This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 14, 2011 8:38 AM. The previous post in this blog was It's your fang. The next post in this blog is Portland streetcar insanity just won't stop. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

New face card at Portland parks

The City of Portland has a new parks director, Mike Abbaté. He replaces Zari Santner, who retired, and Sue Keil, who served as interim parks director while the FBI was raiding her old bureau, transportation, over the parking meter contracting scandal.

Abbaté has worked at the parks bureau for half a year. Before that he was a city planner out in Gresham, and apparently he had a real job at one point as a landscape architect.

He inherits a park system that's basically insolvent, and with lots of deferred maintenance needs. At last report, Portland had to draw on a line of credit for $320,000 just to cover park maintenance expenses. In addition, it's got more than $16 million in long-term park bonds outstanding, and that too is earmarked for maintenance.

Abbaté's predecessor tried for quite a while to sell off parkland and lease it to private corporations to make the park system a profit center. Those moves were flushed out and stopped, but neglect continues. Like all other essential city services, the parks are being held hostage to streetcar projects, "urban renewal," and the Mystery Train to Milwaukie. There's plenty of money to build condo toys, but to cut the grass in the parks you have to hold a bake sale.

And of course, one of his first jobs will be dealing with Occupy Portland and the leadership being shown in that situation by the city's unique mayor. Good luck to you, Mike Abbaté. Try not to get indicted.

Comments (4)

Why did they have to hire another planner like Zsa Zsa Zari? Its time that they hire someone with expertise in maintenance or better yet recreation. It's time to take care of the current parks and programs, and stop with the building madness.

Wouldn't it be nice if Parks, the Police and Fire Bureaus, and Schools had all the money in the world, and we'd have to hold a bake sale to buy a streetcar?

(Can someone make THAT into a bumper sticker? Remember the comparison between schools and B-2 bombers?)

Too bad Amy Poehler wasn't a candidate.

...It's time to take care of the current parks and programs, and stop with the building madness.

Yes, building madness and when they run out of operating costs, sell a park or two?
Oh wait...that already happened...
Remember Johnswood Park that was sold for housing? Public parkland sold to a developer!

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