1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
Posted February 5, 2019
General Budget Process Overview
The City of Portland develops an annual budget. That means, every year, every bureau works with their Commissioner’s Office to develop a Requested Budget that is submitted to the City Budget Office and the Mayor. Then, the Mayor develops his Proposed Budget for the entire City of Portland and works with City Council, all bureaus and the community to finalize the budget. City Council formally adopts the budget in June.
Portland Parks & Recreation begins its budget process in October, eight months before the budget is adopted. The Parks budget process goes from October through February when we submit our Requested Budget to the City Budget Office. Then, a process led by City Council begins.
Parks uses several points of information to develop our Requested Budget. These include:
BAC meetings are open to the public.
Dear Friends and Partners,
Over the last several months, the new leadership team at Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has been taking a deep dive into our budget and programs. We do this work as we prepare to onboard our new Director—more news on her soon.
This year, Mayor Wheeler has also introduced a new budget process. It's allowed us to take a fresh look – line by line – at our costs and our revenue.
What we’ve learned is that there is a growing structural problem in the bureau’s budget. Right now, it’s a gap large enough that the strategies we have employed in past years to handle growing expenses no longer work.
PP&R has grown significantly in the last decade, introducing new programs, new facilities, new services, and additional staff to meet community and Council expectations. Each year, the bureau's costs have grown while revenue from fees has remained relatively flat. This is especially significant in the recreation division, where half of the budget is funded by fees.
In recent years, one-time strategies—like not hiring for vacant positions—have allowed the bureau to patch the hole. But they have not addressed the underlying problem.
Current projections show up to a $7 million gap next fiscal year, in a $94 million operating budget. You can find an FAQ with more detailed information here.
In the months ahead, Council and PP&R will have to make hard choices. Fixing the problem will require changes that affect programs, services, and staff. Effective immediately, we have directed PP&R managers to severely limit hiring, spending, and training.
In the coming weeks, as we identify and develop strategies to fix the gap, and as we increase our understanding of the effects of those strategies, our staff and organizational resources will be limited. We know that you will have many questions, but we ask for your patience during this time.
As we develop a long-term, sustainable plan to bring costs in line with revenues, we'll continue to consult with the community and you, our friends and partners. Our goal is to put Portland Parks & Recreation on solid financial footing while continuing to deliver the high-quality services our community expects.
As always, there will be opportunities for you to weigh in. Please don’t hesitate to email us any time at ParksBudget@portlandoregon.gov. And you can learn more about ways to give feedback on the budget here.
Thank you for your support of our parks system.
Kia Selley Nick Fish
Interim Director City Commissioner
Portland Parks Board Members
The following Parks and City Budget Office staff (non-represented) attend BAC meetings to provide answers to questions and additional facilitation and background