Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Tuesday that he will ask the City Council to refer an operating levy for Portland Parks & Recreation to the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
In an email to parks users, Wheeler, who is in charge of the parks bureau, said without additional funding, community centers and swimming pools may not be able to open next summer due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic.
All centers, pools, playgrounds and programs are currently closed because of the pandemic. Wheeler and Parks Director Adena Long said the bureau has missed months of revenue typically brought in through swim lessons, exercise classes and summer camps.
"With facilities and programs closed since early March, we have missed months of the revenues that allow us to provide the recreation experience Portlanders cherish," Wheeler and Long said in the announcement. "This financial domino effect means that, as things stand today, we are likely unable to open pools and community centers, or offer classes, camps, and swimming lessons in Summer 2021 and beyond. This reality is hard to accept, but we are hopeful that this moment can be the beginning of a new era for our parks and recreation system, an era that is more equitable and more sustainable, and where cost isn't a barrier for community members."
The announcement did not say how much additional money is needed to help end the bureau's dependence on a fee-based model.
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