‘Financial domino effect’ may shutter Portland rec centers

Coronavirus

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Parks and Recreation may not be able to open community centers and pools next summer due to financial hardship brought on by the pandemic.

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Parks Director Adena Long said the bureau has missed months of revenue typically brought in through swim lessons, exercise classes and summer camps.

Wheeler said they will ask Portland City Council to put an operating levy on the November 2020 ballot to help end the bureau’s dependence on a fee-based model.

Additional funding could help the department restart recreation to open pools, community centers, classes and camps for the summer of 2021, among other things.

“With facilities and programs closed since early March, we have missed months of the revenues that allow us to provide the recreation experience Portlanders cherish,” Wheeler and Long wrote in a statement. “This financial domino effect means that, as things stand today, we are likely unable to open pools and community centers, or offer classes, camps, and swimming lessons in Summer 2021 and beyond. This reality is hard to accept, but we are hopeful that this moment can be the beginning of a new era for our parks and recreation system, an era that is more equitable and more sustainable, and where cost isn’t a barrier for community members.”

The parks department wants public feedback on the possible levy and how to use the funds. Click here or send an email to parksdirector@portlandoregon.gov.

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