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Portland Parks Golf program teeing up to meet recommendations from 2019 audit

News Article
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This is a two-year follow-up to our 2019 report, "Portland Parks Golf: Changes needed to ensure long-term sustainability."
In this article

​Auditor: Bob MacKay, Performance Auditor II

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This is our second follow up on our 2019 report, Portland Parks Golf: Changes needed to ensure long-term sustainability. In that report we found that although the golf fund was intended to be self-supporting, it required an additional $800,000 to remain solvent. With dwindling reserves, basic maintenance needs were being met, but a backlog of larger deferred projects increased at course facilities. We also found lax contract management.

Two of four recommendations have not been implemented yet, and the golf program is addressing them with the help of a consultant. Full implementation is dependent on finalizing a contract for a comprehensive clubhouse operator, which its scheduled to be out for bid in mid-2022. The two remaining recommendations have been implemented.

Two recommendations in process

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  • We recommended that Parks present alternative financial forecast scenarios to Council for direction on the future of the golf program that include factors such as:

    · Deferred maintenance;
    · Course improvements;
    · Level of fee support; and
    · Reserves to weather future downturns.

    The program is working with a consultant to compile information, analyze the program’s financial future, and identify opportunities for programmatic improvement. The consultant will also provide support for the comprehensive golf clubhouse operator request for proposal, which was rescheduled for release in mid-2022. To help address its maintenance backlog, the program said it would develop a capital sub-fund for planning and tracking purposes. Recent strong performance of the fund has allowed the program to develop reserves to weather future downturns and begin creating a plan for capital improvements.
  • We recommended that the program define the mission for golf in contracts and make operators accountable partners in that mission. Operators should share in both risks and rewards.
    In the spring of 2021, the program contracted with a consultant to develop a comprehensive solicitation for proposals. The scope of work includes research and financial assessment of the Golf Program and local market. Provisions in the request for proposals are intended to help define the new operating contracts.

Two recommendations implemented

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  • We recommended the program improve monitoring to ensure contract provisions were followed.
    The program continues to monitor the existing contracts while the request for proposal is being developed. Recent examples include identifying maintenance issues and repairing the driving range nets at Eastmoreland Golf Course and a pro-active removal of an underutilized deck at Colwood Golf Center.

  • We recommended the program present contracts to City Council for approval and renewal.
    Parks asked Council to extend the management contracts for Heron Lakes and Colwood Golf Center to the fall of 2022. They now will expire at the same time as those for the Eastmoreland and Rose City Golf courses. The contract for the comprehensive clubhouse operator will cover clubhouses at all four eastside courses.

View the 2019 audit report and recommendations and our 1-year follow up report.

Visit our online dashboard to track the status of recommendations from other reports


Leslie Chaires

Communications and Outreach Coordinator