Nick Fish has postponed a planned parks bond measure scheduled for this November. Instead, Fish does still plan to move ahead with a housing levy instead, possibly next year or the year after. And it's "entirely likely," he says, that there'll be money for mental health in the mix.
I flagged this issue last December, asking whether we should really be considering our greenery when there's, you know, other priorities.
"Ok, you were right all along," the commissioner wrote me, in an email this afternoon.
Here's the letter announcing the change.
April 14, 2010
To all Portland Parks & Recreation Employees,
We are writing to report on our decision regarding moving forward with a bond measure for Parks. Unfortunately, we've determined that now is not the right time to refer a Parks Bond Measure to the voters on the November 2010 ballot.
We have worked hard to test the feasibility of putting this bond measure on the ballot in November. Over the past three months, we spoke to 90 community groups, neighborhood associations, and businesses to share information about Portland Parks & Recreation's multi-million dollar major maintenance backlog. We were pleased to hear just how many people support Portland's park system. However, the economic climate makes it too difficult to successfully move forward with a bond measure at this time.
Outreach to Portlanders confirmed that they value Portland's park system and understand that important safety updates are needed - especially for older buildings such as those at Mt. Tabor Yard. They want to ensure that parks remain solid, affordable anchors for neighborhoods and they want natural areas preserved. They also understand that some areas of Portland are still waiting for their first park, trail, or community center.
This has never been about "if," but "when" we ask voters for the necessary funding to care for the park system. With strong support from the community, we will look for the right time to ask for their vote.
Thank you for your commitment to Portland's park system.
Comm. Nick Fish Zari Santner, Director