Portlanders: Vote YES on 26-213 and 26-219

As ballots arrive at homes in Portland this week, we wanted to urge you to VOTE YES on two important local measures to protect our parks and natural areas: 26-219 (HydroParks) and 26-213 (Portlanders for Parks Levy). Both of these measures will help keep Portland green and create more equitable access to parks and nature. See below to learn more and click here to read Willamette Week’s endorsement for both measures.

YES on 26-219

The Portland HydroParks Ballot Measure 26-219, which was referred to the voters by the Portland City Council, allows the Portland Water Bureau to use its properties, outside the protected Bull Run Watershed, for secondary uses such as parks, community gardens, playgrounds, picnic areas, play fields, tree plantings, and naturescaping. The Portland Water Bureau owns a variety of sites across Portland that house essential water infrastructure such as water towers and pump stations. Often these sites contain significant amounts of unused land that historically have been fenced off and unavailable to the public.

In recent years, the Portland Water Bureau has pulled back the fences and opened many of these sites for use by the public. Picnic tables, community gardens, park benches, play equipment, and other amenities have replaced fenced off, mostly empty lots. Many of these sites occur in underserved neighborhoods where these types of benefits are desperately needed. This common sense measure would amend the Water Bureau Charter to more formally allow these types of secondary uses where appropriate on Water Bureau infrastructure sites, allow the Water Bureau to invest ratepayer funds to improve these sites for public use, and to ensure that they are safe and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

YES on 26-213

The Portlanders for Parks Levy 26-213, which was referred to the voters by the Portland City Council, will create an operating levy that will raise an average of $48 million per year for five years to support critically important programs at Portland Parks and Recreation. A YES vote will help ensure that Portland continues to create an amazing system of parks and natural areas that provide equitable access and programming for the community, and protect and restore our natural environment.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted just how important access to parks and natural areas is to our physical, mental, and community health. At the same time the pandemic has also put unprecedented strain on funding for parks. Passing this measure is essential to restore recreational and community programs, keep community centers and other recreational facilities open, restore our natural areas, and maintain basic operations necessary to keep our parks clean and safe. The measure prioritizes increasing access to programming for underserved communities including communities of color, refugees and immigrants, and families experiencing poverty.