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City Council to consider sending parks measure to ballot

Commissioner Amanda Fritz will ask the City Council at its Thursday, July 24, meeting to refer a parks bond measure to the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Fritz is proposing a measure authorizing a property tax backed-bond to raise up to $68 million for maintenance projects. It is intended to fund the most critical of the $365 million worth of deferred maintenance projects identified by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Fritz has filed a list with the council of the first projects the bond money would fund. It includes playground replacements, trail and bridge repairs, restroom repairs, swimming pool repairs and upgrades, park worker safety improvements, and accessibility projects.

“This list represents the most urgent needs — the things that are breaking or are already broken,” Commissioner Fritz says.

The remaining projects will be determined with public input if the measure passes.

If approved by the voters, it would take effect on July 1, 2015, just as the existing park levy expires — meaning its passage would not raise property tax rates.

In a recent meeting with the Portland Tribune edttorial board, Fritz said she was confident the council will vote to place the measure on the ballot. She said the campaign to pass it will be led by the Portland Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization that can legally engage in a limited amount of political work.

The resolution to be considered by the council and some supporting documents can be found at http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=497310. Additional information can be found at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/65128.