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.
A Message from Director Adena Long
May 7, 2020
Today, Mayor Wheeler released his FY 2020-21 Proposed Budget.
Last year, we went through the difficult but necessary process of balancing our budget, addressing the structural funding gap, and beginning the work for a sustainable future. This year, we were prepared to deliver a balanced budget. Then COVID-19 changed the world and PP&R with it.
We acted quickly to protect our community and our staff from COVID-19, and the decisions we’ve made have been guided by the following values:
- promote and protect the health of our PP&R team;
- serve the community by activating in-person and virtual opportunities to prevent all forms of illness and keep community members safe, connected, and healthy; and,
- focus our resources using an equity lens to help those most in need.
Under the guidance of public health officials and following executive orders by Governor Brown and Mayor Wheeler, PP&R has closed pools, community centers, and art centers; closed all playgrounds, sports fields and courts, and skate parks; canceled PP&R events like Stand with Refugees and Immigrants, Washington Park Summer Festival, and the Portland World Soccer Tournament; and canceled all permitted events in parks.
These actions have helped diminish the spread of COVID-19 in our community, but they’ve had a profound impact on our team. We had to lay off and not hire hundreds of valuable seasonal staff. We had to indefinitely pause programs where we had invested time and resources. And we have been separated from the families we serve, our community partners, and the work we love.
I am so proud the work you have done during this public health crisis. We have continued to show up and to serve the community during this crisis, especially the Portlanders who are most vulnerable. Three community centers have been temporarily converted into shelters, and we prioritized resources to get food to families experiencing hunger. We opened restrooms for 24/7 access and added hand washing stations to support personal hygiene, and we turned on water fountains to help people have access to drinking water. We redeployed team members to become Park Greeters to ensure people are using neighborhood parks safely, make face coverings for our co-workers, and serve in leadership roles in the City’s Emergency Command Center (ECC). We have also continued to do the vital work of keeping parks and natural areas clean and safe, responding to tree maintenance emergencies, and operating our community gardens.
COVID-19’s impacts on PP&R and the rest of the world will not be short-lived. As you know, our operations in Recreation Services, Urban Forestry, and bureau-wide depend on revenue from our community centers, classes, swimming lessons, tree permits, permitted events, and more. Closures and cancellations mean that we do not earn those necessary revenues. The City’s general fund will also see significant impacts, and every bureau is being asked to make changes.
In short, here’s what that means for PP&R today:
- Pools, community and art centers, and programs will remain closed or canceled through the summer, and we will continue to be unable to earn revenue at least until September. After summer, our service levels and revenue earnings are uncertain and will be based on guidance from public health officials and direction from Governor Brown and Mayor Wheeler.
- As previously announced, as directed by the City, non-represented staff will not receive merit raises or cost of living adjustments and will take furlough days to reduce expenses.
- We will focus our summer Recreation resources on an enhanced Lunch + Play program.
- PP&R has been given a tentative General Fund one-time reduction target of $1.5 million. With other City bureaus, PP&R is being asked to identify additional cost savings in a FY 2020-21 budget adjustment to be completed in September.This number may grow depending on a variety of citywide cost-saving measures.
- Our total reduction target will be determined once our finance team has a chance to work with managers and supervisors to adjust revenue projections for the year. We will then begin a process for identifying costs savings that will, to the best of our abilities, preserve core bureau functions, minimize layoffs, and advance our values of equity, safety, maintenance, and financial sustainability. The PP&R budget development process will include input from the PP&R team, Parks Board, and our Budget Advisory Committee.
- A public process for this summer has yet to be developed, but in the meantime, the City Budget Office (CBO) has created a form for public input.
This is hard news for us all, especially as each of us experiences the health, social, and economic changes brought by COVID-19 in our personal lives. I know that you are dedicated to our mission, and I also understand that your job security and financial sustainability are priorities for you and your family. Staff reductions are possible as we begin to recover, but those decisions have not been made. We will be transparent as plans are developed to address this public health crisis’ effect on PP&R’s budget and team.
Throughout COVID-19, we have continued to work toward a sustainable future and fulfilling Commissioner Fish’s vision. Right now, our neighbors understand, maybe more than ever, how critical our parks system is to our City’s health and wellness, and to the cohesiveness of our community. Portlanders are also missing their community centers and pools and Recreation Services team members. We will continue the community and Council dialogue to gauge Portlanders’ willingness to reinvest in our parks and recreation system. This work will help us understand what the public is interested in funding, how much they are willing to invest, and when the most appropriate time for any future ballot measure will be.
We will get through this, together. It will be challenging, but we will adapt and learn from this experience. My hope is that we emerge from this unprecedented crisis stronger, more resilient, and still on our path to a sustainable future. Until then, please communicate with your colleagues and supervisor, and remember that you have access to our Employee Assistance Program if you need additional support.
I am so proud of the ways we have stepped up to serve the community during this public health emergency. Thank you for everything you do for PP&R and for Portland.
General Budget Process Overview
Once 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:
- Mayoral Guidance
- Commissioner input
- Staff input from managers, technicians, line, and program staff
- Budget Advisory Committee – the full Parks Board and invited labor representatives, community members and representatives from culturally-specific community-based organizations.
A Sustainable Future
Update for December 26, 2019
Commissioner Nick Fish and Director Adena Long are committed to leading PP&R in a more financially sustainable direction – for the long term. As part of that commitment, they led a Council Work Session to get feedback about how best to align community expectations with funding levels.Read more.
Budget Advisory Committee Meetings
BAC meetings are open to the public.
Click here for BAC meeting materials.
Date / Time / Location
Meeting 1: Thursday, December 5 5:30 to 8:30 PM / Sixth + Main Building, Room 513
1050 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204
Meeting 2: Thursday, December 19 5:30 to 8:30 PM / Central Northeast Neighbors
4415 NE 87th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97220
Meeting 3: Thursday, January 9 5:30 to 8:30 PM / APANO Orchards of 82nd, 8188 SE Division St.
Meeting 4: Thursday, May 21 5:30 to 8:30 PM / Location to be determined.
Budget Advisory Committee Members
Portland Parks & Recreation Board Members
- Paul Agrimis
- Mike Elliott
- Patricia Frobes
- Jim Owens
- Paddy Tillett
- Bonnie Gee Yosick
- Erin Zollenkopft
- Jeremy Robbins
- Andre Middleton
- Chris Rempel
- JR Lily
- Joe McFerrin
- Zeke Overby
- Jenny Lee
- Randy Gragg
- Megan Van de Mark
- Yoko Silk, PTE17
- Sadie Atwell, Labors Local 483 – Recreation
- Peter Zoltanski, PCL