The old switcheroo from Zari
Remember back in 2002, when the City of Portland came to us voters to ask for a tax levy to pay for park maintenance? It was Measure 26-34, and it was all about providing basic maintenance services. The official propaganda about it is here. There you'll read:
Levy funds will: Restore basic park maintenance including litter removal, restroom cleaning, mowing, natural area and trail care;Well, we voted in the levy, all right, but guess what. The city's parks chief thinks it might be a good idea to divert those funds from maintenance to "capital" projects. So she indicated at a recent parks board meeting, the minutes of which are here. There on page 2 we read:
Correct urgent safety problems with playground equipment, play fields, community centers, pools;
Repair some playing fields around schools in Centennial, David Douglas, Reynolds, Parkrose and Portland school districts;
Restore cuts to after-school tutoring, recreation activities, and summer playground program - providing kids safe, constructive places to go.
If levy fails, park cleaning, repairs, recreation programs will not be restored.
Steffeni felt there was consensus to move ahead and support the concept of a bond measure in 2010. She’d like to get five-six talking points from Parks staff to use in meetings with commissioners. Zari said that, based on the financial forecast, the levy will yield about the same amount for the next two years. This money could be used to fund the list of one-time capital requests. Rev. Bethel worried, however, about switching levy money to pay for things that weren’t promised in the levy. He said Parks needs to do what they promised as the public is counting on that.And what "capital" projects are we talking about? Surely we're not talking about that downtown park block that Tom Moyer so generously "donated" to the city in exchange for getting to build an underground garage halfway down to China. Are we?
I don't know. Elsewhere in the meeting, there's talk of not having the money to give Saturday Market a decent move because Parks is about to hit up the City Council for money to pay for some of the park construction on the Moyer block:
Chet said he was concerned that he’s been working had to get additional money from the Council for Park Block 5, and now the possibility has arisen that Parks will ask for money for the Saturday Market project. He doesn’t want to undermine PP&R’s request for sustainability money by asking Council to fund additional emergency projects. Zari said that PDC needs to provide adequate funding since the market relocation involves economic development. The street improvements are amenities and could be delayed, but the park improvements are a necessity for the market to move in. Mary Ruble added that the board should think about opportunities to bring in additional dollars from people who have a stake in the area. She also reminded the bureau not to forget about relocating the children’s maze, which was removed from the area for the sewer work. David Yamashita said staff are working with the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the artist on a new site, but it won’t go back in its original spot.If I'm reading this correctly, we're about to divert maintenance money to "capital" projects, including the "free" park. And because of the Moyer project, there won't be enough dough to move Saturday Market in anything but a half-fast way.
As they taught me to say in charm school, that's just fascinating.