Mayor Charlie Hales Calls for Budget Cuts, So City Can Send "Record" Revenue to Housing

Money would also be redirected to fighting gun violence.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Thursday asked city bureaus to prepare budget proposals for next year with 5 percent cuts.

But that's not because city revenue is down. In fact, it's up.

Instead, Hales wants to redirect funds to other priorities, including Portland's housing situation and gun violence.

"Portland is in the grips of an affordable housing and homelessness crisis that requires additional resources to invest in the most effective approaches," Hales wrote in his Nov. 19 budget memo to Portland commissioners. "We are experiencing an increase in gun-related violence that requires a robust response."

A full picture of Portland's expected revenue for 2016-17 won't be available until December. But an October presentation from the city budget office noted Portland had "record revenue."

This week, Hales is asking all bureaus that get money from the city's general fund—i.e., parks, police, fire—to prepare 5 percent cuts. He's exempting the Housing Bureau.

"The City's fiscal condition is good," Hales writes. "However, in FY 2016-17 we may need to make some difficult budget decisions in order to ensure that resources are available to address the most pressing issues that our city is facing."

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