Families fear they'll lose Portland community centers in request - KPTV - FOX 12

Families fear they'll lose Portland community centers in requested city budget cut

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Families in the Woodstock neighborhood fear for their community center, and three others in Portland, that could possibly be shut down.

The Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR) spokesperson, Mark Ross, says this is the seventh of the last ten years they’ve been directed to cut their budget by the city.

This time, Mayor Ted Wheeler is asking all bureaus to cut 5 percent.

Though PPR has already submitted their requested budget, it doesn’t mean anything is finalized. Ross says PPR doesn’t like any of the cuts they had to propose, and they hope city council doesn’t end up chopping the full 5 percent.

Southeast Portland families are desperate to keep, what they call, a vital part of their diverse neighborhood: the Woodstock Community Center, one of the four centers that could potentially be cut.

The Woodstock Community Center is a space that holds preschool and affordable activities, something Dawn Haecker doesn’t want to give up.

“I want that for other families. I want other families to be able to connect to their community in such a warm, inviting, wholesome way,” Haecker said.

When PPR officials released a survey, neighbors found out Woodstock Community Center and three others, Sellwood, Fulton and Hillside, were on the chopping block. So families decided they would take matters into their own hands, and hit the streets Saturday to canvas.

Julie Currin uses the Sellwood Community Center for her kids child care. 

“If we’re gonna be cutting these sorts of programs for our community, what sorts of communities are we fighting to bring people into, anyway? It’s just not worth the 5 percent cut,” she said.

A potential 5 percent means trimming more than $3 million from the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget for PPR.

That’s something families say they can’t imagine.

“What do we do? We’re a working family. We’ve got three young boys,” said Currin.

Just because the requested budgets are already submitted, doesn’t mean community centers are cut just yet.

PPR’s Ross says if people are seeing new parks being built and wonder why the city can’t stop current projects and save what’s important - those funds are separate from the general fund PPR has been directed to submit 5 percent potential cuts for. 

Before Mayor Wheeler’s proposed budget is expected to come out on April 30, there are two public forums before that where people can still have their voices heard:

  • April 3, 2018, 6:30pm - 8:30pm | Location TBD
  • April 17, 2018, 6:30pm - 8:30pm | Location TBD

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