Your City Hall: Many concerned about Portland's future, survey finds
WHAT IS HAPPENING? Portland has released a new survey that shows many residents are worried about the future of the city and cite homelessness, the lack of affordable housing and congestion among their top concerns. The dissatisfaction is greatest in minority communities and among the disabled.
WHO CONDUCTED THE SURVEY? The 2019 Portland Insights Survey was the first conducted by the City Budget Office. It replaced the annual Community Survey conducted by the City Auditor's Office for 26 years. The new survey was designed to better help city leaders understand Portlanders' priorities and recommendations for improvements to services. It also was the first to hire multilingual community members to solicit feedback by canvassing members of historically underrepresented communities.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FINDINGS? A majority of respondents are satisfied with Portland today as a place to live, raise children, work or go to school, or to be part of a community. But they express the following concerns:
• Residents are evenly split between those who feel positive about the city's future and those who do not, with 45% agreeing and disagreeing. Long-term and African American residents are more likely to be dissatisfied.
• Residents are evenly split between those who agreed they can find jobs sufficient to support themselves and their families, and those who disagreed. Those with disabilities report having more difficulty finding jobs that pay enough to support them and their families.
• Homelessness is perceived as the top challenge facing Portland. This perspective was shared across every race and age group. In all, 88% of respondents are dissatisfied with the city's response to homelessness, the highest level of dissatisfaction with any of the questions included in the survey.
• More than 40% of respondents in every race and residency length group identified the high cost of living as a top challenge facing Portland. They chose increasing housing affordability and addressing homelessness as a top budget priority.
• Residents are evenly split over whether Portland is making progress on becoming a city in which a person's outcomes are not based on their race; with 40% agreeing and disagreeing. African Americans were most likely to disagree, followed by those who identified as two or more races. Hispanic and white respondents gave similar responses, and Asians were more likely than others to agree.
The survey also includes responses to questions about specific bureaus with the results broken down by areas of the city. Those in East Portland tend to be the least satisfied with city services.
WHAT COMES NEXT? The budget office will present to the City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 18, a report on the survey, along with recommendations. The council is expected to consider the findings and recommendations when writing and approving the budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2020.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE? Find this article online at PortlandTribune.com for a link to the full 84-page survey, or go to www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/740406.
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