC) Portland Public school, which recently had to be removed due to potentially catastrophic failureReopening and stabilizing trails such as the closed Maple Trail in Forest ParkRepairing community swimming pools to prevent emergency closures and extend usable lifeEnsuring that more facilities and natural areas are safe and accessible to all, including people with disabilitiesMaking repairs and protecting worker safety at Mount Tabor YardMaking much-needed structural repairs to Pioneer Courthouse SquareMaking other major maintenance repairs like restoring restrooms, fixing leaking roofs, and more.

Homeowners currently pay $.0877/$1000 on their assessed property value (AV) for the expiring 1994 parks bond. A replacement bond measure would replace the expiring one – without increasing property tax rates. If the 1994 bond expires in 2015 and is not replaced, the annual property tax rate paid by a typical homeowner with a home valued at $150,000 would decrease by $13.(1)

NOTE: (1) The property tax levy rate for the expiring bonds is approximately $0.0877 per $1,000 of assessed value. This is the estimated levy rate for November 2014. The proposed debt service of the new bonds would maintain the same levy rate of approximately $0.0877 beginning in November 2015. As the levy rate would stay approximately the same, the actual amount each taxpayer pays annually may change based upon possible changes in assessed value of individual property. Collection of property taxes to repay the potential new bonds would not happen until after the current bond expires.

DHM Survey Key Findings:

-With minimal information, Portlanders express support for a parks bond at 48% supporting (26% strong support, 22% somewhat support) and 12% not sure.

Support jumps to 68% (with 40% strong support) when Portlanders learn the bond is a replacement bond and will fund critical parks repairs without increasing tax rates.

-Even after learning that property taxes would go down if voters reject a bond, voters choose to keep tax rates level in order to make critical investments in our parks system.

-Opposition to the measure only grows by a few percentage points (and support drops to 65%) when Portlanders are given opposition rationale about why not to support the replacement bond.

-Among the top projects to support within the replacement bond: replacement of deteriorating playgrounds leads the pack, followed by repairing trails and bridges and conducting major repairs on community swimming pools in order to prevent closures.

Portlanders outline key reasons to support the replacement bond as being:

-because it would not increase the tax rate

-because it would focus on safety and critical repairs, andbecause it would fund removing barriers and making the parks system more accessible to all, including people with disabilities.

-Portlanders love their parks system, with a large majority (87%) ranking the quality of service as very good (32%) or good (55%).