Please show up to support your neighborhood - City of Portland Community Budget Forums

City of Portland Community Budget Forums
Please show up to support Neighborhoods and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI)

Now you can testify—bring yourself (and a couple of friends!)

 The Forums provide you with the opportunity to offer testimony before City Council and express which service priorities are most important to Portland residents for next year’s FY 2013-14 budget which begins July 1, 2013.

ONI, and all city bureaus, were required by Mayor Charlie Hales to submit a 10% cut to each of their budgets. The ONI Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), on which neighborhood and other civic involvement groups are well represented, is proposing ‘add-back’ restoration to those cuts.

Your testimony at these public hearings will indicate to the new Council that there is community support for the restoration of funds for neighborhood and community involvement services.

Tues., March 12th
George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave.
Portland, OR 97203
Thurs., April 11th
Montgomery Park
2701 NW Vaughn Street
Portland, OR 97210

Thurs., May 16th
City Hall – Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

What is at stake? What is proposed to be cut?

·        Reduction or elimination of Neighborhood Small Grants program: The program has funded 536 community building grants over seven years totaling $1,025,554 in resources going out to neighborhood associations and other community-based organizations. Due to cuts in previous years the current year’s funding level is down to $93,855 and designated as a one-time allocation, which may be eliminated completely.

·        Significant cuts to newspapers and social media communications: Most of the coalitions would likely scale back or eliminate communication allocations to neighborhood associations; coalition staff who provide support for producing websites, newsletters and other targeted outreach materials; and capacity of District Coalitions to produce coalition-wide newsletters and maintain dynamic websites and events calendars.

·        Reduction or elimination in neighborhood outreach staff support: Several of the coalitions would scale back FTE dedicated to assisting neighborhood associations with community projects including neighborhood cleanups, summertime events, outreach and membership building, technical assistance on land use and transportation issues, community forums on hot-topic issues and leadership trainings.

·        Elimination of two Crime Prevention positions: ONI would lay off two crime prevention specialists reducing the program’s capacity by 17% to respond to community requests for lower level problem-solving issues, trainings, enhanced property safety efforts, and Neighborhood Watch formations.

Messages City Council needs to hear about these services:

·        Neighborhood Associations are getting people involved who were not before.
·        Small grants are making possible many more grassroots community events bringing residents together for the first time promoting community relationships.
·        Funding for newsletters and coalition staff support for use of new media tools – websites, Facebook accounts - are expanding the ability to reach more neighbors.
·        Small grants are helping District Coalitions and Neighborhood Associations engage in more partnership projects that are creating positive change in the community.
·        Neighborhood volunteers are developing leadership skills they didn’t have before resulting in new community building projects.
·        Expanded District Coalition staffing has improved their ability to be responsive to community needs, providing more effective community leadership and resolution of community problems.
·        Crime Prevention plays a key role in the local public safety system.  Crime Prevention staff teach and assist neighbors to work closely with public safety bureaus and other neighbors to reduce and prevent crime.

Core messages about why investing in civic engagement should be a core City service:

·        Now more than ever investing in people infrastructure is just as critical as brick and mortar projects – if not more so.
·        ONI’s mission, goals, programs and services are critical to support the City’s goal of achieving equity in delivery of services.
·        Community engagement is increasingly seen as a critical core function of good City governance.

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