This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 24, 2007 6:08 AM. The previous post in this blog was We may never know. The next post in this blog is The day after Earth Day. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

McParks: Come hit the moving target

There have been some changes to the Portland parks corporate sponsorship policy, and now they say it's going before City Council again next Wednesday. They're asking for your input here, by Monday.

Comments (2)

You had a post a week or so ago lamenting the mishandling of the anonymous donation for the Park Block 5 project.

But THIS is really what that's all about. The string attached there is that the now-anonymous donor wants naming rights -- and wants them at a cost significantly beneath the level dictated by current policies and policies-in-the-making.

At a time when major Portland City Charter revisions are up for vote on May 15, I submit that this policy revision could and should be held over until more public awareness and input has been sought. My concerns focus on the following language contained within the proposed revision.

“The naming or renaming of parks and recreational facilities is a complex and sometimes emotionally evocative since assigning a name is a powerful and permanent identity for a public place and/or facility. The naming and renaming of parks and/or recreational facilities often requires significant resources in terms of changing names on signs, maps, and literature. In addition, excessive and constant name changing can be the source of confusion to the public. The purpose of this policy, which is designed to replace an existing naming policy.”

Translation: Since change is confusing and difficult for people to accept or understand, Council seeks to revise policy so that language contained in the 1996 Policy will be revised in order to legally limit citizen involvement in the naming or re-naming process.

“Over the years, the City and Portland Parks and Recreation have benefited from the generosity of some of its residents, businesses, and foundations. On occasion, the significance of such donations may warrant consideration being given to requests from either the donor or another party to acknowledge such a gift by naming. “

Translation: Our parks and recreational facilities are now for sale to the highest bidder. The auction pool will consist of donors defined as:

“Outstanding Individuals
The City has benefited, through its evolution, from the contributions made by many outstanding individuals. This category is designed to acknowledge the sustained contribution that has been made by such individuals to the City and the development and management of the City’s park and recreation system.”

“Naming/renaming parks and/or recreational facilities for Outstanding Individuals
Naming or renaming a park and/or recreational facility for an outstanding individual is encouraged only for those who have been deceased for at least three years (this provision can be waived at Council’s directive)…”

Translation: Pay attention now, this is the part where Council is actually writing in the language that gives them the right to waive part of the law. Unfortunately, Council has a history of waiving any and all parts of a law in order to secure a desired result, so when the time comes that someone raises any objections, the Council will have made such objections null and void.

As Council has waived the laws protecting citizen involvement for street re-namings in the past, they now seek to extend the right to waive laws regarding re-naming parks and recreational facilities, and are hardwiring the ability to waive these laws within the revision in order to be able to play with laws that the Citizens of Portland are required to obey.

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