Save Portland Community Centers
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1. Portland Parks and Recreation does not agree with the cuts.
Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) was asked to cut 5% from their 2018-19 budget. In response, PP&R delivered a list of prioritized cuts with a letter that stated, "We are united in our belief that we do not support the City taking more than 1% of the reductions offered." Any further cuts "dig deep into core PP&R services and values [and] have significant service-level impacts for the public."
2. We need more time to solve the problem
Even the Friends of Woodstock Community Center, which has supported operations through a contract with the City since 2004, was not given notice of any financial troubles or the proposed closure before it went public. Had we been notified at the beginning of the fiscal year that there would be a deficit, we could have mobilized to raise funds and find ways to increase revenue.
3. Three out of five closures are coming out of the Southeast
Who is looking out for our community? According the budget process webpage, not one of the PP&R Budget Advisory committee members represents the Southeast.
4. Community Centers house affordable, local preschools.
PP&R preschools serve families that rely on quality early education for their young children that is low-cost and easy to get to. Studies show that early childhood education has long-reaching effects that benefit the community as a whole. With the recent influx of families with young children and expectations for more to come, what is the plan to accommodate these needs?
5. Community Centers serve surrounding neighborhoods too
Woodstock Community Center draws participants from Brentwood Darlington and Lents. Sellwood and Hillside serve surrounding neighborhoods in the same way. The City of Portland has committed heavily to investing in neighborhood involvement and developing 20-minute neighborhoods, but a budget cut causing closures to community centers is counterproductive to this goal.
6. Indoor spaces matter
A community thrives on public spaces. While Portlanders clearly enjoy their outdoor spaces for recreation, the indoor spaces are equally important, particularly for families and seniors. Community centers like Woodstock, Sellwood, Hillside, Fulton, and even the Laurelhurst Dance Studio fully represent the mission of Portland Parks and Recreation to "help Portlanders play - providing the safe places, facilities, and programs which promote physical, mental, and social activity," and they should be maintained as such.
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