Children's Levy extension could be on May ballot
The City Council will consider asking Portland voters to renew the Children's Levy for another five years at the May 15 primary election on Wedneday.
The levy, which was first championed by Commissioner Dan Saltzman and has been unanimously supported by the rest of the council, provides grants to nonprofit organizations that serve children.
The measure to be considered Wednesday would renew the existing local option tax at $0.4026 per thousand dollars of assessed value and raise an estimated $118.4 million over five years.
Voters first approved the levy in 2002. They renewed it 2008 and 2013. Levy funds have annually supported service programs for more than 14,000 children and hunger relief services to more than 15,000 children. It currently supports 74 different programs throughout Portland metro area, as well as in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties. Examples include those operated by Hacienda CDC, Lifeworks NW, Janus Youth Programs and Meals on Wheels People.
A committee that oversees levy spending has ensured that it has kept its promises of spending no more than 5 percent of its funds on administration. According to the most recent audit, the funds are being correctly spent in the following areas:
Early Childhood programs: these programs offer early childhood education and intervention, parenting education and home visiting so Portland's at-risk children reach kindergarten healthy and prepared to succeed.
Child abuse prevention and intervention programs: these programs provide services to reach children affected by neglect, family violence, parental drug and alcohol use and homelessness. They also support stressed families most at-risk for abuse and neglect by providing intensive case management, therapy, counseling, respite care and parent education.
Foster care programs: these programs provide intensive academic support education advocacy for youth in foster care, work to help foster children develop a plan for the future, and provide services to help youth establish permanent connections.
After school and mentoring programs: these programs provide at-risk children with safe, constructive activities that promote academic achievement and provide positive and consistent adult and peer role models.
Child hunger: programs to improve children's access to nutritious meals, leading to improved health and academic success.
You can learn more about the levy at www.portlandchildrenslevy.org.
You can read the resolution and proposed measure at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/671771.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the levy at portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/219524-78204-levy-hopes-to-put-food-on-kids-tables.