MultDems Call to Action: More Community Centers, Not Less!

Take action!

  • Testify April 2nd at IRCO 10301 NE Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97220
  • Contact your city commissioners

Read on to learn more

The current proposed budget from the Mayor’s Office includes  a 7% cut to our parks program. Help us fight against the elimination and privatization of our community centers.

Community centers slated for permanent closure

  • Sellwood Community Center
  • Columbia Pool
  • Multnomah Arts Center (privatization)
  • Community Music Center (privatization)
  • Hillside Community Center (privatization)

Your favorite programs will be affected, including preschool, summer camps, dance, and affordable child care.

Demand that the people in charge have the same priorities as WE the people. Show up April 2nd at IRCO Main Office – Gym, 10301 NE Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97220. This will be the ONLY opportunity for public testimony.       

Come and Testify Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 6:30-8:30pm   

Contact your elected officials!

Contact your state legislators and ask them to come and testify on your behalf. Publicly elected officials are guaranteed a chance to speak while Portland residents must have their ticket selected in a lottery process.

Sample letter provided by Local 483:

Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Eudaly, and Hardesty,

I am writing to express 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 like Senior Rec, Aquatics, Preschool, 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 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.

While I understand you have difficult decisions to make, I am 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. Recreation employees are 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.

I know that the City Council can do better and advocate that you fully fund PP&R. Your community stands behind you in making this a top priority for the 2019-2020 budget.

Sincerely,

Background

This is the 8th year in a row that we have had to defend keeping our community centers open and public against the threat of privatization.. Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) was asked to cut 7% from their 2019-20 budget. Any further cuts “dig deep into core PP&R services and values have significant service-level impacts for the public.”

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?

Community Centers also serve surrounding neighborhoods

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.

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.

The MultDems Platform drives our support of community spaces

Article I. Basic Needs and Human Rights

2. We direct Multnomah County and the City of Portland to claim the air rights over the freeways in the public domain and develop parks and low and moderate-income housing over parts of them as described in the Central City Plan adopted in 1989, retaining the revenue from development in the public domain.

Article II. Education

10. We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and that schools can be responsive in addressing poverty-related traumas, including the effects on highly mobile students. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including: mentoring, after-school programs, counselors, culturally relevant curriculum and instruction, and critical race theory initiatives, and other programs that have been proven effective in assuring student success.