Portland cuts 950 jobs, faces $100 million shortfall
Portland city officials say the cost of the coronavirus outbreak could exceed $100 million in lost revenue as of the beginning of April and have cut 950 jobs amid the financial fallout.
Widespread shutdowns to slow the spread of the virus have cut into some of the city's key funding streams, including taxes paid by hotels. Tourism officials say demand for rooms at Portland hotels is 80% lower now than a year ago. The taxes on those hotel stays help pay for essential city services, including police and parks.
The parks bureau also felt an immediate financial hit from the mandatory shutdowns, because it was forced to shut down its money-generating community centers, pools and gyms. The facilities have been closed since March 13, one day after Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a city state of emergency. The declaration is scheduled to end Thursday but will likely be extended as coronavirus cases top 900 statewide.
City financial officials say they can't know the full scope of how the virus will impact the city's finances until the social distancing measures are lifted. The blow from the park facility closures alone could be $900,000, said Jessica Kinard, the city's budget director.
The city has suspended nearly all outside hiring, and the mayor has told bureau leaders to limit spending deemed non-essential to the COVID-19 response, she said.
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