PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — David Douglas High School was filled to capacity on Tuesday night as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city council members opened the floor — and their ears — to people, hoping to get their thoughts on the city’s next budget heard.
Those speakers made it clear they agree on one thing: they don’t like the idea of cuts, something Mayor Wheeler is hoping to do across the city’s general fund bureaus. Wheeler has proposed a 5% budget cut from those, covering police, fire, parks and recreation and other city-funded bureaus.
Speakers, generally, disagreed with the idea, with some citing a booming economy.
“Why do we have to be in opposition every year?” questioned Dawn Haecker, one of many in attendance fighting the proposed closures of 4 community centers. “Why can’t we put our resources together and make this right instead?
“It’s not acceptable to shut down our precious community center.”
Peter Adams, with Woodstock Community Center, echoed Haecker, saying “We have worked with Portland Parks and Recreation, donating thousands of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours.”
State Representative Rob Nosse also called for the centers to stay open.
Some in attendance also called for a 4% income tax on Portland’s wealthiest 1% in order to increase the amount of affordable housing.
“Why should anyone be forced to sleep in a tent in the shadow of one of the dozen of cranes building new high rises in our city?” questioned Jacob Herbst with the Democratic Socialists of America. “Why not find a way to raise revenue? I say we tax the rich to fund housing assistance.”
Another group in attendance were people standing for “Care not Cops.” They want more funding into mental health, rather than a push to raise officer numbers.
“Police will never be adequate or appropriate mental health responders,” said Maria Boyer with Care Not Cops. “Never.”
The budget is set to be approved in a couple of months. Before that, Wheeler and the city council plans to hold more forums on the city budget.
Here are the upcoming dates and locations for the forums
April 17 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Roosevelt High School
May 10th (6-8:30 p.m.) — City Hall Chambers
May 16th (2-3 p.m.) — City Hall Chambers
May 17th (2-3 p.m.) — City Hall Chambers
June 6th (4-5 p.m.) — City Hall Rose Room
June 7th (2-2:30 p.m.) — City Hall Chambers