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Emergency Ordinance

*Approve grant renewal funding recommendations made by Portland Children’s Levy Allocation Committee for July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2025


The City of Portland ordains:

Section 1.  The Council finds:

  1. The City proposed and voters approved a local option property tax levy at the November 5, 2002, general election to fund programs to help children in Portland. The levy created the Portland Children’s Levy to make targeted investments in proven programs. A five-person citizen Allocation Committee was created to make recommendations regarding the expenditure of levy funds.
  2. In May 2018 voters approved a third renewal of the local property tax levy to continue supporting the Portland Children’s Levy to invest in proven programs in the areas of early childhood, child abuse prevention and intervention, foster care, after-school, mentoring and hunger relief from July 2019 through June 2024.
  3. A fourth renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy is on the May 16, 2023 special election ballot, and if approved by voters, will run from July 2024 through June 2029.
  4. On April 18, 2023, the Allocation Committee voted to renew the early childhood, child abuse prevention and intervention and foster care, afterschool, mentoring and hunger relief grants set forth in Portland Children’s Levy Grant Renewal Recommendations FY 2024 – FY 2025 (Exhibit A) and the supporting memorandum (Exhibit B).  Funding for FY 2025 will depend on voters approving a Levy renewal on May 16, 2023.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

  1. The funding recommendations made by the Children’s Levy Allocation Committee described in Exhibit A and Exhibit B are approved. The Director of the Portland Children’s Levy is authorized to enter into agreements awarding grants substantially similar to those contemplated in the Allocation Committee funding recommendations to the organizations identified in the funding recommendations listed in Exhibit A.
  2. In the event that any grantee becomes unwilling or unable to use City grant funds in a manner consistent with a grant agreement that is authorized by this ordinance, the Director is hereby authorized to terminate the grant agreement in accordance with its terms, and execute a new grant agreement with a different grantee provided that (1) the funding allocated for the new grant agreement is equal to the amount of unspent funds allocated by this ordinance for the terminated agreement, and (2) the scope of work stated in the new agreement is substantially the same as the scope of work in the terminated agreement.
  3. The Mayor and City Auditor are hereby authorized to pay for the grant awards from the Portland Children’s Levy.

Section 2.  The Council declares that an emergency exists because a delay in approving the attached agreement would jeopardize the ability of the City to fund these vital programs in a timely manner; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.

An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)

Passed by Council

Auditor of the City of Portland
Simone Rede

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

In November 2002, Portland voters approved the Portland Children’s Levy (PCL).  The Levy was most recently renewed by voters in May 2018 to run from July 2019 through June 2024.  The Levy generates $20-23 million annually for programs benefitting Portland children in early childhood, after-school, mentoring, child abuse prevention and intervention, foster care and hunger relief. Administrative costs for the fund are capped at 5% of revenues and the fund obtains annual audits to assure compliance with the administrative cap.

The Levy was recently referred to the May 16, 2023 special election ballot for a fourth renewal to run from July 2024 through June 2029.  A copy of the Ordinance referring the Levy to voters including ballot language and Act governing Levy operations is attached to this memorandum and titled: Resolution No. 37610.

An Allocation Committee governs PCL and grants funds to programs serving children and families residing in the City of Portland.  The Allocation Committee is comprised of a member of City Council (Commissioner Dan Ryan), a County Commissioner (Chair Jessica Vega Pederson), a representative of the business community appointed by the mayor (Mitch Hornecker), a citizen member appointed by the County Board (Felicia Tripp Folsom), and a citizen member appointed by the Mayor (Traci Rossi). 

PCL provides 3-year initial grants in a competitive process, with the possibility of a 2-year renewal depending on program performance. 

The purpose is to allow the Children’s Levy to award a total of $58,146,740 to after school, child abuse prevention and intervention, early childhood, foster care, hunger relief and mentoring programs as outlined in the memo entitled “Ordinance to Approve grant renewal recommendations made by Children’s Levy Allocation Committee for July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2025,  and “Exhibit A:  “Portland Children’s Levy Grant Renewal Recommendations FY 2024-FY2025."

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

There are no costs to the City general fund.  Children’s Levy revenues are generated by a special property tax levy and the proceeds of the levy will fund the proposed allocations.  The current levy runs June 2019 through June 2024; if the Levy is renewed on May 16, 2023, the renewed Levy will run July 2024 through June 2029.

The legislation will result in continuing 79 grants with non-profit corporations (501(c)(3), local education agencies, community colleges and/or universities.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

Community impacts

Children and families disproportionately impacted by historical inequities gain access to culturally specific and responsive program services funded by the Children’s Levy.  All services contribute to achieving established Children’s Levy goals outlined in the table below and support children, youth and parents to achieve positive outcomes.

Children’s Levy Goals


  • Prepare children for school.
  • Support children’s success inside and outside of school.
  • Reduce racial and ethnic disparities in children’s well-being and school success.

Early Childhood

Support children’s early development and readiness for kindergarten.

Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

Prevent child abuse and neglect and support vulnerable families.

Foster Care

Support the well-being and development of children and youth in foster care.

After School

Provide safe and constructive after-school and summer programming that supports children’s well-being and school success.


Connect children and youth with caring adult role models that support their well-being.

Hunger Relief

Expand access to healthy, nutritious food for hungry children.

Non-hunger relief programs serve between 8,500-10,000 children annually, with 75%-80% identifying as Black, Indigenous or of color, 35-40% living/going to school in East Portland, and 40%-45% from homes where the primary language is not English.  Hunger relief programs serve 12,000-17,000 children annually.  In 2021-22, programs achieved the following outcomes:

  • Early Childhood Programs: 87% of children met expected developmental milestones; 91% of those not on track for developmental milestones were referred for additional support; 97% of parents met parenting goals.
  • Child Abuse Prevention/Intervention Programs: 86% of parents met parenting practice goals; 86% of parents reported increased safety and stability.
  • Foster Care Programs: 96% of youth met academic goals; 100% of youth met positive youth development goals.
  • After School Programs: 95% of children/youth met youth development outcomes.
  • Mentoring Programs: 97% of youth met school engagement outcomes.
  • Small Grants: 92% of youth met academic goals.

Community involvement

The Levy provides 3-year initial grants in a competitive process, with the possibility of a 2-year renewal depending on program performance.  The 2-year renewal grants requested for Council approval were all initially funded in the 2019-2020 competitive funding round. 

Extensive community engagement was done before the 2019-20 competitive funding round in which these renewal grants were initially funded.  Please see the memo for details on the 2019 community engagement process. Briefly, Empress Rules Equity Consulting to designed and conducted a community engagement process to inform the 2019-20 funding round. They engaged over 500 people using surveys and focus groups, analyzed their input, and reported the results. Diverse community members gave input on qualities and features services should have, and preferred types of services in each program area. Participants in the public engagement process included youth and parents with disabilities, foster youth and foster parents, immigrants and refugees, people who primarily speak languages other than English and people who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color.  Translation, interpretation and other accommodations were provided to assure broad participation of community members.  The community engagement report focused on equity and inclusion practices and advised funding services that:

• Are culturally relevant, responsive and focused, and trauma informed;

• Listen and respond to the voice and preferences of youth and families;

• Pay attention to accessibility and address barriers to access including hours of  

  operation, location and transportation;

• Employ staff who are of and grounded in the cultural communities they serve.

PCL relied on these results in drafting the Request for Investment (funding application) in each program area, and in creating the scoring criteria for proposals.  Public input (written and oral) was invited and received on the draft Requests for Investment and scoring criteria before publication.  PCL recruited and trained 65 community members to score RFIs, and applicants provided written and recorded oral testimony to the Allocation Committee after receiving application scores and staff recommendations, and before the Allocation Committee made decisions. 

The Children’s Levy is not aware of specific groups or individuals who plan to testify before City Council regarding this item.

100% Renewable Goal

This action does not contribute to the City’s goal of meeting 100 percent of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2050.

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

The source of funding for these grant renewals are from the Children’s Investment Fund, with revenue generated by the Portland Children’s Levy, a special property tax levy. 

Agenda Items

414 Regular Agenda in May 24, 2023 Council Agenda


  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea


Darion Jones

Policy Advisor & Constituent Relations Coordinator

Requested Agenda Type


Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Time Requested
15 minutes