Mayor Ted Wheeler today released his proposed budget of approximately $5.7 billion for fiscal year 2021-2022. The proposed budget prioritizes small business support, economic recovery, and livability; homelessness; community safety services; and equity. The proposed budget reflects the City Council’s top priorities and is guided by the City’s core values of anti-racism, equity, transparency, communication, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility.
“For the Portland City Council, the opportunity of 2021 is to work collaboratively to make investments that will help us continue to recover from the pandemic,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “The budget I propose reflects my commitment to change and my optimism about Portland’s future.”
The pandemic resulted in revenue losses of more than $100 million, including a projected loss of $20 million in the city’s general fund. Because of the Mayor’s direction to bureaus to identify cuts and strategic realignments of city resources, along with funds from the American Rescue Plan, the city will continue to reinvest in core priorities and create the foundation for a sustainable, equitable recovery.
Last fall, the Mayor instructed all bureaus except the Joint Office of Homeless Services to prepare for up to 5 percent cuts in fiscal year 2021-2022. Under the Mayor’s direction, bureaus focused on protecting proven community-facing programs from cuts and eliminating duplicative, unnecessary, or inefficient expenses.
The Mayor’s proposed budget commits just less than $30 million of the anticipated first round of American Rescue Plan investments to the Council priorities, with the remaining American Rescue Plan funding to be allocated by City Council this summer.
Highlights from the proposal are summarized below.
Small Business Support, Economic Recovery, and Livability
“Many small employers closed in 2020. Bringing them back – and creating space for new ones, especially those owned by people of color– is a top priority for a successful, equitable recovery,” Mayor Wheeler said. “The other priority for our small employers is making our employment districts more welcoming by cleaning up litter and graffiti,” he said.
The Mayor’s proposed budget includes the following investments:
- $5.7 million for citywide clean-up, graffiti removal, and a program to provide cleanup jobs for homeless people
- $700,000 for minority chambers
- $500,000 for small business repair, in addition to $250,000 allocated for the 2020-2021 fiscal year
- $250,000 for digital inclusion support for small businesses
- $531,000 for Venture Portland to support neighborhood business districts
- Up to $9.5 million to preserve important permitting capacity
- $269,000 for the Ankeny food carts
- $192,960 for the Portland Film Office to keep Portland competitive for film and video productions
- $100,000 to Music Portland to fund grants that build capacity in Portland’s music scene
“Homelessness remains a critical issue,” Wheeler said. “That’s why the city’s investments in homeless services must continue to grow.”
The Mayor’s proposal, along with voter-approved dollar for homeless services, will provide record investments in the joint City-County housing and homeless system. In addition to fully funding the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the Mayor’s proposed budget includes continued investments in citywide access to hygiene stations.
The proposed budget includes:
- $6.3 million to fully fund the Joint Office of Homelessness Services
- $250,000 for services for transgender people experiencing homelessness.
- $2.4 million for hygiene stations citywide
- $2 million for new shelter development.
- $300,000 to create jobs for homeless people to help with citywide cleanup
“My proposed budget includes investments to improve coordination among our public safety bureaus, support for tripling of the number of unarmed, community-focused safety officers within the Police Bureau, and investments designed to address the gun violence epidemic that’s hurting so many in our community,” Wheeler said.
The Mayor’s proposal funds continued work to transition Portland’s community safety services consistent with Portlanders’ expectations. The Police Bureau is the largest general fund bureau in the city and is therefore exposed to the largest cuts due to the pandemic. Out of concern for safety, the Mayor did not accept all the police bureau’s proposed cuts. Instead, the Mayor is proposing increased investments to improve coordination among public safety bureaus, funding unarmed public safety officers, community-focused safety programs, and stemming gun violence on Portland’s streets.
The proposed budget funds the Portland Street Response pilot and directs the police bureau to use existing resources to continue embedding a sergeant with 911 dispatchers to triage emergency calls to help ensure officers are deployed as effectively as possible, in some cases diverting calls to a more appropriate agencies or service providers.
“Ultimately, the goal is to free up police officers from just handling emergency response toward more proactive, community-based police work,” Wheeler said.
The proposed budget includes:
- $1.4 million to create Community Safety Transition program
- $978,000 to fully fund the Portland Street Response pilot
- $4 million, starting in Fiscal Year 2022-23, for new police oversight board
- $1.8 million for 22 new community service officers, or Public Safety Support Specialists
- $2.4 million to prevent a fire station closure
- Almost $9 million in ongoing cuts to the police bureau
- $294,000 to the Office of Violence Prevention, in addition to the $5.9 million Council previously committed to an immediate gun violence response
- $5.3 million in one-time resources to prevent a patrol officer shortage in Fiscal Year 2022-23
- $475,000 to support compliance with the Department of Justice agreement
The Mayor’s proposed budget funds equity-focused positions in several City bureaus, supports the City’s employee and affinity groups with training and resources, and directs the City’s Chief Human Resources Officer to develop a program to improve the City’s recruitment, retention, and promotion of African American and Black employees.
- Almost $500,000 to support the Charter Review Commission
- $125,000 to city employee affinity groups
- $125,000 to lift up community voices with the Smart City PDX program
- $3 million for curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities, accessible open spaces, and new streetlights in East Portland
- New Housing Bureau capacity to support rolling applications to the Preference Policy program, which addresses the harmful impacts of urban renewal by preferencing housing applicants with generational ties to North/Northeast Portland
The Mayor's statement on the proposed budget can be found at this link.
A complete version of the proposed budget can be found at this link.
The Council will hold a hearing on the Mayor’s proposed budget on May 5 from 6-8 p.m. People may sign up to comment by 4 p.m. on May 4. Learn more