We demand the full funding of Portland Parks and Recreation for the 2019-2020 budget

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Jamie Burrows
Jamie Burrows signed this petition

We demand that the City Council fully fund Portland Parks and Recreation for the 2019-2020 budget.

We wish to express our serious concerns with the proposed 6.3 million-dollar cut to Portland Parks and Recreation.

These cuts would have a profound effect on the quality of recreation programming and the community’s ability to access important programs including Senior Recreation, Aquatics, Fitness, Preschool, Youth Sports, Gymnastics, Youth Day Classes, Summer Camps, Park Stars, and Adaptive & Inclusive Recreation. The closure of important locations like Sellwood Community Center and Columbia Pool, along with the privatization of community treasures like the Multnomah Arts Center, Laurelhurst Dance Studio and the Community Music Center is deeply disturbing.

For low-income, disabled, and historically underserved Portlanders, these programs are a lifeline that connects them with educational opportunities, community support, and recreation that are otherwise out of reach. PP&R services truly level the playing field.

Portland’s community centers and recreation programs are the backbone of the Portland Parks and Recreation system. In addition to enabling health, recreation, and fitness, they serve as anchors for many of our neighborhoods to support thriving environments and strong communities. These centers must continue to evolve as Portland’s population increases and as the recreation needs and interests of residents change.

While we understand you have difficult decisions to make, we are asking you to prioritize PP&R in the budget. For decades PP&R services have not received the general fund dollars they deserve while the bureau has been asked to provide higher and higher levels of service.

In addition to impacts on the community, these cuts fall disproportionately on employees who are women and people of color, as the percentage of frontline recreation staff in both subgroups far exceeds the City average. These cuts will result in over 32% of Recreations regular frontline staff to be laid off. Recreation employees are already among the City’s lowest paid workers, many of whom, after years of struggling with poverty wages, only recently found their way to full-time employment.

We know that the City Council can do better, and we advocate that you fully fund Portland Parks & Recreation making this a top priority for the 2019-2020 budget.