MAYOR SAM ADAMS, as it turns out, wasn't done working political magic after releasing a budget earlier this month that somehow avoided doomsday cuts to public safety and social services, while also scaring up millions for Portland's strapped schools ["Looking Behind the Curtain," News, May 10].
In a final budget released Friday, May 25, Adams managed to dig deeper through Portland's couch cushions and found even more money for housing and recreation programs—saving the cherished Buckman Pool in Southeast for at least another year, among other feats.
Just as significantly, with his colleagues expected to approve Adams' final plan on Wednesday, May 30, the mayor also kept a personal streak intact: By sprinkling around enough baubles, Adams—even though his lame-duck status might otherwise have sapped his clout—found a way to keep his colleagues from rebelling and creating a budget plan of their own.
So who came out looking good after the weeks of haggling? And who didn't? Read on.
Winner: The Portland Housing Bureau had already been granted $4.1 million out of an arguably audacious request for $4.8 million in one-time funding for programs that keep shelters open and provide rent help for families on the verge of homelessness. Adams found $200,000 more for short-term rent help and also found $250,000 to help increase minority homeownership.
The city wound up with some of that extra cash after learning the school bailout would be smaller than anticipated. Adams estimated $7.5 million, but that number shrunk to $7.1 million after the districts refined their student enrollment numbers.
Loser: Adams tried to save the Portland Police Bureau big bucks by refusing to help the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office with the cost of fingerprinting Portland police arrestees at the county jail. Adams backtracked, adding back nearly $400,000 in costs. To find cash, he cut some police vacancies, including an internal affairs investigator post that would help investigate claims of police misconduct.
Winner: The parks bureau will get money to save Buckman Pool—a cause so passionate that advocates drove all the way out to a budget hearing at David Douglas High School to plead their case. Parks will also receive a smidge more for landscaping.
Loser: The city council's budgeted contingency fund—used for unplanned expenses over the next fiscal year—will shrink by tens of thousands of dollars to accommodate some of the new funding Adams is proposing. That could put even more of a pinch on the following year's budget, when Adams is out of office. Which might be the mayor's greatest trick of all.