While understanding that any increase in property taxes may be difficult for some, the North Portland Parks Advisory Group recommends passage of the Portland Parks & Recreation Levy.
Why is a Levy Needed Now?
After closing pools and community centers due to COVID-19, Portland Park & Recreation (PP&R) lost over $16 million in revenue from March through September 2020. To have sufficient funds to reopen these facilities by the summer of 2021, the Levy needs to pass.
What would the Levy do?
- Protect and maintain parks, natural areas, streams, wetlands, trees, and other natural features in urban areas by increasing the removal of invasive species, pruning, planting, and maintaining trails.
- Expand programs for people of color and children experiencing poverty so they can connect with nature.
- Fund recreation programs, community centers, and pools, including funding to reopen all 12 community and arts centers and 12 indoor and outdoor pools.
- Provide park maintenance, restroom cleaning, playground inspections and repairs and increase litter and biohazard removal.
- As a result of the COVID-related closures, 1,700 recreation program employees, many youth, were not hired for the summer. The levy will prevent further job cuts for the workers who care for our parks and provide recreation services.
Who will decide how the money will be spent?
PP&R would work with the community to manage the proposed operating levy. If the measure passes, a five-member oversight committee would report annually to City Council after reviewing proposed levy expenditures and annual audits. City Council would approve levy budgets annually.
How much will it cost?
The proposed levy of $0.80 per $1,000 of Assessed Value would raise approximately $48 million per year for five years. A homeowner with a home valued at $200,000 Assessed Value, approximately Portland’s median value, would pay about $151 per year or about $13 a month.
A main goal of this levy is to reopen parks and recreational facilities for all, ensuring those on limited incomes have access with no fees/barriers to participation. PP&R is working on a simplified process to qualify for free participation.