On June 6, the regional government Metro is expected to refer a $475 million bond measure to voters, the largest chunk of which is aimed at protecting and restoring land as natural areas and parks.
Portland's cash-strapped parks bureau wants a slice.
Behind closed doors, the city of Portland has been lobbying for more money—because the last Metro parks bond, in 2006, helped buy properties for Portland, but City Hall lacks the money to finish restoring or improving them.
The properties include Butte Natural Area, River View Natural Area, and Wilkes Creek Headwaters.
"The last bond purchased natural areas across our community—today some are managed by Metro, some by the city," says Sonia Schmanski, chief of staff to Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees parks. "Portlanders would contribute close to a third of the money for this bond, and it should help fund restoration at all those sites."
Portland's push for more funding in the Metro bond comes after the City Council voted to lay off as many as 50 employees at Portland Parks and Recreation to address budget shortfalls in its ongoing operations. But the city is also short the money to complete buildings and upgrades at city parks.
Other cities in the region are also agitating for a larger share of the bond, and Metro has, so far, increased it a fraction. Metro spokesman Jim Middaugh says the regional government wants to help municipalities "that need that last commitment to finish that playground or trail."