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The City of Portland, Oregon

Audit Services

Audits City bureaus and programs for efficiency, effectiveness and equity

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 310, Portland, OR 97204

Parks, Recreation, and Culture

Browse our audit reports about Parks, Recreation and Culture.

Portland Parks Golf: Changes needed to ensure long-term sustainability

Intended to be self-supporting, the golf program required an infusion of $800,000 of taxpayer funds in 2017 to remain solvent. While Parks has taken steps to cut costs and increase the number of golfers, it is fighting a national trend of a sport in decline and past ineffective program management. The audit recommends presenting alternative financial scenarios to Council for direction, and improving contract oversight.

Highlights  |  Report  May 2019


Regional Arts and Culture Council: Clear City goals aligned with strong Arts Council strategy will improve arts and culture services

The City has contracted with the Regional Arts and Culture Council for more than 20 years for arts and culture services including, public art, arts education and grants. We report on three high-level objectives to inform the City’s upcoming contract negotiation with the Arts Council. We also make recommendations designed to clarify the City’s arts and culture goals, help the Arts Council articulate its strategy and regional role, and improve the City’s contract and oversight. 

Highlights  |  Report  |  Video from Work Session  | May 2018

Follow-up Report  |  July 2019


Recreation Scholarships: Conflicting policy direction and communication barriers limit access

The City wants community centers to charge fees for activities while also ensuring access to residents. When scholarships are provided, centers lose funds needed to operate. Not all centers are able to provide the same access because centers balance the competing needs of access and revenue. The audit recommends updating the scholarship policy, budgeting for scholarships and reporting on program performance, and developing an outreach plan.

Highlights  |  Report  |   Video  |   March 2018

Follow-up Report  |  April 2019 


Tree Code: Implementation phase shows progress and pitfalls

A comprehensive set of rules about trees went into effect in 2015 and applies to more trees than before. Initial results show improved protections for some trees but less positive results for other trees, as well as issues with implementation. We recommended addressing workload, technology, and compliance issues, as well as updating and aligning City plans and priorities.

Highlights  |  Report  |  September 2017  


Arts Tax: Promises to voters only partly fulfilled

In 2012, Portland voters approved a tax of $35 per person to fund art and music in schools and to support arts organizations. This audit reviews implementation of the tax to see if the promises made to voters in the ballot language were kept.

Highlights  |  Report  |  July 2015


Portland Parks and Recreation: Managing diverse assets requires evaluation of maintenance

Parks does not have an adequate understanding of whether its maintenance practices are efficient and effective. Specifically, we found clear maintenance expectations are needed to evaluate against maintenance efforts; more emphasis is needed on maintenance during planning, design and construction decisions; maintenance data could be better managed and used in decisions; preparation is needed to transition from reactive to more preventive maintenance; and a more robust performance measurement is needed to evaluate maintenance.

Report  |  August 2013 


Further audits about Parks, Recreation and Culture 

Portland Center for the Performing Arts: Outsourced management good for the City, but agreements and oversight need improvement (Report 393) - 6/30/11

Percent for Art: Progress made, but consistency can be improved (Report 401) – 2/17/11