Parks & Rec department awaits fate after budget cuts

Some community centers could see popular programs cut due to a tightening budget

Community centers like this could be closed depending on how much of a budget cut Portland's Parks & Recreation department faces. January 5, 2017, (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A roughly $3 million budget reduction for Portland’s Parks & Recreation could involve staff cuts, more deferred maintenance and even the possible closure of some popular community centers, officials say.

Some community centers could see popular programs cut due to a tightening budget.

Cutting programs at places like the Dishman Community Center in North Portland will not go over well with people like Tom Knight, who said the exercise he gets at the center through a water aerobics program has changed his life.

“Water aerobics has been a salvation for me and for a lot of people who even have better sense than I do. It’s really, really a blessing,” said Tom Knight.

During a budget meeting at the Mt. Scott Community Center on Wednesday night, a group advising the Parks & Recreation department brainstormed ways to reduce the budget with as little impact as possible to Knight’s water aerobics program.

Mike Abbate, Parks & Recreation director, told KOIN 6 News he’s not happy about the budget cuts, but he understands the situation Portland is in.

“We’re not excited about any of these cuts, but we understand that the city’s overall fiscal health demands that we produce those ways of reducing,” said Abbate.

At the end of January, the Portland City Council will be presented with budget cutting recommendations. City Councilors will have the final say on how much, if any, to cut from the Parks & Recreation budget.